The Story Behind Rebuilding My Health
“I’m actually reversing my autoimmunity. Over the past year, my autoimmune markers have decreased each time I’m tested. My doctor said, ‘That’s because of all the work you’ve done with your diet.'”
– Casey Hibbard, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Rebuilding My Health
In 2015, I was fed up with being on the sidelines of my own life.
At the time, I was sad, angry and frustrated with watching my life play out from a distance, only half participating.
Back then, I…
Watched my family play outside without me…
Lacked the energy to keep up with my 4-year-old…
Slogged through my workday because of brain fog and poor memory…
Could no longer run or go on beloved hikes…
Lacked the confidence in my digestive system to plan adventure travel or camping…
Wished I could say yes to more social invites…
Yearned for the energy to do regular things like bike to the farmer’s market
Time, my life and my son’s childhood were marching on. I was desperate to find answers and relief.
Blame it on E. Coli
My health started its downward slide not long after an epic bout of food poisoning (E. Coli). On a February night in 2015, I woke violently ill, and it continued for 6-8 hours.
In those sleepless wee hours, I blamed the smoothie I’d been sipping out of the fridge the past few days.
I was wrecked that night and sore for days after…and it was downhill from there.
While I felt back to normal within a few days, a couple of months later, a new kind of digestive distress came on. Diarrhea, gas and bloating, plus fatigue and weakness, seemed to be the new normal.
Over the next few months, I saw various doctors and endured numerous tests.
Turns out, my gut was a mess.
Granted, I’ve never had a super healthy digestive system (after years of antibiotic use), but things had been pretty stable in the preceding years.
This time, doctors found…
- Gut dysbiosis (AKA bad bacteria) – I had too much bad bacteria, in the wrong places, including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and Candida overgrowth.
- New food sensitivities – I had developed a couple dozen new food sensitivities.
- Intestinal permeability – Intestinal permeability (aka “leaky gut”) had led to brand-new food sensitivities.
- Pancreatic insufficiency – My pancreas was not producing the enzymes I needed to digest fat.
- Inflammation – Arthritis had started in my fingers and toes.
- Autoimmunity – Food poisoning had likely kicked off an autoimmune response.
On top of it all, I was exhausted. It was hard to make it through the day without a nap, much less have the energy for work, parenting and household tasks.
In short, I was not the me I wanted to be.
Finally Finding Help
For help, I saw half a dozen conventional doctors, including gastroenterologists, allergists and rheumatologists. They each recommended prescription medications to treat my symptoms, or alleviate problems in the short term. I tried powerful antibiotics for SIBO, but was still not able to clear it.
None of these physicians looked more deeply at the reasons behind my symptoms. And none of them ever mentioned that diet might help, other than to tell me not to eat the things I was now sensitive to.
I spent immeasurable hours searching for answers online, and scrolling through condition-specific Facebook groups. I ordered books, watched webinars and signed up for health newsletters.
Finally, I turned to naturopathic and functional medicine practitioners for other ideas. Functional medicine identifies and treats the underlying causes of disease instead of simply treating the symptoms.
Between those practitioners, and my own research, I took steps to fix my health:
- Through diet and natural supplements, I reduced my inflammation and have made huge progress in healing my gut.
- I cleared SIBO with a combination of antibiotics, diet (Specific Carbohydrate Diet), probiotics and prokinetics.
- And incredibly, I’m actually reversing my autoimmunity. Over the past year, my autoimmune markers have decreased each time I’m tested. My doctor said, “That’s because of all the work you’ve done with your diet.”
No Longer on the Sidelines
I’m not back to 100% – yet. I’m still healing from intestinal permeability and Candida.
But I am now actively joining in my life. I no longer have to watch my family play through the window. I have all the brainpower I need to work. I’m not lightheaded and gasping for air as I walk up my stairs.
And last fall, I hit a monumental milestone; I hiked part of Nepal’s Annapurna Trail with my family.
None of this was easy. Throughout my journey, I have struggled to find the information I needed to address each problem, and have spent a small fortune doing so. Non-conventional practitioners are expensive, and often don’t accept insurance.
I also had to learn how to cook – using real, whole foods without wheat, grains, dairy, sugar or anything processed – and have the burn scars on my hands and forearms to prove it.
What’s more, I have had to do so while limiting or avoiding go-to favorite foods I grew sensitive to such as chicken, beef, almonds, garlic, coconut, soy, peanut, vanilla, cinnamon and more. Planning and preparing meals has become a part-time job!
A Single Place to Showcase Health Success Stories
In the search for answers, I have found countless inspiring, true stories of people using natural or non-conventional approaches to health, but they’re often buried in private Facebook groups or on practitioner sites, and only offer part of the picture.
These stories HAD to get out there to more people. And with 25 years of journalism and marketing copywriting experience, it made complete sense to bring my storytelling skills to capture these stories.
Rebuilding My Health was born out of the need to collect, in one place, complete and inspirational accounts of gaining back health – that are not associated with a single practitioner, diet or approach.
- If you’ve been successful in treating a condition or alleviating symptoms with natural approaches, I urge you to take a few minutes to share the details of what helped you via our Health Experience form. We’ll be in touch and may feature your story! Your insights could provide much-needed inspiration and ideas for someone in the same boat.
- If you’re searching for answers to your health challenges, my sincere hope is that you find protocols here to help you get better.
I believe that, with the right information, we can all get back to climbing mountains again, whatever those may be for you. I look forward to learning from all of you and building a community committed to helping each other get well.
To your health,
Founder, Rebuilding My Health