I heard about Dr. Carney from one of my co-workers while discussing my hormonal imbalance and knew that she specialized in that area. I called and made an appointment because I suspected my hormones were out of balance. Although at the time I thought I was living a pretty healthy lifestyle, I was also looking for a solution to help regulate everything. My friend offered to come along to the appointment for moral support. She was excited to come with me to learn more and eventually became a patient of Dr. Carney, as well. It was great to have an extra set of ears because Dr. Carney is so thorough and there was so much information to retain from that first appointment. We both jotted down notes and asked many questions.
I had been dealing with multiple symptoms for years and most of my life. At a younger age, I had suffered from anxiety and depression, but I never took medication until I reached adulthood. Even after the birth of my son, I tried different medications to help alleviate some of these symptoms, but I reached a point where I was just tired of all of that. After a year of being on these medications, I eventually told my previous doctor that I didn't want to take them anymore and told her what my plans were to stop taking them. I hated the way the medications made me feel and I felt like I was trading one symptom for another.
I had known that other patients from Dr. Carney's office had gone vegan, but I never thought I would and even said, "That's not going to happen!" I grew up on a farm in Ohio, and I was sure she had an option for me. I honestly thought that I would take a hormone pill or that I would find another quick fix, along with a lecture about eating more veggies. I didn't expect it to so much work on my part, but I have full ownership now with my health and have so much more confidence about my dietary choices.
During my first appointment we spoke about everything and I felt like I was seeing my therapist, doctor, pastor, and gynecologist all in one! There was even a point where she asked to pray together, which we did, and while I was surprised since we were in a doctor's office, I felt at ease with this. She explained in detail how your diet can affect your emotions. Dr. Carney ordered a full battery of blood tests to see where I was at, and talked about what food is good and bad for your health. I left with some books in hand and homework to do.
When I left her office, I was near tears and overwhelmed with information thinking to myself, "How am I going to do this?" It was so scary and I didn't know how my husband was going to react. He was fully supportive but he wasn't ready to give up meat for the rest of his life, and I totally understood that. No matter what I cooked, he would eat it and he never expected another meal. It was really hard for the first couple of weeks, but I could tell a difference in my energy and I lost weight, as well. My friend was right there for me and we really felt like we were in this together.
After receiving my first round of blood test results, we found that my estrogen was high (it has since dropped in half), my progesterone was at post-menopausal stage (also improved!), I had a B12 deficiency and was pre-diabetic going in to this (my glucose is much better now). Dr. Carney sat down with me and explained everything to me. It was at that point that she discussed what I could do to change my numbers and my llife.
We weren't just talking hormones at that point and I was scared. Diabetes runs in my family and I couldn't believe that I was pre-diabetic. Everyone considered me as the "healthy" one out of my entire family. I just can't imagine how bad it could have been if I hadn't already been living a pretty healthy lifestyle before meeting Dr. Carney. Even if I was pre-disposed to get diabetes before then, it's not going to happen now. I consider that a blessing if I'm the one that's going to prevent it versus my siblings having to fight it.
My stress level was also extremely high and it's so much better now. My pancreas was in overdrive according to Dr. Carney. She told me the long-term effects of living that way and it scared me. Adapting this new lifestyle naturally took the stress away. After Dr. Carney explained to me that coffee, alcohol, and caffeine were contributing factors in mood swings, energy drops, and increased stress also scared me. How could the things that people depend on everyday be so bad?!
I got a lot of push back from my family and a few friends on my new lifestyle. After some time, many of my friends began to use my plant-based recipes and have shared some of what I have learned from Dr. Carney with them. We spent a month during the summer of 2012 in Ohio, and that proved to be a huge challenge as a new vegan. My family was supportive and I kept all of my meals as simple as I could. When we returned to Texas, we had much more access to the foods we were now eating in our plant-based lifestyle.
I have told several people that this lifestyle has completely changed my life. I now know too much to ever go back. My husband read the Engine 2 Diet book by Rip Esselstyn and he's realizing this lifestyle can reverse chronic illnesses. Even at the park we watched several children playing that were overweight and I almost feel helpless because these kids aren't learning the right foods to eat.
I feel like I have more conviction in my life and I feel like I am doing a better job as a mom. I used to feel that I was going through the motions day-to-day, but now I find myself over thinking things in a good way. This food made such a huge difference in so many aspects of my whole life. I have more patience with my son and he's definitely picking up on my actions. My household has also had less illness since changing our diets. We do have occasional allergy issues, but we've seen a huge improvement overall in our health.