In November 2008, an average day of school for an average 16-year-old girl, until I fainted, apparently only for 10 seconds or so.
My mum took me to the closest hospital for a check-up- just in case. The doctor told us it was very common for a girl my age to have the ‘occasional faint’, so with the doctors’ approval, we thought nothing of it.
Until the next week, when I fainted again. Twice. Both lasting around the same time as before. The hospital ran scans and blood tests to see if there was any known cause, and again it was put down to being a 16-year-old girl with a possible drop in blood pressure. Over the course of weeks to months, the fainting had become more apparent, and lasted longer. One particular day I fainted 4 times, each lasting approximately 30-45 minutes that I was unconscious. It got to the point that I had to leave school, as I was not attending anyway.
My mother- who is my rock, and was my shining knight during this period- was determined to find out what was wrong. I went to a cardiologist in Wollongong, who referred us to a colleague in Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) hospital in Sydney.
After a small operation to see if it was my heart that was the issue, we were told that it was fine. We then saw a neurologist in RPA, and again, tests results showed everything was fine.
By this stage it had gotten much worse. I could hardly walk or sit upright for extended periods of time.. If we went to the shops, I would have to sit in a wheelchair. Even then, I would be lucky to last 20 minutes before falling unconscious for 30-45 minutes.
Eighteen months of this becoming progressively worse, the frustration of not knowing what was wrong was eating my family alive. We kept saying, ‘how do you heal something if you don’t know what it is?’
I remember my mother sitting me down and telling me that it is important for me to still find some sort of hobby, that keeping fit and strong is always great for the body, and it may help. I remember she made a joke, saying I should try Pilates, as it is mainly a floor exercise anyway- so if anything happened I would have no-where to fall! I quickly fell in love with it, constantly testing myself and loving that feeling when you succeed in a more challenging pose. After this, it was a domino effect. Pilates made me feel so good, I started looking into a healthier diet. I threw out the packaged food. I ate wholefoods; nuts, seeds, avocados, fruit, vegetables- anything colourful! Over time I felt amazing! I was still having episodes, but I just felt better. I felt as though my body was handling everything with just a little bit more ease.
It just made sense to me, that any disease, condition, or malfunction in your body is due to a lack of nutrients – as nutrients are key in the activation of ALL your bodily functions. So, why not have a diet that is high in these nutrients?
Gradually, as the years went on, the fainting became less frequent, and now, non-existent. I decided to go to University and study Nutrition to educate others the amazing benefits of using food as medicine!
We may never know exactly what it was that caused my body to go through this, but what I do know is that ‘health’ isn’t just defined by how well your body is working. Its also about emotional, mental and spiritual stability – and I wouldn’t have had that if it wasn’t for my family. All of these factors contribute to your wellbeing and it is so important to find a healthy balance between each of them. This is why I believe in treating individuals holistically, because I have learnt from experience that it is so important, and that it works.
Krystal Holt- Clinical Nutritionist
BHSc (Nutritional Medicine)