“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
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.
“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