For years over the past 20 years i have experience life changing vertigo, fatigue, silent and painful migraines, neck and back pain, tinnitus, brain fog, sickness and nausea to name just a few symptoms. I found this incredibly difficult to get help and someone to handle my condition. I have seen NHS and paid privatley and even been to harley street out of desperation only to come out with a large bill.
Along the way I have seen a whole multitude of doctors, ENT consultants, Neurological consultants, physiotherapists, osteopaths, tried aromatherapy, reflexology, hopi ear candles, massage, balance exercises. I was diagnosed with Menieres, and later Migraine Associated Vertigo (MAV), taken all sorts of medication, which some helped for a while and others not.
With Migraine Associated Vertigo i do not always know i am having the migraine but instead I’m dizzy, off balance, or can fall to the floor. Some days i can just feel tired, fatigued, feel sick or just generally not well. However, other times i am more than well aware i am having the migraine and like any migraine suffer will tell you, am bound for my bed in the dark and silence and all i want to do is sleep! However with the vertigo and dizziness this adds another dimension entirely…
I noticed what I was eating was effecting my migraines, so i had cut out caffeine, chocolate, msg, cheese and a lot of dairy, aspartame, alcohol, and gluten (this is a family thing anyway as we have coeliac in the family so i have cut this out since my 20’s) however this was no quick strategy and has taken me 15-20 years to figure the food thing out by trial and error.
At my wits end, a friend had seen a functional doctor and nutritionist team and had fantastic result with a skin condition so i decided i had nothing to loose (apart from more money) and thought i would give it ago! I am so glad i have and here is my story in the hope that this can help others, so here is my journey and to be honest its not over yet – but here is the story so far and if it helps just one person – my job is done!
The beginning – December 2018
So i had booked an appointment with London dietitian and arranged a meeting with them in December, to see the functional doctor and nutritionist. She got to see my vertigo in full force and spent some of the appointment on the floor! We have decided to start straight away and run a batch of tests to get an idea of whats going on. So this involves stool tests, hormonal tests and blood tests, which should give them a clearer picture. i feel quite excited to start this journey now and keeping everything crossed it could do something for me. We are going to start an elimination diet straight away and start on a range of supplements to support my system and put back things back in that i am lacking. The elimination diet is tough and the list is long of foods to exclude, not only am in doing an elimination diet i am also taking out any migraine associated foods. Yes this is very daunting however the plus side is im already not eating wheat and dairy and many other foods so at least i am a little prepared! So supplements include fish oil, coQ10, Vitamin D and K, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc to name a few.
The first week on the diet I felt really good, amazing in fact, its like a miracle. Week 2, My period comes and I feel terrible! I’m dizzy, Im having spins and falling to the floor, my head hurts and im having migraines on and off and I’m tired and fatigued. This continues on and although I’m taking the supplements and eating well I don’t feel so healthy now. They have warned me it’s not like a miracle it’s slow to begin with and to keep going but i have to say this bit is hard (and I am pretty hardy, this condition is not for the faint hearted) 😂 By week 4/5 I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth it! There is some positives – the condition of my feet are amazing, the skin is soft and smooth and the mystery spots on my feet have gone!! I was hoping for more to be honest but it’s a good change but im telling myself to be patient and remind myself although im hoping for an overnight cure – keep going!
Week 5, finally I wake up one Sunday morning and it’s like a miracle…. I feel amazing! Just like that…. it happens to be on my sons birthday and I have a house full of guests I’m cooking for and thank goodness i have energy, im focused, i feel good and I love it. Its amazing how you get used to struggling and this becomes your normal but i feel a huge welcomed change. So the relief continued for about 2 weeks and no migraine in that time that’s a miracle…. 😊👍 I have had spins but they have changed, they are quick and there is no migraine after which would always happen! That is amazing and they think so too. The spins are different too so it’s all change, and change is good apparently. So im feeling quite positive.
End of January 2019
I have a follow up appointment with both the functional doctor and nutritionist. This was a very interesting appointment as the results of my hormone test were back. This answered a lot of questions and no wonder I was feeling the was I was! My oestrogen was sky high and my progesterone was so low! This would cause a migraines on its own. My cortisol levels were flat line, no wonder I was tired, and in turn this would effect my hormone levels and blood pressure. They also have reasons for why I’m spinning too which was all to do with my treatment killing of my gut bacteria and the changes i was experiencing. The great news I have been feeling so much better! And no migraines!! I know we are by no way there yet and to be honest thats fine as i have more progress to make!
So we are putting in place the next stage of the plan. We are continuing to kill off the bacteria in my gut but changing the supplements slightly to hopefully ease the spins too soon. The toxin levels should start to lower in my body which should also help. To help this i am to try and get the plastics out and heavy metals as these are big hormone interrupters and can be responsible to changes in neurological pathways. I am quite good with choosing more natural products etc but i have been advised to go further so i swapped ALL of my body products over to Tropic which i have used some of them in the last few years but now transferred fully. My new deodorant is amazing and hands down the best deodorant ive ever used! so if your looking at making small changes would urge you to try – im so impressed ive decided to become a Tropic Ambassador too. You can find out more or trying some at https://tropicskincare.com/pages/clairejarvis
Products come with a 30 day money back guarentee too (no reason not to try!) All my cleaning products are natural too, and not storing food in plastic containers and also got myself a non plastic water bottle too!
I am still doing elimination diet but now we are also moving onto the next stage of the plan – repair, so new supplements for me. I am working on getting as many antioxidants in my body as i can so im eating the colours of the rainbow! 🌈. Today I got in 21 portions of fruit and veg in. Impressive right! The positives are my head is alot clearer and i can actually think now and i do have more energy and not so fatigued. im getting used to the diet and my gluten free wraps have been a saviour to me, you can check out the recipe.
So we are continuing on with elimination diet. I am finding this harder now as i am feeling like i am running out of options and having to put more work in and have to be creative. I am really enjoying have my smoothies every morning and i really look forward to. I am adding flax seed and different colours of fruits and veg and using hemp milk and gluten free oat milks. See my page for some smoothie idea. I am noticing my skin is wonderful to!as i have been feeling so much better, we have booked a skiing holiday with friends to for next month and this means flying which i have not done in over 20 years! This is a BIG deal…
However 2 weeks before my trip, i had a downturn and had a migraine 🙁 This was a big blow for me as i had been doing so well and you get used to feeling well. I tried to continue on and sadly passed out in the kitchen…. ive never done this before – thankfully i did recover quickly and was back up again the next day although. My functional doctor wanted to to get blood tests immediately to check what was going on. I knew what i needed to do, eat good food, sleep, rest and relax, especially with my impending trip! thankfully that worked and before i knew it i was back to health and on that flight! The flight was great and no problems and i even skied too which i thought was miraculous and could have never considered this for years!
My blood tests came back and these were showing that actually i was doing quite well, vitamin d levels good, fasting insulin good, the supplements were doing their job and my body was responding. My hormone levels were improving but looks like i have PCOS – interesting!.
So after another review, we are going to introduce some natural progesterone to support to help my hormone levels. We are continuing with the supplement support and although i am continuing with the elimination diet and removing the migraine foods we can now start the reintroduction phase!! yeah – part of me is looking forward to eating some different foods again.
So the reintroduction of foods has not gone so well sadly, and have tried to reintroduce about 10 items including beef, tomatoes, coconut, corn and im having reactions. These are little spots on my fingers flaring up and some spots reoccurring on my feet too. My hands and my feet are so dry and feeling uncomfortable. Im experiencing a few mild migraines however my recovery is quicker than past history, So back to elimination diet as my body clearly does not welcome this change. I am now taking another supplement to ensure I have killed off the bacteria in my gut.
So at 6 months in and a lot has changed, i’m feeling so much better, more energy, head clarity, no brain fog and the best bit no migraine or vertigo! Im back to exercising and driving and working at full capacity and loving it! So nice to have my life back 🤗 (I’m still on my daily smoothies and will not be stopping this) and great clean eating. Im able to function quite normally and socially – this is a real joy!
July & August
Still continuing on the elimination diet and the good news is there is no migraines. We have had a busy summer and had a holiday in Italy, Spain and been camping and on boat trips, which would have not been on the agenda if it wasn’t for this programme! Towards the end of august my spins returned (no migraine though) which i was devastated however it turned out i had an infection, which seems to have caused this! The attack of the infection seemed to bring down my system and the inflammation could of well contributed but now this has passed we are back to normal. On the food front, I have managed to add some variety of foods including olives, mushrooms, and coconut, however i’m convinced tomatoes and egg are causing me issues still so im still removing these along with a list of others but these are on my suspect list!
September and October
Im still on good form and i have now managed to introduce more foods into my diet without effect, and now there is very little i am not eating. This is great news as looks as though my get is healed and now we are looking at the microbiome, which is a really facinating subject in its self! I am now concentrating on getting the good bacteria in my gut. I am exercising more and even thinking of joining the gym! I am back driving too. My periods are not so eventful and not experiencing the pain and generally doing well and feel my life has changed so much in this short space of time!
I would love to be able to help others who have been in a similar situation, if it be vertigo, migraines or other conditions they are struggling with as it is more than life changing and debilitating and getting help to find the source of the problem can be very difficult. I have a much better understanding through my experiences, reading and listening to pod casts etc essentially the principals are the same. Food and nutrition can be a very powerful thing and aiding your body to do what it does best is a very empowering thing.
I have spent a small fortune on trying to help myself over the years in trying to find a treatment or improvement in my condition and as many options are not available on the NHS this comes with cost which can be costly.
These options may be helpful to you:
This heal your headache book is very interesting and i would say is worth a read as this follows quite an interesting program that covers some of these aspects so its a more do it yourself approach.