A new chapter…

I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog lately and trying to get my body back into balance with having those nasty parasites. The effects of these parasites were really draining and took a lot of my energy. Thank fully after two herbal cleanses, eating well, sleeping lots plus a bucket load of energy treatments and visualising them leaving my body… they are gone. It feels wonderful that I no longer have them.

Having an upset tummy for six weeks though, didn’t help my gut and I noticed that my hair wasn’t growing in as fast as what it had been. So I made an appointment with  my naturopath and he conducted some functional tests. It came back that my gut was moderately leaky and my liver was really under functioning.

To help both these issues I started taking a l-glutamine supplement to support my gut, plus kept on taking two probiotics daily, along with bone broth, fermented foods and took digestive enzymes (if I ate a big meal with red meat, which is not often). My naturopath also made me up an “awful tasting” herbal tonic to help support my liver.

Initially my naturopath wanted me on a bunch more supplements for my liver but I have found over the last two years that my body is very sensitive, so it’s best to do less than more. I have also been massaging my liver meridian points on my feet daily.  Plus my acupuncturist also put me on herbs to support my liver. I think by targeting it from many angles, plus eating well, my liver is doing much better and this is showing in my hair growth.

Over the last month and a half, my hair has been growing back in fast and only has small strips at either side of my head to finish growing in. There are small dark, thin hairs growing here, so I know it’s coming.  After nearly 10 months of it growing in from nothing, this is what it looks like.

June 2017

I’ve gone from absolutely not one strand of hair and wearing a full head scarf or wig (which I hid myself under), to a scarf tied up as it grew back in patches and now only a small headband. I am nearly there.

I realised this week, that I am the girl with hair now and no longer think of myself as ‘the bald girl’ and lacking in any way.

This brought tears to my eyes after reflecting on what a journey I have been on during the last two years. Hopefully soon I will book in to get a hair cut. What an AMAZING experience that will be.

Without losing my hair, I would not be the strong, healthy person I am today. It has changed my life for the better and I can teach my kids to look after themselves and nourish their bodies with nutritious foods. I am also opening a cafe in September this year, and working with a chef to create healthy “eat the rainbow” food and will help other’s on their health journey too. I am beyond excited with this new chapter I am about to embark on and forever grateful that such a negative experience has turned into such a positive one.

Please keep on sending through your emails… I love getting them and helping you too grow back your hair.

Much love and light, Jo xoxo

 

 

 

Hair Update and a few nasty surprises…

So, I thought I would update you on what’s been happening with my hair.  Well, my hair it’s still growing in…it’s getting darker,  thicker and slowly growing down on the sides. I have about an inch to go and then it will be 100% covered all over.  It seems to be growing about an inch downwards every 8 weeks.  I also have all my eyelashes back on one side (most are still light but a they are turning dark) and the other side seems to be filling in, especially over this last week. I paint castor oil on them every night and I think this has helped them get thicker. Maybe I’ll soon be able to use mascara on them… toxin free of course!!  My eyebrows have a lot of thick white growth but nothing dark yet.  Patience is the key, plus appreciation for what I do have.

Here are some recent photos showing what my hair currently looks like. 

March 2017

A few weeks ago, I was getting disappointed that my hair wasn’t all over yet and my beautiful and always supportive Mum said to me “Have a look at photo’s of yourself back in July with nothing at all. If you could see back then, what you have growing now, you would be jumping with joy and not looking at what isn’t. You wouldn’t even notice those side bits, not quite there yet”. And she was right, I need to focus on what I do have and not what I don’t have… the law of attraction.

It’s now the two year anniversary from when I first noticed that I was losing hair on the cruise and during the last month I have been working at releasing lot’s of repressed emotions around this traumatic time. It was like reliving that time on the cruise again (and my son having a very bad asthma attack) feeling trapped, suffocated, very scared and not knowing why my hair was falling out. I have done this with the help of two very special healing friends and it felt so good to let everything go and TRUST that it will all be ok. I think this was holding me back in truly healing and now I just need to STOP worrying that something else terrible will happen to me again. I also pieced together all the missing pieces of the puzzle, knowing why it fell out. This has given me peace and answered many unanswered questions I had for two years.

I’m using lots of my DoTERRA essential oils to help with this feeling, including Helichrysum (an amazing healer of pain). It helps to restore confidence in life and in myself, after trauma or loss. I rub a drop of it on my throat chakra each morning plus night and only after a week, I can feel the difference.

I’ve still been eating amazingly but unfortunately caught two nasty parasites on a recent health retreat by drinking contaminated water… UGHHH! This is the last thing I need right now. But I am starting a detox to eliminate these parasites in the next few days and are hoping with the right herbal products, probiotics and looking after myself, plus eating right, that they will go fast. My acupuncturist can also help with chinese herbal medicine.

When I found out last week that I had these parasites, I began to panic and worry that it would make my hair stop growing or fall out again or stop. I’ve had to really not let it worry me. Once again had to dig deep and be reminded that losing all my hair has forced me to seek healing and completely change my life in every way, and funny enough, after a week of knowing I have these parasites, I’ve now accepted this is another part of my journey. It’s something that I have been forced to learn about and will once again rise from the challenge. I eat amazing, get lots of sleep, keep toxins out of my environment and look after myself, so I think it will all be OK.

It’s also made me get some updated blood tests which I haven’t had since last August and learn that my Iodine, B12 and Homocysteine levels are out of balance. I need to work on correcting these and I am doing so with further testing and the help of a Naturopath.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress with hair plus my two unwanted friends over the next few months.

Love and healing, Jo xoxo

Different treatments and finding the right path for ME…

I’ve always been a positive person, very optimistic and seek to find the best in situations. My husband Roy would quite often call me “unrealistic”, but that was me, always smiling, never wanting to focus on the negative. This was really tested at my third Dermatologist visit.

My hair had only been falling out for three weeks and I was a mess. I guess when you pay to see a specialist, you hope for a ‘magic pill’ to fix everything. I was put on the steroid ‘prednisone’ to try and stop it falling out. At that stage I would have tried anything but after 2 weeks on prednisone (and it’s terrible side effects) and my hair coming out more than ever, I knew this was not the answer.

Listening to the Dermatologist informing me that I might never get my hair back, was life draining and that without prescription drugs, my hair had very little chance of returning. I also asked about changing my diet to see if that would help and was assured that diet played no role in hair loss. This was further backed up by a visit to second Dermatologist.

In the first few months, lot’s of prescription drugs were offered to me to try and trick my body into stopping attack my hair. After I came off the Prednisone, I was put on two different tablets for high cholesterol (yes, you heard right, I didn’t have a cholesterol issue but they can promote hair growth as one of the side effects). I tried this for about a month and then decided that I didn’t want these drugs in my body. I also tried Minoxidyl for two months and ended up with a hairy face (not a good look) and maybe three hairs on my head.

My second Dermatologist tried DCPC, which is a chemical that is applied to the scalp each week. DCPC acts like a decoy, drawing your immune system’s attention away from your hair, allowing your hair to grow again. The chemical produces an allergic reaction , like eczema or dermatitis. Sounds crazy, right. I tried this for about 2 months and when I was told I would need to stay out of the sun, especially during a trip to Bali, I knew this was not for me. Also, DCPC is NOT a cure for alopecia and after stopping it, your hair might all fall out again.

After 6 months of trying various prescription drugs for Alopecia, I came to realise that I was in this for the long haul and needed to balance and correct any deficiencies that my body was facing. That’s when I realised that I didn’t want to rely on a prescription drug for life, scared to go off it, in case I lost whatever hair I had grown in. I needed to have FAITH that I was on the right path without the use of prescription drugs. Some people may have growth with these prescription drugs and they may never have any hair loss again and I’m so happy for them that it worked. I just felt deep inside me, that I needed to do this from the inside out.

Don’t get me wrong, I still looked for the ‘miracle’ drug or potion that would grow my hair back, but I knew that there had to be a way. I had HOPE.

I began by throwing out all those prescription drugs, including all toxic makeup, cleaning products, skin care products etc and replacing it with organic toxic free alternatives. I also added in a good probiotic, zinc, l-glutamine and magnesium. And, yes, after lots of reading, I realised that diet plays a huge role in our body and if I ate the right foods, I might just have a chance to get all my hair back.

“One step at a time… my entire world as I knew it, began changing for the better”.

Love and healing Jo xoxo

 

 

The 10 most important things that have helped re-grow my hair

Over the last 22 months of healing, I’ve come to realise that whilst food and maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important, there are so many other factors that are equally important in healing your body. So, here’s a list of the top 10 most important things (including food) that I feel have been essential in helping me grow back my hair –

    1. Find ways to eliminate STRESS. When we are constantly under stress our immune system knows it. Our adrenals produce stress hormones that impact sleep cycles, hunger, body temperature and lots of other functions. Long periods of stress will cause our immune systems to become overactive, causing autoantibodies to attack the body and more importantly our hair. Choose to take time out for yourself and find something that you love to do. Over the past six months I have really been trying to eliminate stress and since becoming really aware of it and managing it, my hair began to grow back. I also love practising meditation morning and night (just 12 minutes twice a day), going on beach walks and swimming in the ocean, practising Kundalini Yoga, listening to music, reading a good book or one of my favourite magazines. If you can’t manage this on your own, get help if you are feeling overwhelmed. I regularly see my Energy Healer who helps me keep my emotions and stress levels down.
    2. Eat whole, unprocessed, fresh foods. Pick the best quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and meats you can find. Visit your local farmers markets for fresh produce and remember that you’re supporting a farmer in your local community by doing so. Foods at these markets can be organic and free of pesticides, added hormones, antibiotics and herbicides, thus reducing toxicity in your body. Every Sunday morning, I visit our local farmers markets with my family and it’s become a favourite weekly trip. I love chatting to the farmers and store holders and picking the freshest most colourful produce. By eating clean foods, your refined sugar intake should be eliminated or greatly reduced.  I do not eat any processed sugars, only natural sugars found in fruits. Most importantly, I have eliminated gluten and dairy from my diet as both were causing inflammation to the lining of my small intestine. I will never, ever eat gluten again but maybe small amounts of dairy in the future, when all of my hair is back. If you are not sure what foods to eat, see a nutritionist who can help you. I found an amazing nutritionist who has taught me how to nourish my body and what foods to eat on a daily basis.
    3. Address any imbalances, yeast, vitamin deficiences, bacteria issues, digestive distress, etc. You might need to find a Functional Doctor in your area that will help you do this. I had a parasite plus SIBO and went on an intensive cleanse to eliminate these. Most importantly, if you have any gut issues, like I had, take a good probiotic. I had one morning and night for a long time and have only just cut this back to one in the morning. Don’t supplement with pills just because you read it’s good for you, first make sure that you actually need it first with your doctor. You can get all your vitamins and minerals from a clean, fresh healthy diet if you are absorbing everything correctly.
    4. Drink plenty of WATER daily. Consider filtering your water to remove impurities like metals, chlorine and fluoride. Water keeps us hydrated and is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in our bodies. I drink at least two litres of water a day and always use a glass drinking bottle/cup to drink from. Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water.
    5. SLEEP well. When we sleep, our bodies heal. Before my hair fell out, I would get to bed late, not sleep great and wake early. Now I try and make sure I am in bed by 9.30pm and get plenty of sleep. Lavender essential oil is perfect when I’m laying awake and trying to sleep. I also find meditating right before bedtime really helps me get to sleep fast and stay asleep.
    6. ACUPUNCTURE and Chinese Herbal Medicine. This has really helped to free up blockages in my body and allow the energy to flow freely. Please see my recent article on acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine and how it’s helped me with my hair growth.
    7. Reduce toxicity in your environment. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and anything we put on it goes straight to our bloodstreams. The importance of getting toxins out of our bodies cannot be underestimated. I started by replacing all my skincare and cosmetics and buying non toxic alternatives. There are many great websites like http://www.nourishedlife.com.au that have some fantastic beauty and skincare products. Essential Oils have become my part of my daily routine and have helped me reduce toxicity in my body (see my recent article on Essential Oils for more details). Also use non-toxic cleaning products around your home. I make lots of my own products using essential oils, vinegar, bicarb soda, apple cider vinegar etc. Most store bought cleaners are loaded with toxins and chemicals that become airborne and we inhale them or absorb them through our skin.
    8. Get OUTSIDE and move more. Gentle exercise boosts immunity. I regularly go on beach walks and get out in the sun. The sun is the best natural source of vitamin D and is essential for strong bones and good health. I try and get at least 20 minutes of sun each day and I think this has helped with my hair growth.
    9. Eat healing foods daily, like bone broth, kombucha, saurkraut and kefir. Every day for nine months I drank a cup of organic bone broth which I had cooked in my slow cooker for 48 hours. Sounds gross, yes in the beginning I hated it, but you get used to the taste pretty fast. Now most of my hair is in, every 3-4 months I cook up a batch and have it everyday for two weeks, just to nourish my body. Most mornings, I eat coconut kefir yogurt with wild organic blueberries plus seeds, nuts and other fruits. Probiotic foods are so healing. Eat fresh turmeric, this helps boost your bodies immune response. Zinc helps facilitate immune cell function and is found in so many animal products, beans and nuts. I sprinkle a handful of pumpkin seeds over my breakfasts and salads and eat raw almonds daily.
    10. Live in gratitude. When my hair first fell out, I was so angry that my body was doing this to me. Over time, I have realised that my hair falling out has been a blessing and have changed so many things in my life for the better. Each day, I thank my body and are so grateful for being taken on this wonderful journey into knowing who I really am. I am now surrounded by like minded friends who are inspiring and positive, and we all boost each other’s energy.  This week in a Kundalini Yoga class, three beautiful friends and I, took part in a powerful healing meditation afterwards. It completely changed my day and I’m still feeling the benefits days later. How blessed I am to be a part of such a special group of amazing people. Every night before bed, I run through what happened during the day and always give thanks to anything good that’s occurred, even crappy days I thank, as that’s normally when you learn the most and can be grateful that certain things have come to your attention. Always be aware of your thoughts and live in gratitude not anger.

Most of all believe that your body CAN heal and you CAN get your hair back. It isn’t an easy journey and it does take time, but I can guarantee you, you will be rewarded with your hair back.

Love and healing, Jo  xoxo

Hair Update, I’ll need a haircut soon…

Part of my journey to wellness is to help other’s get their hair back. I want to turn such a negative experience into a positive one and give other’s hope by sharing all my hair growth photos.

When my hair all fell out in March 2015, I couldn’t find one photo of someone with Alopecia Universalis and their hair growing back unless they were on some “miracle drug” which probably had severe side effects or once you stopped the drug, your hair would fall out. It was very disheartening and very scary not knowing if it was even possible to do it naturally. I decided that when my hair finally started to grow back – I would take lot’s of photos to show people how it looks growing back in. This will help you to visualise it actually happening, which is so hard when you have none and also no idea what it will look like. Of course everyone’s hair may grow in differently, but at least you can get the picture.

Over the last month, my hair has been growing back fast with all the top and back now filled in with dark hair. Looking at old photo’s on the weekend, I realised that the top only started showing signs of growth with tiny dark hairs in September and now in January, it’s covered all over and getting thicker every day. There are also some very long white hairs and some of these are more than two inches long. I don’t know if they will change colour or fall out, who know’s. The sides are slowly growing down and I can see the changes each week, they only have about an inch or more to go to be fully covered. I can see the new white hairs getting thicker first and then change colour to dark hairs.

I think my daily meditations have been really helping and I can actually now visualise it growing. When I first started the alopecia meditation, I could not picture it growing on my head at all – now I can feel it growing. I kind of look like I have a ‘punk rocker’ mohawk hair style happening at the moment and I’m the least punk person around, so this is a weird feeling. It has really forced me to love myself exactly as I am, even with this crazy hairstyle. At home I don’t wear anything on my head and am confident showing people what I look like. This is a stark contrast to when I had none, always hiding, feeling embarrassed and ashamed that I had none. When I go out, I’m still wearing a head scarf tied up with the back and front hanging out and can’t wait for the day when I won’t have to wear one anymore. I am going to have a ‘headscarf burning party’ and celebrate my journey with all my friends and everyone who has helped me on this journey.

Here are some photo’s of my hair from last week so you can see where I am at.

This week as I was taking my kids to the hairdresser to get ‘back to school’ haircuts,  it really made me start to get excited knowing that I will be sitting there soon and getting my own haircut. Wow, what an AMAZING feeling that will be. I know it won’t be too far away and it will be a celebration.

For those of you who’s hair has started to grow back in, make sure you take weekly photo’s so you can compare the changes. It’s funny as sometimes it looks like nothing much is happening but when you compare them weekly, fortnightly or monthly, the changes ARE huge.

I would love to see photos of your growth or hear about your journey, please send me through any pictures of your hair growing back in to include on this post, to give other’s HOPE. Sometimes just sharing your story helps you heal faster too.

Love and healing, Jo xx

Restoring balance in my body…

 

Natural Energy Balancing (NEB) therapy is used to identify and clear energetic imbalances and sensitivities in your body. It highlights the root cause/s of your health issues and restores balance. NEB has been a huge part of my healing journey and I have been very fortunate to meet Nici Verriest through a friend and have her help to heal my body. You can find out more about her journey at  http://www.naturalenergybalancing.com.au

NEB uses muscle testing to determine imbalances in food, emotions, body organs, etc. It has always corresponded with my blood tests. Each treatment uses massage on particular acupressure points on your body, whilst you hold a vial with the energy of the suspected substance in your hand. It sounds kind of weird but it actually works.

At the beginning of my journey, in April 2015, Nici got to the root cause of my hair loss. She found there were multiple reasons and not just one. These included: environmental toxins, previous infections, long term stress, poor diet, lack of sleep and not looking after myself. All of these issues set up many imbalances in my body, especially from lack of many vitamins and minerals due to gut issues causing inability to absorb them from my food. This became the perfect storm leading to my hair loss.

At my first visit, Nici advised me to eliminate gluten and dairy from my diet, as wheat was causing more inflammation in my already inflamed body and both gluten and dairy were both irritating and damaging to my gut. Nici also told me that, yes, I would grow my hair back but I needed to rebalance my body first for that to happen. This meant healing my leaky gut. I also had adrenal fatigue, have the MTHFR gene and autoimmune diseases run in my family.

Each week (sometimes even twice a week) I would see Nici for a treatment. At the start, I would ask Nici to include the “Alopecia” vial in the treatment, but she needed to first get my body to absorb many vitamins and minerals first before she put in the Alopecia vial. It’s like jumping the queue… you need to fix a,b and c before you get to d.  Patience is been something I’m still working on, but it’s definitely improved!.

Nici has taught me that “food is medicine” and showed me the importance of eating lots of vegetables. She has taught me to eat a mostly alkaline diet, which is eating mostly vegetables and some fruit with small portions of meat, chicken and fish and other proteins. Eating alkaline keeps away the inflammation. I’ve also eliminated all processed foods, sugar and alcohol from my diet for over 12 months now and feel amazing. I now eat a “rainbow” of vegetables every day to keep my body in balance, not just because I have to, but I really enjoy my new way of eating.

It’s been 19 months since my first visit, I stopped seeing Nici a few months ago as I am healed. My body is finally reaching a state of balance and my hair is growing back nicely. Initially I didn’t think it would take so long, but it just showed me how many years of damage I had to undo in my stressed out body.

For those of you who are new on this journey wanting to get your hair back, yes, going gluten and dairy free (or the AIP diet) is a great start but having someone get to the root cause of my hair loss, including emotions and lifestyle, is just as important. Nici has helped my body to restore balance and I get all my nutritional needs from my diet, so I do not need many supplements.

I remember visiting Nici last year with a whole bag of supplements and having her muscle test me for what I needed to be taking. I had so many supplements, as everyone I saw recommended I take a new vitamin and I had no idea what my body really needed. Nici couldn’t believe how much money I had spent on all these supplements, that I didn’t actually need. The only supplements I take now are a probiotic and turmeric (if I can’t buy it fresh) and Chinese herbs daily from my acupuncturist.

Nici has become a lifelong friend and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her love and support.

For more information, please visit Nici’s page http://www.naturalenergybalancing.com.au

My Hair

It’s just hair, right? Until you lose everything, you have no idea how much you take eyelashes and eyebrows for granted. Without them, dust falls in your eyes, water in the shower falls straight inside your eye, they define your face. They were the hardest to lose. I didn’t look or feel like the same person anymore. I felt lost and really ashamed that I had lost all my hair.

From the time my hair first started falling out, (in March 2015) it only took three months for it to disappear all over my entire body. It’s called Alopecia Universalis and is an autoimmune disease. Auto immune means, the body is attacking itself. Our immune system turns against us and attacks our cells, specifically my hair. Why was my body doing this to itself? Something must seriously wrong with my body to allow that to happen.

I began researching cures, thinking surely there would be a tonne, but I found none at that stage. It was extremely deflating. There were a few cases documented of hair growing back with prescription drugs but I knew that I didn’t want to rely on them to grow back my hair and lose it all again if I went off the medication.

I soon found www.thepaleomom.com and began reading Sarah Ballantyne’s articles with great interest. Sarah says the common link with all autoimmune conditions is a leaky gut. Yes, you must first have a genetic predisposition to it and be exposed to a trigger but leaky gut is also caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors. Also by addressing these factors, you can reverse your autoimmune disease.

Funny enough, a month before my hair began to fall out I got a severe vomiting and gastro bug which lasted a week and my gut never seemed to recover. I was also working very hard, not getting enough sleep, not eating very well and stressed out setting up a business. We also had our house pest sprayed at that same time which put more toxicity in my already stressed out body. Sarah explains the science behind a Paleo diet and then recommends the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet for those with autoimmune diseases. The AIP diet is essentially eating meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats. Basically whole foods and nothing processed. The AIP diet is a step up from the paleo diet and eliminates the most common immune reacting foods for a period of time including nuts, seeds, eggs and nightshade foods.

At this time I also found a youtube video by a girl called Stella and her wellness blog called www.wholeearthlife.wordpress.com – Stella who grew all her hair back with the AIP diet. This gave me the boost I desperately needed.

In November 2015 , I decided to follow the AIP diet. I found it quite hard at first but as time went by, it became easier. I stuck to it 100% for a month and then re-introduced eggs, nuts, seeds, cacao, buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa slowly back in over the next six months. Even now, January 2017, I still do not eat gluten, dairy, processed sugar or processed foods or drink alcohol.

In July 2016 (16 months after my hair first fell out) my hair began slowly growing back in. It started with fine white tiny hairs that were so hard to see unless you were in bright light. My Mum would bring over her magnify glass to check out my growth and would run her hands over it just to feel it. I felt something was happening but at the same time, very nervous and wasn’t sure if it would stay. Here is a photo of how it looked in July. Close up there were lots of white hairs and a few starting to turn dark.

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July 2016

Over the last six months it’s getting thicker and filling in all the gaps. Each week my husband Roy takes a photo so I can see the changes. It really helps seeing the differences each week and highlights that my body is healing. It took three months of it growing for me to get excited and feel like it’s actually happening. For a while there, because I haven’t had any hair for so long, it was hard to believe it was growing and not falling out. I would even pull at each strand just to check it would stay in.

Recently I bought my first bottles of organic shampoo and conditioner. What am amazing feeling to actually wash MY HAIR, something that I wasn’t sure if I would ever do again. I definitely don’t take the little things for granted anymore.

As at the beginning of January 2017, it’s about 80% back, the back and top has filled in nicely but the sides are taking a little longer. I have some patchy white eyelashes but no eyebrows yet, but I am sure with time they will all come back.

August 2016
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September 2016
October 2016
November 2016
December 2016

I am so grateful it’s growing, but I’m not jumping off the couch like I thought I would be. Just very humbled and can’t wait to not have to wear a head scarf. I do feel that it will all come back 100%. I also don’t believe that I will lose my hair again as I have learnt to nourish my body with all the right foods and the right lifestyle.

There are also many other factors that have helped me grow my hair back in, not just the AIP diet, so I’ll be sharing these in other posts.

Love and healing, Jo xo

P.S. I’ll keep you updated on my growth over the next few months.