My daughter Zoe suffered a bad blow to the head while playing hockey in 2011, and has never been well since that day. She was eventually diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome and then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We worked with doctors and the medical system and over 2 years Zoe did get a lot better, however, in January 2014, Zoe suffered a relapse. All the fatigue symptoms returned with the addition of crippling abdominal pain and almost permanent nausea.
She was unable to leave the house, or get up off the couch most days.
By October 2014, she had seen numerous doctors and had countless blood tests, x rays, ultrasounds and gruesome examinations all of which came up negative.
At one point I had the experience, of sitting in a consultant’s office, while he told me they could find nothing wrong and there was nothing further he could suggest, as Zoe sat next me as white as a sheet but sweating bullets and doubled over in pain. I was literally at my wits end as to what to do.
And then someone suggested we try a functional medicine practitioner called Robyn Puglia, who they knew had helped someone else with digestive issues. So, we began working with Robyn.
Robyn discussed having various tests done so that she could be more effective with what she suggested. Those initial tests were expensive, but crucial in getting things underway for Zoe.
Based on the test results, Robyn made changes to Zoe’s diet. Very quickly this had a positive effect and Zoe was able to physically eat more at each meal and the pain reduced by a noticeable amount and her weight steadied (she had been losing weight at an alarming rate up until then).
This new diet wasn’t easy, and I spent a lot of time looking up charts to see what was allowed and what wasn’t. Many foods that I thought were healthy were off the list eg apples and broccoli.
There have been various other diet, supplement and lifestyle adjustments that we have made over this year, but Zoe currently looks a million dollars; coped with a 5 day tour in Germany with music school last month and is preparing (and looking forward to) starting her A level studies in September.
What I like about working with Robyn is that she is very focused on solving the root cause of the issues, not just diagnosing and figuring out how to cope.
What proved crucial to working with Robyn is that she saw Zoe as a whole person and she connected the dots. For her, it made sense that the root cause of Zoe’s digestive issues was the head injury in January 2011. I was certain of this through intuition alone but I had no explanation for it. Robyn explains it as the head injury affecting the vagus nerve – which controls the gut, but it wasn’t a huge, dramatic, immediate effect, it was a dripping tap effect that continued and built up until the crisis point when Zoe had the major relapse.
The issue for us with the current system is that it’s very compartmentalized and nobody connects things together. The system also isn’t really set up for these complex, chronic conditions, it is at its best being reactive to acute trauma and conditions.
I remain convinced that if we had not began working with Robyn, Zoe would still be alternating between writhing on the floor in pain or sobbing on the sofa with frustration and exhaustion – and I’m really not exaggerating that, she really did spend days and days in one of those two states, with our specialists saying ”We can’t find anything wrong”.
This whole journey began and continues with Robyn. I feel that finally, finally the real Zoe is back.
— Zoe’s Mother