Transformation Tuesday: Tiffany G’s Story (have Kleenex nearby, you won’t believe how her life changed!)
I know that Chiropractic works. I know that Chiropractic allows the body to perform miracles. I know that I was chosen for Chiropractic.
But MAN, I had no idea what I would witness in my 9 short years of practice. From mamas getting pregnant naturally after years of in-vitro, to babies who don’t need tubes, to children able to be functional WITHOUT their medications, to women and moms who have gotten their lives back and grandpas who just want to play with their grandkids and go to their games and have done just that. All of these miracles are just that…miracles. And sometimes I see them every day that I forget how powerful they are to each person and their own families.
A few months ago, I KNEW this story was going to be an absolute miracle. I knew it. The patient didn’t. That patient’s name is Tiffany Goldstone and I remember the last words out of my mouth before adjusting her for the very first time was, “Just give me a slice of hope and promise me that you will trust that your body knows what to do.” With doubt in her eyes and her wheels spinning, she said, “Sure.” I just needed a tiny bit. That tiny bit grew adjustment by adjustment. After the first week, she wanted to get off her meds. And after 6 weeks, she was off all medication and starting to believe this could be her ‘new normal’. I saw it before my very eyes: she was starting to live and love again, starting to trust her body and people around her, she was starting to believe that she deserved more out of life. And the story keeps going…and continues to prove that Chiropractic allows people to live a healthier and happier life and that our bodies deserve to perform how God created them to be.
Read Tiffany’s story here:
I’ve always been a heavy sleeper, but six years ago (Fall of 2008), all of that got much, much worse. My appendix burst and I ended up in the hospital for a week. After that, nothing was the same. I started sleeping a lot. When I say a lot, I mean anywhere from 14-18 hrs, most days. I would set alarms and either shut them off in my sleep or just sleep through the continuous beeping. There were times when my fiancé would come home to the smoke alarm going off and me in a dead sleep. When I’d sleep like this, it wasn’t just any kind of sleep. I would feel like I was coming out of a coma every time I’d wake up. My brain would be thick and my head would be pounding. It was like I was drunk and hung over at the same time. I’d literally stumble out of bed and start crying because my head hurt so bad and I’d be in a complete state of confusion. I found out later that this is referred to as being “sleep drunk”.
During this time, I was living alone, but I’d have friends and family call to try and wake me up. So on days when I’d actually get up after 8-10hrs, instead 14-18hrs, my days would be spent thinking about sleeping. When can I fit in a nap (a nap would last anywhere from 2-6hrs) or when can I just go to bed for the day? After a couple months of sleeping my life away, I decided to bring it up to my psychiatrist. At the time, I was being treated for OCD, general anxiety, and panic disorder. My doctor immediately assessed me for depression (which I was not suffering from, at the time), and then sent me into the clinic to have a series of tests done to see if there was any physical reason I’d be sleeping this much. All my tests came back completely normal. My psychiatrist suspected, from the beginning, that I was suffering from narcolepsy, so once she ruled out any physical ailments, she sent me to a sleep center for further testing.
The results from the sleep center confirmed my doctor’s suspicions. The diagnosis was narcolepsy without cataplexy; more specifically idiopathic hypersomnia. I was told this was a disorder where they only knew enough about it to treat the symptoms, not the root problem. I was told it’s a central nervous system disorder. My brain was constantly giving my body the wrong messages, like to continuously sleep even when my body didn’t need it. I was prescribed amphetamines to take three times a day to keep me awake. The meds didn’t really work as well as my doctor had hoped, but I was told this was the only course of treatment for this disorder. Even though my body was jacked up on speed all day, I still spent my days thinking about sleeping. I was still able to take long naps at the drop of a hat. I’d still have days where I couldn’t wake up and would sleep the whole day away. My driving became restricted to 20min at a time because I was unable to stay awake in the car any longer than that. I’d go to bed at 8:30pm every night and fight my way out of a coma every morning.
The amphetamines came along with their own side effects and symptoms which was to be expected, but I had no idea the extent of it. I’d spend my days with my heart racing and my teeth grinding/clenching. The noise of my teeth grinding while I slept was enough to wake my fiancé up at night. I developed a habit of chewing gum all day, every day to try keep from deteriorating my teeth. My blood pressure was dangerously high every day. My OCD (something that I actually had a handle on before the narcolepsy) started to spiral out of control. I’d spend hours every night in front of a mirror, physically picking at my own face because the compulsion was the only thing that would help reduce my anxiety. I felt it was the only thing I actually had control over. I was already predisposed to anxiety and the amphetamines took that to a whole new level of misery. If I was to rate my anxiety on a scale from 1-10; I was easily at a 25. I was starting to loose my sanity, so my doctor proceeded to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.
I spent year’s just living day to day because of the symptoms and side effects of the disorder and meds, until a couple years ago when things went from bad to worse. I developed another central nervous system disorder called cyclical vomiting syndrome. In a nut shell, I would vomit and/or feel like I was about to vomit every 2-3 hours all day, every day. I’d wake up out of my “coma-like” sleep to throw up, and once I’d start I couldn’t stop. I ended up losing 25lbs and was only eating cereal every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner because that’s all my brain/body would allow. Everything else would just make me sicker or the thought alone of eating it would make me sick. I was put on another medication to suppress these vomiting urges. The medication served its purpose, but it brought along its own side effects, which included Parkinson’s disease like symptoms that could end up being irreversible. Every time I yawned my arm would start shaking out of control or I’d just be sitting at my desk and my leg would start bouncing, and I wouldn’t be able to stop it. I was terrified that I was losing control of my own body.
At this point, I’d acquired a handful of specialists, and they all told me this was the only treatment plan for me, there were no other drugs to try and I should be happy that I was still a functioning adult. I was only in my twenties and I was being told that I needed to consider going on disability. I was told that I would never be able to be pregnant because of the volatile cocktail of drugs that I took everyday. I’d accepted that this was going to be my life, and this was it.
Just this last year, I had begun going to a new yoga class. A gal from work had suggested it because I was complaining about how the class I was going to was only being offered at an inconvenient time for me. The new class was being offered over at Healing Touch Chiropractic, and I ended up being a regular. After frequently the class quite a bit, the instructor, Michelle Ihry, asked if I’d be interested in being an instructor too. I told her that I like the idea of it, but my health was poor and I didn’t want to commit to something that I wouldn’t be able to follow through with. The conversation continued on with me explaining about my medical conditions and ended with Michelle taking my information to give to her daughter, Dr. Tiffany, whose chiropractic facility we were actually using for yoga class. Dr. Tiffany ended up getting in touch with me, and convinced me to make an appointment to meet with her.
I was very leery making the appointment for many reasons. First, I couldn’t comprehend how a chiropractor was going to do anything to help the medical conditions I was dealing with. I’d always been under the impression that chiropractors only treated things associated with pain in the neck and back. My next worry was that if I agreed to let Dr. Tiffany treat me, she might push me to get off my meds. I certainly didn’t like being on meds, but I also knew that without them I’d be sleeping and vomiting all the time, so at that point I wasn’t even willing to even entertain idea. I had zero desire to become some doctor’s “experiment”. I’d already invested a lot of time, money, and heartache to get me to the “acceptable” point I was currently at and I wasn’t really interested in some holistic doctor “rocking my boat”, so to say. But Dr. Tiffany was very persistent with me, and I figured that the least I could do was hear her out, so I made the appointment.
That first appointment with Dr. Tiffany was a real eye opener for me. I already knew that the disorders that I was suffering from were affecting my central nervous system, but Dr. Tiffany explained to me very simply that my body was like a house with lights in every room, and some of my lights (nerves) were on, some were off, and some were flickering. This was why my body was constantly getting the wrong messages from my brain (sleep all the time, vomit all the time, etc) because those lights (nerves) weren’t firing properly. She said that she believed with all her heart that she could treat me and get all those lights turned on, so that all my messages were being sent correctly, therefore, clearing up my issues. This all sounded good, but it seemed too simple to me. I didn’t understand why my specialists wouldn’t have suggested such a thing a long time ago if this was the case. But again, Dr. Tiffany was very adamant about what she believed in, and seemed confident in the fact that she could help me, ultimately making my future seem like it could be a lot brighter. I am young and my future looked pretty bleak, so I took a leap of faith and agreed to let her treat me. She was very excited, which made me excited. My other doctor’s had seemed to have given up on me and Dr. Tiffany had given me hope that things could actually be different.
Dr. Tiffany told me that we were going to go “gang busters” in the beginning to get things rolling. She wanted to see me twice a day, 4-5 days a week, to be adjusted, and we’d taper off as things began to change. When she told me this, it seemed like a lot to me, but as things progressed, I could tell that it was pertinent that I see her that much because there were so many changes in the beginning. She also assured me that she would not be pushing me to get off my meds, but more so, I’d feel like I didn’t need to take my meds as much, and would feel the need to back off on my own. And with that, we started.
My first adjustment will always be memorable. Dr. Tiffany adjusted me with an integrator (thumper), behind my right ear. That was very little torque or pressure (she showed me by testing it on my hand, but it honestly felt like someone shot me in the neck with a rubber bullet. This was a huge shock to my system. This first time was the only time that it felt like this, but it certainly caught me off guard. I left her office feeling a little like I’d had a glass of whine. My feet, which have always been ICE cold my whole life, were HOT. Also, on the drive home, a country song started playing that I’ve heard a million times, but never really listened to. I found great humor in how cheesy the actual words were, so much so, that I started laughing hysterically the whole way home. It had been years since I’d laughed like that. These weren’t things that I was expecting to come from my adjustment, but at the same time I was pleasantly surprised.
A week into my treatment I found myself forgetting to take my evening dose of amphetamines, which was basically unheard of for me because I’d always needed that dose to stay awake until bed. But here I was, staying awake until bed without my meds! I was even more active than usual. Normally, on weeknights, I was too burnt out to do anything, but eat, shower, and go to bed; no socializing of any kind with anyone, including my fiancé (Steve). So after forgetting to take my evening meds a few different times, and being more awake, alert, mobile, happy, and social; I started to not take them on purpose. Thus began the beginning of the end of my meds.
After that first week, my Mom, Dad, and Steve all mentioned that they’d noticed a huge change in my demeanor; all for the better. They all felt the need to tell me this, without me even asking if they’d noticed a difference or not. They were all saying things like, I was acting more like my “old self”; the Tiffany before the narcolepsy. I’d leave Dr. Tiffany’s office with this strange feeling of euphoria that would last for like an hour. After that feeling would wear off, I’d feel connected, almost serene. It was such a strange feeling because I hadn’t realized how detached I’d become! Along with feeling more alert in the evenings, my anxiety seemed to have been knocked down a couple notches. My stomach started to cycle more like every 4hrs, instead of every 2hrs. I even felt like my eyes were open wider than usual. Things were really changing, and I was really starting to like it!
After four weeks of treatment, I started noticing that things I usually found irritating or annoying were becoming less so. My time, at work, seemed to be passing faster than I was used to because normally, I’d notice every minute that went by. And in the morning, when I’d wake up, it didn’t feel like I was coming out of a fog or a coma, anymore. It was starting to feel more natural. Going into this fourth week of treatment, I started forgetting to take my afternoon meds. Again, this was pretty much unheard of for me because I hadn’t been able to stay awake without taking my afternoon meds. But again, here I was, transitioning without any real issue. I felt like I was replacing my meds with daily adjustments. I could definitely tell a difference in the way I would feel on the weekends (when I wouldn’t get adjusted on Fri, Sat, Sun), when compared to how good I’d feel on the days when I was getting adjusted twice/day. Such a strange feeling!
The next four weeks were a whirlwind. Every day, things got a little bit better. I started to cut my morning and afternoon meds in half, and would still occasionally forget to take my afternoon meds altogether, without ending up too crazy tired, in the evenings. I’d backed off on my anxiety meds; no longer feeling highly anxious at the end of a work day, like I’d been feeling for so long. I could actually come home, relax and actually enjoy myself or even get a few things done around the house. I was starting to remember what it was like to be me again. The wheels in my brain started working again. I was smiling more, and laughing WAY more!
In my third month of treatment, my stomach quit cycling! Halleluiah! No more feeling like I needed to vomit every few hours, and no more meds with terrible side effects! This in and of itself was a miracle for me. That cycling feeling was THE worst and now it was none existent. Even now, when I think back at how sick I was, I’m just blown away by the fact that it is not even an issue anymore. CRAZY. Also, at this point in treatment, I was able to start doing things I hadn’t been able to do in a long time, like drive for more than twenty minutes at a time, without falling asleep. My parents currently live a little over 2hrs away and I was able to drive back and forth from their place without falling asleep! It was such a freeing feeling! I’d gotten so used of depending on others for my travel needs, and now I didn’t have to worry about it! And most importantly, during this third month, I’d completely weaned myself off of all my meds! Also a freeing feeling! Looking back I can’t believe how fast it all happened, and with very few bumps along the way.
My fourth month of treatment has been adjusting to life, without meds. I’m just trying to get used to this “new” normal. My brain is searching for a balance from being on so many meds to no meds. And for the most part, I feel great! My sleeping is completely under control. I’m not sleeping away whole days. I’m getting up for work on time, and I’m not taking naps in my free time. But I’m still me. I’m still a heavy sleeper compared to others. I fall asleep, no problem, at a decent time every night, and wake up wishing I had ten more minutes every morning. Haha. But I don’t have to struggle through that coma/fog to get out of bed. I still sleep-in, on the weekends, but only until like 10am, instead of 5 or 6pm. I still get anxious, depending on the situation, but I’m no longer anxious all day every day. Steve (my fiancé) even told me that I’m back to being the woman he fell in love with. I’ve gotten my life back!
Through the first month of my chiropractic treatment, I didn’t share with my psychiatrist that I was seeing Dr. Tiffany because I was still unsure of what to expect. I’d been seeing this doctor on a monthly basis for years, so that she could monitor my health due to the type of meds she was treating me with. According to her, I was suffering from conditions that could only be managed with meds, and there were no other treatments out there for me. As things started to spiral out of control, her suggestion was that I consider going on disability because the likelihood that things would get better, instead of worse, was slim to none. So in my second month of chiro treatment, after experiencing some major improvements in my conditions, I decided it was time to share this news with my psychiatrist. I felt that I had made some real progress, and my hopes were that she would be happy for me, and interested in how this process worked. I mean, she’s a doctor, right? Wouldn’t she want to know about this?
I began telling her about what Dr. Tiffany was doing for me and she just started shaking her head before I’d even finished talking. I was taken aback because she wasn’t listening and I was sharing something life changing with her. I explained to her how Dr. Tiffany was actually making adjustments to my nerves, so they would fire properly (sending the correct messages to my body). I thought my doctor would find this very intriguing, especially considering she was the one who originally told me that my disorders were directly related to my central nervous system continuously sending my body the wrong messages. I told her how my health had improved and I’d been able to back off on all my meds. She told me that she knew all about how chiropractors worked and that there was no science behind it. She said that I was wasting my time and I was experiencing a placebo effect that would soon wear off, and I’d be back to where I started.
This reaction angered me on a couple different levels. First, if she knew that chiropractors worked with CNS issues, why would she not have told me that when she determined I was dealing with CNS disorders. I understand it might not be her “cup of tea”, but she should have given me the option to explore it, instead of essentially keeping that information from me. The only option she ever gave me was to throw meds at my problems. I honestly believe she wanted to help me, but by not giving me all the options, I don’t feel I was getting the best care possible. I felt somewhat betrayed. Secondly, I was frustrated because she kept repeating that there was no science behind chiropractics, even after I explained the x-rays and nerve scans Dr. Tiffany had done on me, explaining the problems I was having. The biggest thing was that I couldn’t deny the FACT that what Dr. Tiffany was doing for me was working! I also knew that I wasn’t experiencing a placebo effect because I didn’t go into chiro treatment thinking it was the answer. I was very skeptical and could not in a million years have anticipated the many changes my body had gone through in those last two months! As my doctor, I needed her to be happy for me, interested in how my chiro treatment worked, and maybe even done some research of her own to understand it. I needed her to work with me and Dr. Tiffany, not be negative and try to talk me out of something that was so obviously helping me.
I saw my psychiatrist one more time after my third month of chiro treatment. I was off all of my meds, and told her about it. I explained that I was functioning like a “normal” person; no meds, no issues. I wanted her to understand that chiropractic treatment was actually a viable way to treat CNS disorders. I was the proof. I was the science she needed. She was not fazed by anything I told her. She didn’t want to hear about it. She didn’t care that it was working. Ultimately, I explained that because I no longer needed the meds, I no longer needed to see her. I needed to focus on what Dr. Tiffany and I were doing because that’s what was currently best for me. She wished me luck and told me that she would be there when I needed her, and that was that. In the end, I was super disappointed that, as a doctor, she was so closed off to the idea of chiropractic treatment. I know I can’t change everybody’s minds, but I had to try.
I want to cry tears of joy when I look back at how my life has changed over the last few months! I am off all medications. I am teaching yoga. I wake up before my alarm clock goes off, and rarely take naps. I can do simple things again, like drive at night. I can work all day without taking naps or breaks due to a cycling stomach. My brain is functioning again because all my lights have been turned on, allowing me to really experience the amazing relationships I have with my fiancé, parents, family, and friends. I’m getting my life back, and I’m really excited to see what unfolds over the next year!
Experience chiropractic for yourself and your family.
Update: Tiffany sent us this update.
I was just reading some things on this website and they mentioned how chiropractic can help allergies and it reminded me of something that I’ve been meaning to tell you, but keep forgetting. For roughly the last 15yrs (maybe longer), I’ve suffered from killer seasonal allergies (spring and fall). Just insanely itchy eyes and nose to the point I want to scratch my face off.. and guess what? This spring, I’ve had no issues with my allergies! Absolutely amazing! I’ve been so focused on everything else that we’ve worked on that I forgot about the crazy allergies and how I haven’t even had to deal with them this Spring!