“Life has never been bet­ter!”

For years, Natalee Hes­sell, 41, bat­tled de­bil­i­tat­ing fa­tigue, fog and pain. Then she iden­ti­fied the sneaky cul­prit—and fast fixes—that re­stored her vi­tal­ity

First For Women - - Health -

Just get through the next two hours, then you can go home and rest,” Natalee said to her­self. “It was my son Parker’s birth­day and we were hav­ing his party at an ap­ple or­chard. Nor­mally, I would have been up for it all—the pet­ting zoo, the gi­ant slide, the hayride—and still have plenty of en­ergy to pick ap­ples with my fam­ily after­ward. But I was so ex­hausted that I couldn’t wait for the party to be over. I left it to my hus­band to cor­ral the kids and serve the food. I felt so bad that I couldn’t be present for my son on his spe­cial day, but I just wasn’t the mom and wife I used to be.

Out of com­mis­sion

“That was three years ago. I was so tired all the time that I felt like I’d burst into tears at any moment. I had al­ways been able to mul­ti­task with ease, but for some rea­son, ev­ery last bit of en­ergy was sucked right out of me.

“The fa­tigue got so bad, I had to cut back my full-time hours and work part-time from home. At one point, I had to stop work­ing al­to­gether be­cause I was too ex­hausted, and that caused fi­nan­cial strug­gles for my fam­ily. But even though I was home with more down­time, I was still too drained to take care of my kids. My mother-in-law paid for day care for one of my sons while a friend watched my other son. I felt ter­ri­ble about it.

“In the af­ter­noons, my mom would come over to do er­rands, then she would help my hus­band feed the kids and get them to bed be­cause I was too ex­hausted to pitch in.

“My fa­tigue cre­ated a lot of added pres­sure on my hus­band, and be­cause he didn’t un­der­stand what was wrong with me, it ended up caus­ing a fair amount of ten­sion be­tween us. In fact, there were times when I’d be too tired to pick up some­thing off the floor, so

I would just leave it there. When he’d ask me why and I would try to ex­plain that I was too tired, we’d end up ar­gu­ing. Since I had no more to give to him, he felt iso­lated and ne­glected— and I felt guilty. Natalee Hes­sell,

“Tired­ness wasn’t my only prob­lem. Clark­ston, MI I had a whole laun­dry list of symp­toms: mus­cle weak­ness and twitch­ing, ab­dom­i­nal pain, swelling through­out my body, con­fu­sion, brain fog… One time I ran a stop sign be­cause I thought it was a yield sign—even though I had lived in the neigh­bor­hood for years and had passed that stop sign count­less times be­fore. It was scary.

“I de­cided to make an ap­point­ment with an en­docri­nol­o­gist be­cause I thought some­thing might be wrong with my thyroid. He ran blood tests and con­cluded ev­ery­thing was nor­mal. He didn’t even try to look into

other pos­si­ble causes for all my symp­toms. It was so frus­trat­ing that he wouldn’t help me, but I wasn’t go­ing to set­tle for feel­ing this way. I knew I had to keep press­ing to fig­ure out what was wrong…and I had to do it fast.

En­ergy re­stored!

“I made an ap­point­ment with an in­ternist and I fi­nally got some an­swers. He sus­pected that I had an overload of heavy met­als, which he ex­plained could cause my fa­tigue and other symp­toms. When he ran the tests, he found that I had high lev­els of ar­senic in my body, which was re­ally shock­ing.

“When I asked him what had led to the ar­senic tox­i­c­ity, he said he didn’t know…and that he didn’t re­ally know how to treat it ei­ther. So I de­cided to con­sult a func­tional medicine doc­tor. I found the Kahn Cen­ter for Car­diac Longevity in Michi­gan and saw Joel Kahn, M.D., a cer­ti­fied in­te­gra­tive car­di­ol­o­gist. He ex­plained that the ar­senic overload was likely due to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors. One ma­jor prob­lem: I was drink­ing a lot of shakes made with rice pro­tein pow­der and eating a lot of rice, which is known to con­tain high lev­els of the heavy metal.

“I ad­justed my diet to get rid of the most prob­lem­atic foods. And to chelate, or detox­ify my body from the ar­senic, I took a va­ri­ety of sup­ple­ments in­clud­ing the amino acid EDTA, al­pha-lipoic acid, mag­ne­sium, vi­ta­min D and vi­ta­min K12.

“Within a month, my in­som­nia started to lift and my en­ergy lev­els and other symp­toms be­gan to im­prove. Af­ter just two months, it was like a to­tal health trans­for­ma­tion—I fi­nally felt like my­self again. I couldn’t be­lieve that such sim­ple fixes could make such a huge dif­fer­ence!

“Now that con­stant fa­tigue isn’t hold­ing me back, I’m liv­ing my life to the fullest. My re­la­tion­ship with my hus­band is stronger than ever and we’re busy with our kids, tak­ing fam­ily bike rides and va­ca­tions. This year when my son cel­e­brated his birth­day, we hosted the party at our house and I woke up early, made all the food and spent the day chas­ing the kids around and play­ing in the bouncy house. It feels so good to be back!” —as told to Julie Reve­lant

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