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A new chapter in health

It has been almost two years now since I got my life back. Instead of getting angry at aches or blemishes, I am now grateful for any opportunity to study how the body works. I call myself completely healed after years of terrible tailbone pain, fatigue, weight gain, skin inflammation and hormonal imbalances. But there will always be challenges, and I will eagerly be sharing what I learn in this blog. Research and awareness has given me and my family health that we’ve never had before. Here is how it began…

The pain started as a tingling sensation deep inside the tissue under my tailbone shortly after I had wisdom tooth surgery at age 36. My mouth wasn’t healing so I was taking lots of NSAIDs and antibiotics. Though my mouth eventually healed, the tingling sensation turned into an unspecific ache that bothered me most when driving. Within a few months I was sitting on expensive chairs and cushions and avoiding theaters. Eventually I had to scream when rising from my seat. Within a year mark I was going from doctor to doctor, getting useless x-rays, MRIs, and cortisone shots. Massage and acupuncture did nothing. In response to my increasing depression and brain fog, one doctor could only suggest a psychologist.

The situation grew very complex as I noticed my gastrointestinal problems slowly increased with the tailbone pain. I became bloated after almost every meal, and noticed symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. I was steadily gaining 2 pounds a month and my friends joked that it was my age. Naps were part of the schedule, as I didn’t have the juice to get through the afternoon. I was irritable, depressed, and frustrated with neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, and other specialists who were clueless. Another red flag appeared – the days between my periods were steadily decreasing from 26 days to 20 over two years. I kept detailed charts and notes but saw my health slipping away.

I eventually ordered another MRI of the tailbone area, and the doctor noticed that my tailbone was angled inward. I promptly looked up a tailbone specialist in my area – Dr. Wooley in Irvine. He immediately started working on pulling my tailbone closer to normal. This internal procedure was uncomfortable but gave me hope and some relief. As a chiropractor, Dr. Wooley also recognized that my overall health needed work and started giving me supplements to boost my thyroid and immune system. He told me about the blood type diet which made perfect sense. The orthotics he gave me dramatically improved my knee pain which had started to bother me daily. A Sleep Number pillow also helped me sleep with fewer aches and nightmares. Most importantly, Dr. Wooley believed I could heal – this was something that changed everything.

The tailbone pain decreased no more than 50% with the adjustments and supplements, but I forged ahead. Another turn of events happened when I went to a local osteopath for my annual exam several months later. I gave the doctor an overview of my symptoms and she promptly tested me for delayed food allergies on the spot! I never would have guessed that this blood test for IgG allergies, through US Biotek, would probably save my life.

Within a few weeks I got the results which revealed severe allergies to wheat and gluten, eggs, and dairy. Another test determined I had celiac disease, as well as antibodies against my own thyroid. No more breads, pasta, eggs, cakes, cookies, or dairy! For a few weeks I REALLY struggled with the changes – after all, I was the ‘dessert queen.’ I had my entire family tested for delayed food allergies and discovered that we were ALL allergic to wheat, eggs, and dairy! This actually helped with making changes, as we all followed the same diet. Within a week on the diet, my husband stopped taking naps and lost several pounds right away. My two boys started focusing and getting good grades, and we all stopped catching colds! Wow!

Slowly, over 6 months, my tailbone pain went from a 7 to a 1. I soaked in Epsom Salt baths every other day, and continued with probiotics and fish oil supplements. My skin started glowing healthy, and my weight dropped fast. I lost 25 POUNDS in six months, though I was eating bigger portions! Within 6 months my period was back to the normal 26 days. No more bloating, gas, diarrhea, or depressing thoughts of death. Healing was slow, and it took a lot of patience. But what a reward!

Pain is an expression of inflammation in the body – a warning that there is a problem. Understanding this, I am grateful that the pain kept driving me to find a solution. The tailbone pain was the sign of a vicious cycle of autoimmune disturbance entangled in food allergies, fungal and bacterial overgrowth, thyroid/hormonal imbalances, and anxiety. WE MUST REDUCE INFLAMMATION by aggressively eliminating all triggers like allergies, alcohol, medication (NSAIDs actually disturb the immune system by increasing intestinal permeability), antibiotics (disrupt our gut by eliminating good bacteria), candida overgrowth (from starchy sugary foods), and stress. It appears that the wisdom tooth surgery sent my already sensitive body ‘over the edge’ trying to manage the drugs and infection, resulting in systemic inflammation that settled into the tissue near my improperly angled tailbone.

A year later, I took another allergy test and the antibody levels were all lower except for gluten and eggs. So we now live without eggs or gluten/wheat with the help of a local Whole Foods market and online resources. Pain has never returned in my back or tailbone region. Other minor aches are more apparent in my body after certain foods, and I need to take extra precautions during spring and fall seasons or different times of my menstrual cycle. My new energy goes toward studying health and building tools like the online health tracking web site at I am finishing up my education for a license in Holistic Health to help build awareness and understanding of the complexities of health.

-Shari Cheves

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