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post #621 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by moneca View Post
Found these comments by Cutler on ttc and thought it was odd that he would say leaving them alone was best?

Best, don't touch the fillings now.

Second best, 18+ months detox after filling removal before trying to
get pregnant.

Worst, drill now and get pregnant within the next year.

http://onibasu.com/archives/am/112018.html
I've been thinking about this and wondering if Cutler gets more specific anywhere about pregnancy after amalgam removal?

What he says above doesn't really make sense to me. Wouldn't the BEST be to remove the fillings and then wait 2 or 3 years to conceive?

How could it be better to leave my 9 huge amalgam fillings in my mouth and conceive and breastfeed my child than to remove the fillings and chelate for 2 years??? I thought the whole point of chelation is that you have less mercury in your body after doing it?

This is a really pressing issue for me because I'm getting older, and I really want to get pregnant some day, and I'm running out of time. Is it better to be pregnant as an "old" lady (40) after having chelated for 2 years, or is it better to be pregnant in my mid-thirties with 9 large mercury fillings in my head?

Anyone who can help me with this, I will be eternally grateful...
post #622 of 850
Just saw the several new posts, will be back later today to share my thoughts...
post #623 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
I've been thinking about this and wondering if Cutler gets more specific anywhere about pregnancy after amalgam removal?

What he says above doesn't really make sense to me. Wouldn't the BEST be to remove the fillings and then wait 2 or 3 years to conceive?
I remember that particular post. The woman was basically saying that she was close to 40 and *would not wait* so what's the best thing to do. Andy basically says get it out, chelate and then try in 2-3 years, but if you won't wait and want to get pregnant in a set time period, then it's better to not touch them at all than to remove and not chelate or remove and only chelate a little before getting pregnant. This particular woman made it clear that waiting was not an option, so that's why he gave the particular advice that he did. He highly recommends if you suspect mercury issues, you deal with it immediately and put all child-bearing on hold until you're done.
post #624 of 850
I had 8 amalgams ever since I was a little kid, and then I got all my amalgams taken out and replaced by a holistic dentist (who is since out of practice) in late 2004. I figured that my body would naturally let go of the mercury, and the dentist never suggested doing any chelation. I took one packet of chlorella, just a couple tablets at a time, and I thought that would be enough. But here we are today, and I went to my new holistic dentist because I want to get my cavitations taken care of. However, this dentist is much more like shall I say a naturopathic doctor (?) and he did some of this testing on me (www.drerwin.com is his web site and you can see the machinery that he uses) and apparently the mercury in me is a bigger issue that needs to be taken care of first because my body is holding on the mercury he said. So, he put me on megadoses of Chlorella (Chlorenergy brand), which I'm taking 15 tablets of chlorella with every meal and I'm eating lots of fat and protein (since I do a Traditional Foods diet anyways) because the mercury is supposed to bind to the fats and protein. I've been doing this for a month now and I went and saw my dentist yesterday and he did some more tests and he says that I am showing some improvement. Then he gave me some grape seed extract (for free, what a nice guy) and said that should help me even more, and to take it with each meal. I also had a full Cavitat scan of my whole mouth (I have 6 extraction sites which would be the possible locations of cavitations) and one extraction site is showing up as majorly infected/inflamed, and 2 others slightly, but not really anything to worry about he said. In a couple of weeks, I'm due to meet with him again and he'll reveal his plan for me about what we're going to do with the cavitation(s).

Does that all sound like a good plan so far with what I'm doing with the chlorella, grape seed extract and everything else?
post #625 of 850
Therese, I'm not sure anyone on the thread has experience with that type of approach to getting rid of mercury. I mostly follow the approach outlined by Andy Cutler, he wrote a book called Amalgam Illness. I use alpha lipoic acid and DMSA (I always forget what it stands for) to get the mercury out, I feel they are very well understood and very reliable. I guess I don't feel the same about chlorella. Groups like frequent-dose-chelation (a yahoo group) will have examples of people who have had very bad reactions to chlorella. There's another yahoo group, adult metal chelation I think is the name, that would probably have more experience with the product you mentioned and with chlorella in general. And I don't know what grape seed extract does at all.

I'm not sure on the fat-binding-to-mercury thing. I've read it before, but it seems like the point of that is to reduce the mercury circulating (and thus make you feel better) by sequestering it in your body fat, but I know I want the mercury out, especially since I am hoping someday to TTC again. I wouldn't ever tell someone to eat less fat than they feel they need, I've certainly gone through phases when I needed what seemed like shocking amounts in order to feel good, but I'm not clear on the purpose/outcome as recommended by your dentist.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
post #626 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
Hello, wise chelating mamas!

I haven't stopped by to visit this thread in quite a while. I hope all your chelating journeys are going well?


So, I've been agonizing over my 9 mercury amalgams for about a year now. Every time I start to think about them again, I get so depressed and worried that I can't sleep or function.

I officially tested NOT mercury toxic according to Cutler's counting rules, but I have so many of the symptoms of mercury poisoning. And I feel like the illnesses that mercury might be causing me are seriously compromising the quality of my life.

I'm absolutely terrified of the prospect of having my amalgams removed, but I don't know if I can stand having them in my mouth anymore...
Your hair test had really high silver, didn't it? Have you done anything about that? That seems like the first thing to address, maybe it's your only problem. But if not, peeling back that layer may allow you to see something else underneath more clearly.

Whatever the source of your health concerns, I'd try to get to the root of them now. I mean--add in the stress of parenting, plus the nutritional demands of growing and nursing said child, and that's not going to make your health any better. I'm not saying put it on hold forever, but the more things you can rule in or rule out as being related, the closer you'll be to healing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
Perhaps some dumb questions...

Is everybody still ordering their hair tests from directlabs.com?

Is it OK to give directlabs a fake name and fake birth date?

What does this statement from their website mean: "Please confirm you have verified a lab near you for this set of tests." ?
I ordered from Direct Lab Services last year for my daughter's hair test. I should've called (I ordered online) and told them I was a member of the autism-mercury yahoo group since there is a bit of a discount that way.

I don't know any reason to give a fake name, and the birthdate is somewhat important, their norms are age and gender specific, so you want those to be correct. That line about a lab nearby is if you're doing some other type of test (I think it's included for everyone's order), so if you need to submit a urine sample or do a blood draw, you need to be able to get to a location they can do that. It's not applicable for this, they'll just mail you what you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
I've been thinking about this and wondering if Cutler gets more specific anywhere about pregnancy after amalgam removal?

What he says above doesn't really make sense to me. Wouldn't the BEST be to remove the fillings and then wait 2 or 3 years to conceive?

How could it be better to leave my 9 huge amalgam fillings in my mouth and conceive and breastfeed my child than to remove the fillings and chelate for 2 years??? I thought the whole point of chelation is that you have less mercury in your body after doing it?

This is a really pressing issue for me because I'm getting older, and I really want to get pregnant some day, and I'm running out of time. Is it better to be pregnant as an "old" lady (40) after having chelated for 2 years, or is it better to be pregnant in my mid-thirties with 9 large mercury fillings in my head?

Anyone who can help me with this, I will be eternally grateful...
If you really think the amalgams are related to your health issues, then you can either get them out and chelate until the metals are gone, or you can prop up your health as best as possible and realize you will likely need to chelate your child.

That sounds blunt, I guess because it is. I'm coming from the perspective of chelating 2 kids, and likely my younger will be 4yo before (I hope) I am healthy enough to consider TTC again. Pregnancy and nursing are very nutritionally draining, and so that would leave you in a worse place nutritionally, which leads to sub-optimal parenting, and possibly with a kid with health issues. It's not the easiest roe to hoe, yk?

You mentioned above that you were scared to get your amalgams replaced. Can I ask why? I mean--I don't mean to imply that this is all easy, or that there's nothing daunting or that unexpected things won't come up, I was just wondering what, specifically, is concerning you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krankedyann View Post
I remember that particular post. The woman was basically saying that she was close to 40 and *would not wait* so what's the best thing to do. Andy basically says get it out, chelate and then try in 2-3 years, but if you won't wait and want to get pregnant in a set time period, then it's better to not touch them at all than to remove and not chelate or remove and only chelate a little before getting pregnant. This particular woman made it clear that waiting was not an option, so that's why he gave the particular advice that he did. He highly recommends if you suspect mercury issues, you deal with it immediately and put all child-bearing on hold until you're done.
Interesting, I never looked up the context for that answer!
post #627 of 850
Quick update on us. It's been 1yr and 2 weeks (approximately ) since I got my fillings out. Did 3-4 months with just DMSA, then added in ALA, but not as regular as it could've been. Still, these past few rounds with ALA have actually been quite easy. I'm working with a HCP, some of the stuff that's worked for me I've discussed earlier in this thread. I'm still at 50mg of ALA per dose, at this point it's an easy dose for me, so I'm starting to add in other things along with it.

Since starting the ALA, my gut has gotten yeasty and generally out of balance (and I've gained 15 lbs so during one of these rounds I added in biotin and I took some oil of oregano periodically. I think it helped a bit, and I've stayed on the biotin since. Just got a new batch of kimchee made (we run out quickly, and since I still have some fatigue issues, it doesn't always get re-made in a timely fashion) so I think that will help a bit too.

Also, on my HCP's rec, added in a detox product from Perque. I added it in specifically (and only) while I'm doing a round of ALA, so that the ALA available can help carry away the metals this stuff mobilized. Wow, the first round caused massive gut weirdness, I assume yeast due to mobilizing a huge amount of metals, and I stopped in a day and a half. Never had an experience like that before, my vitC need while on-round skyrocketed, I'm not even sure how high it got, I never hit bowel tolerance. But the next round, taking less (1/2 tabs of this stuff, plus the 50mg of ALA every 3 hours), was a lot more manageable. The idea is to take small doses of this detox product only while I'm on a round of ALA to help with excretion, so I don't have a lot of stuff mobilized without capacity to excrete. I'll do this for a few months and see how it goes.

My son--just recently decided that he needed help getting caught up with what's mobilized, so I did the first round of DMSA with him. The plan is to do a few months' worth, and while we do that, we should see his vitC need come down (it's been high since last fall). The first round went quite smoothly, really no problems. Maybe some extra peeing accidents, but he's just barely out of diapers, and I'm not sure my husband was taking him to the bathroom frequently enough (I think he's too used to a 5yo who tells him when she has to go, and gives him plenty of time to find a bathroom at the mall). So, I'd never figured we'd have a need for DMSA for the kids, but I think it's the right approach. My daughter's vitC need seems to be coming down, so I think in a month or two, I'll be able to re-start chelating with her, probably with ALA.
post #628 of 850
Where's the little ninja smilie for sneaking in?
Just coming to stalk Tanya, lurk and learn.
post #629 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
Therese, I'm not sure anyone on the thread has experience with that type of approach to getting rid of mercury. I mostly follow the approach outlined by Andy Cutler, he wrote a book called Amalgam Illness. I use alpha lipoic acid and DMSA (I always forget what it stands for) to get the mercury out, I feel they are very well understood and very reliable. I guess I don't feel the same about chlorella. Groups like frequent-dose-chelation (a yahoo group) will have examples of people who have had very bad reactions to chlorella. There's another yahoo group, adult metal chelation I think is the name, that would probably have more experience with the product you mentioned and with chlorella in general. And I don't know what grape seed extract does at all.

I'm not sure on the fat-binding-to-mercury thing. I've read it before, but it seems like the point of that is to reduce the mercury circulating (and thus make you feel better) by sequestering it in your body fat, but I know I want the mercury out, especially since I am hoping someday to TTC again. I wouldn't ever tell someone to eat less fat than they feel they need, I've certainly gone through phases when I needed what seemed like shocking amounts in order to feel good, but I'm not clear on the purpose/outcome as recommended by your dentist.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Thanks. I finally got the chance today to put in a few hours of research into the bad side of chlorella for chelation, reading through threads here on MDC, the yahoo groups and a few web sites. I decided to stop the chlorella. I just told my husband and he exclaimed "But that was so expensive!" and I said I know, but I researched today and determined that I need to. This basically sums up my conclusion:

"CHLORELLA - is not a chelator as it contains only one thiol group (sulfhydryl groups). It can pick up mercury and move it around, but it does not strictly chelate it and hold onto it. This can cause a lot of oxidative damage as mercury 'bounces around'. Chelators are dithiols (they contain two sulfhydryl groups) and hold on to mercury tightly and safely. Beware of protocols using chlorella for chelation." (from http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/heali...helation1.html)

I know that other people experienced horrible symptoms when taking chlorella but for me I didn't notice anything aside from getting green stools that were noticeably firmer and would come out in pellets (very unusual stools, but I figured that was part of the mercury coming out). I don't have any apparent health problems either, aside from I used to have acne for most of my life, but I cured it 100% a few years ago through liver/gallbladder flushing, and I guess the only other thing out of the ordinary I have going on is body odor (its pretty bad without deodorant). For my daughter on the other hand, she had mild eczema ever since she was a newborn and then it pretty much all vanished by the time she was 9 months old. I think its possible that her eczema has been caused by the mercury in my breast milk. I don't think I have leaky gut (other possible cause for eczema) because I don't have any of the symptoms, and both her and I have been eating everything in the Traditional Foods diet (except for eggs and chicken) since she was 9 months old. When I added raw milk back into my diet, her eczema vanished. Anyway, so yesterday she started getting eczema on several spots on her cheeks, which she hasn't had since she was 8 months old. So I think I'm going to blame it on the mobilized mercury ending up in my breast milk...
post #630 of 850
what kind of testing did your current dentist do? i assume the 1st holistic dr used proper protocol when removing the amalgams, but want to know for sure if he did? did he take all 8 out at the same time?
post #631 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by eireann View Post
what kind of testing did your current dentist do? i assume the 1st holistic dr used proper protocol when removing the amalgams, but want to know for sure if he did? did he take all 8 out at the same time?
My current dentist used his EAV machine. Here is a bit about it from his web site (www.drerwin.com):

"EAV is a diagnostic tool for evaluating how energy is moving – or not moving – along your body’s meridians, based upon the traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture. It gives us another way of seeing the relationships between dental conditions and systemic effects – that is, how your oral conditions are affecting the health of the rest of your body. EAV is also useful for limited testing of dental restorative materials for biocompatibility."

And he also did muscle testing. I sent my hair sample in to get tested through Doctor's Data, so we should get the results on that soon. I think I should do my daughter's hair next. I really came to him to get my cavitations taken care of---not address my mercury, so with him bringing up mercury being my big issues, I really hope he's honest and not scamming me (I'm trusting that he's honest).

My old holistic dentist who removed my amalgams, was according to Dr. Huggins' office, 1 of only 2 dentists in the entire state of California who was certified under the Huggins' Amalgam removal protocol, so I'm sure hoping it was done right. They used masks, put a rubber dam on me, cold water, I had goggles on, etc....She said we could only take out half at a time, so I had 4 removed one week and then the following week (or maybe it was the week after) the other 4.

After removing them, she never told me to do any type of chelation. She said my body should release the mercury on its own. But, if I had done chelation on my own back then, I would have also done it with the chlorella, because that's all I've ever known about. Cutler's protocol is all new to me.
post #632 of 850
i sent for a hair test, but then learned that if i had any color done to my hair, i needed to wait a minimum of 60 days, 90 days being ideal. well, i had my hair colored only about 35 days ago so i am now waiting. in the meantime, i might test DD. interested in learning your results, and how this Dr is. i live in So Cal and would love a reference to a good, protocol Dr.
post #633 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by eireann View Post
i sent for a hair test, but then learned that if i had any color done to my hair, i needed to wait a minimum of 60 days, 90 days being ideal. well, i had my hair colored only about 35 days ago so i am now waiting. in the meantime, i might test DD. interested in learning your results, and how this Dr is. i live in So Cal and would love a reference to a good, protocol Dr.
Yeah, I'll post my results when I get them. I have an appointment next week, so hopefully they'll be in by then. I think that my dentist now Dr. Erwin is good, if you haven't already checked out his web site, its www.drerwin.com. My old dentist was also good, Lucy Piconne, but she shut down her business so thats why I had to switch. But, I recently emailed Dr. Huggins' office to see who they are now recommending since Piconne is no longer in business, and they sent me this list of holistic dentists in California (I'm glad they added several dentists since the last time I checked with them 5 years ago):

Dr. David Villarreal (818) 716-6722 6325 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Ste. 311, Woodland Hills (N.W. San Fernando Valley), CA 91367

Dr. P. Vernon Erwin (818) 246-1748 620 E. Glenoaks Blvd, Glendale (S.E. San Fernando Valley), CA 91207 www.drerwin.com

Dr. Wayne Wu (949) 788-0088 8689 Irvine center Drive, Irvine, CA 92618 www.spectrumdentalgroup.com

Dr. Alex Pana 949-680-1884 6 Hughes #120, Irvine, CA 92618

Dr. Alex Pana 949-680-1884 2080 Century Park #1103, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Dr. Robert Garabedian (559) 229-6553 1616 West Shaw, Suite C-2, Fresno, CA 93711 www.rlgarabediandds.com

Dr. David Partrite & Dr. Kirk Youngman (925) 837-3101 520 La Gonda Way, Suite103, Danville (San Francisco - East Bay Area), CA 94526 www.neweradentistry.com

Dr. Andrew Zakarian (619) 296-6899 3501 Fourth Avenue, San Diego CA 92103 www.naturaldentalarts.com


Dr. Villarreal was the other dentist in California on the list when I first checked with them in 2004 in addition to Piconne.
post #634 of 850
Thanks for all the info!
post #635 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by krankedyann View Post
I remember that particular post. The woman was basically saying that she was close to 40 and *would not wait* so what's the best thing to do. Andy basically says get it out, chelate and then try in 2-3 years, but if you won't wait and want to get pregnant in a set time period, then it's better to not touch them at all than to remove and not chelate or remove and only chelate a little before getting pregnant. This particular woman made it clear that waiting was not an option, so that's why he gave the particular advice that he did. He highly recommends if you suspect mercury issues, you deal with it immediately and put all child-bearing on hold until you're done.
Ah! That makes so much more sense! Thank you, krankedyann!
post #636 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
Your hair test had really high silver, didn't it? Have you done anything about that?
Yes, I have high silver, but, no, I haven't addressed the silver yet. : I've been dealing with major fatigue, depression, and other health issues, which I am realizing are probably due to the mercury.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
Whatever the source of your health concerns, I'd try to get to the root of them now. I mean--add in the stress of parenting, plus the nutritional demands of growing and nursing said child, and that's not going to make your health any better.
I hear ya! I am definitely going to address the mercury--and silver--and who-knows-what-else--before TTC. I'm just too ill now to TTC. I'm sad about waiting, but it can't be avoided.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
You mentioned above that you were scared to get your amalgams replaced. Can I ask why? I mean--I don't mean to imply that this is all easy, or that there's nothing daunting or that unexpected things won't come up, I was just wondering what, specifically, is concerning you.
Well, where to begin? It's hard to find a dentist who follows the proper protocol when removing the amalgams. It's hard to trust dentists after they have basically ruined my health and betrayed me in the past. I've read that not every dentist is skilled in placing composite fillings, so that's another concern. If the dentist does a shoddy job with the composites, they might have to be redone within the next couple of years. And speaking of composites, what material should I choose to replace the mercury fillings? And every time any drilling is done, there's a risk of a tooth breaking or the tooth ending up needing to be removed. Then that means needing a crown or an extraction, which means risking a cavitation. And then a bridge or some other sort of denture will be needed to replace the missing tooth.

Doesn't anyone else worry about these things? Maybe it's just the mercury...

Thanks for your help, Tanya! i appreciate it.
post #637 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThereseReich View Post
"CHLORELLA - is not a chelator as it contains only one thiol group (sulfhydryl groups). It can pick up mercury and move it around, but it does not strictly chelate it and hold onto it. This can cause a lot of oxidative damage as mercury 'bounces around'. Chelators are dithiols (they contain two sulfhydryl groups) and hold on to mercury tightly and safely. Beware of protocols using chlorella for chelation." (from http://www.livingnetwork.co.za/heali...helation1.html)
Thanks, Therese, for that info on chlorella. I'm not planning on using chlorella, but I'm looking for details so I can explain to HCPs why I don't want to take it.

Any other sites that go into even more detail on why chlorella should be avoided?
post #638 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
Quick update on us. It's been 1yr and 2 weeks (approximately ) since I got my fillings out. Did 3-4 months with just DMSA, then added in ALA, but not as regular as it could've been.
That's great that you're amalgam free! Have you been seeing any concrete symptoms disappear over the course of your chelation journey?

I don't know anyone IRL who is chelating, so I'm wondering...do people get better and heal by Cutler's chelation and do all their mercury poisoning illnesses go away? I've been reading the Yahoo list, but it's hard to tell if people are healing.
post #639 of 850
Not sure where else to find you, so I'm posting it here.
Happy birthday, moneca!! ::
post #640 of 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by rayo de sol View Post
That's great that you're amalgam free! Have you been seeing any concrete symptoms disappear over the course of your chelation journey?

I don't know anyone IRL who is chelating, so I'm wondering...do people get better and heal by Cutler's chelation and do all their mercury poisoning illnesses go away? I've been reading the Yahoo list, but it's hard to tell if people are healing.
I'm definitely on the way to getting better. I can tell that the amount of metal in me is definitely lower, if no other way than because when I first took the ALA, it immediately gave me a lot of fatigue, I _needed_ to sleep. I only started rounds on weekends for that reason, and it caused candida flares in my gut. At this point, with the same dosage of ALA, I don't feel anything.

If you are anywhere near Iowa, or if you're willing or able to travel (just for one starting visit), PM me. My HCP is located in Dubuque, and she is accustomed to working with people who travel to her. I'm working with her long-distance at this point, we originally met when we were in the same town, through a friend-of-a-friend type thing, but she's helped me ENORMOUSLY through all this.

Anyway, 3 specific things I've done that I think have made my journey easier than average:
1. GFCF
2. modifilan
3. Perque vitamin C flushes
http://www.perque.com/pdfs/Pt_Ascorbate_Slush_FIN.pdf

I'm still doing those flushes regularly, right now it's mostly 24-36 hrs after a round chelating. Makes a world of difference in getting rid of the metals that were mobilized but not excreted. Folks on the yahoo group sometimes have rounds get harder than previous rounds were, I've never had that. I've also been chelating at higher doses of DMSA and ALA than most people.

If you've got this much fatigue, I'm guessing at a minimum some serious adrenal fatigue. If you can find a HCP and start on some adrenal support (nutritional as well as glandulars) that'll make the process easier. It's HARD to start taking care of this stuff when you feel this bad, I understand. I'm not there anymore, but I used to be.

Oh, concrete symptoms--one huge one. At 5 months post-amalgam removal, I had a huge mental shift. I looked around one day and realized whoa, I'm happy. And it hasn't stopped since. I thought it was temporary, I had the post-amalgam 3-months slump (felt more tired, a bit, and a bit moodier, starting around 3mos after my amalgams came out, and didn't know how long it was really going to last, then my happy day happened). And over the course of the next couple months, I got HAPPIER. Now I'm just coasting along at a pretty nice level, mood-wise. My thyroid seems fine now, my body temps are I think pretty close to normal (BBTs at their worse for a couple years were in the high 96s, daytime temps NEVER reached the 98 range). My adrenals are still a bit stressed, and I know some of that is my fault, because I have been getting too little sleep and I started drinking soda again. : Now that I am feeling better, I am focusing more on DH, who is extremely fatigued (his adrenals are really bad, due to stress from all this, plus underlying stuff--could've been little stuff to deal with 5 years ago, but all the extra stress has exacerbated everything), and so I have not been as good taking care of myself as I should've.

An example--when we started this, I despaired of finding GFCF foods for us to eat. I seriously stressed because "what can we eat???" I'm at the point now that I am cutting out all grains (plus dairy still) for DH (his gut isn't very healthy) and it's not gonna be too hard. That's how much better I feel now.

Seriously, if nothing else--a plane ride to Iowa, my HCP is very compassionate and caring and from what I can tell, my journey has been easier than most.
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