Her Story

“My journey to recovery and healing really began back in 2004 when my daughter was born. Up until then I had lived a pretty active and healthy life (or at least what I thought was healthy at that time). I can now look back through my whole life and pinpoint many of the toxic exposures I had along the way and uncover many of the symptoms that continued to surface throughout my childhood. It wasn’t until I had a traumatic labor and delivery along with a baby girl with health concerns that my symptoms went through the roof! Through the physical interferences of my labor and delivery and then the emotional aftermath of the weeks to come, my bucket had overflowed and the inflammatory cascade of symptoms revealed itself.

To add to this intensity, my daughter was diagnosed with severe reflux at 2 weeks of age. She was having trouble keeping down my milk, was crying and refluxing all the time, and only slept maybe 1-2 hours a day. At this point she had dropped in weight and was almost diagnosed failure to thrive. This emotional stress was certainly more than I could bare and it started to take its toll on me. My symptoms included anxiety, mood swings, rage behavior, severe insomnia, acute fatigue that lead into chronic fatigue, brain fog, short term memory loss, cold extremities, dizziness, and sensitivity to sound, smell, and light. I did get a slight handle on my symptoms once my daughter started doing better, was nursing well, gaining weight appropriately, and started actually getting some sleep… but I was still not well and then more bizarre symptoms started to surface.

Over the next two years my symptoms continued to worsen, things like ringing in the ears and hearing my own heartbeat, floaters and swimmers going across my eyes affecting my vision, frequent electric static shock when I touched things, weight gain, dry skin, and then the dizzy spells started to become frequent and severe. I knew there was a problem when I was up to 6-10 dizzy episodes a day coupled with my eyes twitching. That was just not right! I started to search for answers at this point. Of course I had neurological evaluations, and hormone evaluations, and physical exams, and on and on looking for a problem, but no one could find anything. The last straw was when I started getting severe chest pain, this chest pain was so bad that I thought I was having a heart attack when it would happen, and the frequency of it got worse. That’s when the panic attacks from my severe anxiety would jumpstart as well!

I finally said I must find answers, this is NOT normal! So I went to my primary informing him of everything I just listed above…. And within 10 minutes of being there he was handing me 3 prescriptions. One for GERD/acid reflux (which is what the diagnosis was from my chest pain), one for vertigo (which was the diagnosis for my dizzy spells), and an anti-anxiety medication for my panic attacks, mood swings, and depression. This is when I said “HOLD UP!” These are all medications to treat symptoms, but WHY do I have these to begin with? What’s causing this? Fortunately (yes, I said fortunately) the doctor didn’t have any answers and that is what lead me on my quest.

If it weren’t for this quest, I would not be better today nor would I have the knowledge and ability to help my clients get their lives back either. So I am forever grateful for this journey, and wouldn’t change it for the world. My next phase was to figure out WHY! Why was I having these bizarre symptoms that just kept getting worse? There had to be an answer. And I finally found it! It was neurotoxic illness.

In my case, I had been suffering with heavy metal toxicity and never knew it. My mercury and lead levels were extremely high and had been building up in my body throughout my entire life. I can look back now and see so many of my exposures (I had seven amalgam fillings in my mouth, I was fully vaccinated as a child and in college, I grew up eating huge amounts of seafood, I consumed standard American foods which contained a host of pesticides, chemicals, and metals, I received three years’ worth of allergy shots as a child, and I even grew up on land that was previously a huge orange grove.) To top it off, we now know that both my parents had double the amounts of metals in their body than I did so I got exposed even in the womb. My bucket of heavy metal exposure was extremely full and already causing so many symptoms, but when the physical and emotional trauma hit me back in 2004, the bucket tipped over and I was not myself anymore. I didn’t recognize me and was afraid to even talk to people about how I was feeling and what my symptoms were with fear of rejection and being thought of as “crazy”. But when I hit my bottom and had to find the answers in order to bounce back, I did! And I’m so grateful for it today. I learned that diet changes alone could bring about a huge healing power! I cut out all the processed, packaged, convenient foods. I eliminated refined sugars and all added sugars from my food, I made sure I avoided all the chemicals, food colorings, GMO’s, pesticides, and hormones typically found in our commercial products. I began to feel better within just a matter of weeks by making these types of diet changes. I started sleeping better, my acid reflux and chest pain was gone, my dizzy spells had cut down by 50%, my eye twitching and ringing of the ears was starting to decrease, and I had a lot more energy. I even started losing a few pounds without dieting, just by making healthier and cleaner choices. At this time I also began to remove my live source of mercury (my amalgam fillings) by a holistic dentist, and once completed I was able to begin true heavy metal detox. After a few cycles of detox, I began to feel better. I felt like not only myself again, but a whole new woman! I remember being so amazed throughout my detox journey at the continuous clearing of my lifelong symptoms, and my brain fog disappearing and how much focus and memory I was able to obtain.

I truly had a new outlook on life, and a new found purpose! I made a decision at that point to devote the rest of my career to helping others achieve what I was able to achieve. By not just looking at the symptoms I was experiencing, but going further up the chain and getting to the root cause, removing that interference, and discovering that my body was truly able to regain optimal function and heal itself! To have the privilege to serve others in this capacity is truly an honor and a blessing. I can look back now to my first few years out of college saying to myself “I feel like there is a bigger calling and purpose that my life is supposed to serve, but I have no idea what it is!” I clearly remember having this conversation with my best friend. Her advice “Pray about it Tracy, you know when the time is right, God will surface his plan and purpose for you!” Now, I never imagined this, nor did I imagine the intense journey I would have to go through to get here. It never ceases to amaze me at what God will utilize to get through to us! Life truly is about the journey, and not the destination, for the journey is part of the destination!

~Tracy Mastandrea,RD,LD/N