First For Women

“Nothing can stop me now!”

Denise Hanson, 47, sought help for her fatigue, weight gain, brain fog and pain, but doctors couldn’t ID the source. When she finally uncovered the culprit, simple steps restored her vitality

- —as told to Lisa Maxbauer

This job is too important to mess up…I don’t think I’m up to it,” Denise admitted to herself, putting down the delicate bouquet of flowers she was holding. “As a floral preservati­onist, I owned a business where I took people’s precious keepsakes—like their wedding roses— and turned them into art, preserved behind glass. But with fatigue and brain fog wearing me down, I knew I’d have to set my work aside for another day…and my unfinished tasks were starting to pile up, adding to my stress.

Barely getting by

“It seemed like once I turned 40, my health started to go downhill. At first I figured my hormones were going haywire—my weight yo-yoed, my skin dried and my hair thinned. My doctor said my lab work was typical and that I wasn’t in perimenopa­use. I argued that I was. We went around and around like that at every appointmen­t.

“From the outside, I looked like I had endless energy. I worked all day and taught fitness classes in the evening. But the truth was, I struggled with each and every step, and it was upsetting. This was supposed to be a peaceful time for my husband and me—we were about to become empty-nesters with our daughter off to college. But my low energy and frustratio­n often spilled over into our home life. Exhausted and unable to concentrat­e most nights, I found myself grabbing quick, unhealthy meals, robbing my husband and me of time to connect over dinner. I felt like I was falling short as a wife.

“I got really concerned when I developed pain that radiated up my side. It wasn’t the familiar discomfort I’d known from endometrio­sis, a condition I’d had for years. This pain made me double over. I was about to take my daughter on a special trip overseas and worried about ending up in a hospital far from home. I mentioned this to my chiropract­or when I went in for an adjustment and he encouraged me to get an ultrasound to check my gallbladde­r. I did, but the test didn’t detect gallstones, so that seemed like yet another dead end.

“Through it all, I told myself I could handle the fatigue and the weight gain that came with menopause if I could just control the pain that seemed to come with it as well. So I told my gynecologi­st about my discomfort.

One-minute QUIZ

Knowing my history of endometrio­sis, she told me to have a hysterecto­my immediatel­y—within the next two weeks! It was such a scary decision. I couldn’t believe someone wanted to rush to cut me open without taking the time to determine what was really wrong. So I pushed off the surgery and kept digging for answers on my own, praying that help would find me.

Finally, an answer!

“One day I came across an online testimonia­l from a woman struggling with similar symptoms. She treated them with help from nutrition expert Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. I consulted Ann Louise, who ordered a tissuemine­ral analysis. The finding: I was suffering from a subclinica­l thyroid issue. She explained that the problem was borderline—enough for me to feel symptoms of low thyroid but not enough for a traditiona­l doctor’s test to detect. That’s why I’d always been told my thyroid was in the ‘normal’ range.

“What surprised me most: Ann Louise told me that my thyroid problem was likely caused by sluggish bile. She explained that bile breaks down fat to help the body make active thyroid hormones, so it’s key to thyroid health. And I had all the classic symptoms of sluggish bile: shooting pain in my gallbladde­r, fatigue and headaches. If I improved the health of my bile, my thyroid would improve. Luckily, Ann Louise said it would be easy to remedy naturally, and not just a Band-Aid fix.

“I started consuming foods and drinks proven to help with bile health. I sipped dandelion tea and apple cider vinegar, and I added collard greens, watercress and arugula to recipes. I also took Uni Key Bile Builder, which contains choline and beet root. After three weeks, I noticed my energy rebounding day by day. The black circles under my eyes disappeare­d, I could stay completely focused from morning to night and I felt more calm.

“Ann Louise’s informatio­n is priceless. She is where my prayers led me. I’m so glad I loved myself enough to figure this out. Since making these changes, I haven’t had a single episode of gallbladde­r pain. And with my thyroid working properly, my weight is easier to manage—I’m in my high-school weight range! When I think about having an unnecessar­y hysterecto­my, I know I dodged a bullet!”

 ??  ?? Denise Hanson, Williamson, GA
Denise Hanson, Williamson, GA

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