So after a bit of an exploration of my status as a hypothyroid individual, I want to turn the attention back to MTHFR because this is the condition that has prompted me to make most of the lifestyle changes that I’ll be documenting on this blog. I should start off by saying that I have yet to find a doctor to treat me for MTHFR. After my current primary care physician wouldn’t test me for the mutations, I went off on my own and consulted Dr. Ben Lynch’s wonderful resource, MTHFR.Net. After testing positive for compound heterozygous MTHFR, I have only the internet to turn to until I can find a doctor who acknowledges this condition to be problematic. I have one candidate lined up for the end of August, which is the earliest I could get an appointment, so until then I am on my own. I am also looking into a local clinic that specializes in DNA and cellular assessment to get more information on my MTHFR. I will report back as I go with the outcomes of all of my visits to health professionals.
What prompts someone to find out they have a genetic mutation and embark on a complete and total lifestyle overhaul? I wonder as I write these first posts whether I will get readers who think I’m a crazy hypochondriac who is taking things way too far. Not that I’ve ever cared about what people think, but I look forward to meeting others who have encountered this disorder in their own lives and decided to make drastic changes. By now we’ve all heard about Angelina Jolie and her BRCA mutation. I have not been tested for this gene but both my mother and maternal grandmother have been affected by breast cancer in their lives. And MTHFR is possibly related to increased cancer risk if not properly treated.
But cancer isn’t the only thing to worry about. MTHFR, if not addressed, can lead to many serious health problems. And as I have mentioned before, I would like to become pregnant in the near future. The number of potential pregnancy complications for women with MTHFR is staggering. I hope to prevent as many of these as possible by being properly treated and monitored and also to prevent any birth defects or adverse conditions in any future children I have.
There is also increasing evidence that MTHFR mutations can play a direct role in the development of autism in young children. Interestingly enough, I was already prepared to deal with my MTHFR mutations before I even found out I had them. Autism spectrum disorders have been on my radar for awhile. I already had my big toe in the pool of organic and holistic living from six months before we even started trying for a baby. I was vigilant against genetically modified organisms and chemical exposure. I refused to eat meat that had been treated with hormones or antibiotics or fish high in mercury. I shunned fluoride, antibiotics, fabric softener, sugar, processed food, high fructose corn syrup and excessive cell phone use. This is all before I even knew that I was one of the people at risk of having an autistic child. All I knew of were the terrifying statistics – that one in 88 children are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.
So for me, there is no halfway or playing games with this genetic affliction. Some people may choose a more moderate approach. I don’t judge anyone or tell anyone what to do with their lives. The only person I can make decisions for is myself. And for me, a complete change in lifestyle is now required. I can’t tell you how many people, in two short weeks since I’ve known that I’m compound heterozygous, have waved their hands at me in dismissal and told me not to worry about it. I guess I should be comforted by the fact that possibly 30-50 per cent of the population has at least a heterozygous mutation of one of the genes in question? That, along with our increasingly toxic environment, may explain the increasing number of autism cases. But MTHFR being widespread does not give me pause. I think there is a lot to be said for a healthy lifestyle. It’s a choice I’ve made so that I can feel at peace with whatever happens in the future with my health or the health of my family.
These are, of course, just my first steps at this stage. I am completely new to all of this, including clean living. If you caught me a couple of months ago you would have found me eating fried chicken and biscuits chased with a couple of beers. Not every day, mind you, but often enough to disqualify me from being able to speak at all about being “health-conscious.” And this is about the time I should add the requisite disclaimers that I am not a doctor or any kind of licensed medical scholar or practitioner. Nothing that I write about on this site should be taken as advice or directive – it is simply my personal diary about what I’m doing to live a healthier life because of my MTHFR and hypothyroidism. And believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. In the next post, I’ll tell you a little bit about what I’m doing so far and my goals for the future.