Photo by Aleks Sharpe Imagery

What is doubt? Why do we give it so much authority in our lives? We doubt our abilities, our time, our identity, we doubt others, we doubt literally everyone and everything. Well, to me doubt is the opposite to trust. By definition trust is: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. So it makes sense that our habit is to lean on doubt over trust. How many times have people let you down? How many times did you have faith that something was going to work out and it didn’t? This is just our way of drawing from what history has told us in our life. Its our way of learning to play it safe to prevent us from pain and suffering.

Today I want to talk about how doubt shows up in us internally by sharing with you about my personal journey with doubt. Now I want to take a second to make one thing clear.. I am no expert here. I do not have a single educational document to back up this writing or any of my statements. I can tell you this, I speak from my own experience with truth and transparency. So here it is.

My journey with self doubt started eons ago. It started when I was bullied in school. I was picked on for being confident in wearing clothes I liked that were not like the other kids in school. I was picked on for being different AND for my lack of concern for being the same as others. I guess you could say I didn’t care much about what others thought of me. As a kid I spent a ton of time with myself and I was very confident. I expressed my opinions boldly and without hesitation. But over the years I allowed others opinions of me to sink in. As someone who has always been transparent and considered myself an open book I allowed myself to be vulnerable and exposed. Maybe it was a single incident that changed my course or possibly just the repetition that did. As I grew up I always carried with me these two sides, the confident and opinionated side as well as the introverted and isolated side. My insecurity grew and grew. What’s interesting about this is that as I got older I collected more knowledge and lived experiences that were kept inside of me. This my friends is called intuition or instinct. Now I don’t mean this by the literal definition. I mean this by the words we know them to be. That feeling or suspicion of something or someone. Its an understanding of what is or is meant to be true in any person or circumstance. The more lived experience we have with something or someone we store this data away inside ourselves and we draw from these memories or lessons as we navigate life. These feelings or senses we get about things are our bodies way of saying “I have seen this before. I have been here before. I know how this plays out.” This is knowledge guys. Our society has trained us to sit down and be quiet about these senses. They don’t measure up to any formal capacity so the don’t qualify is what we are told. I can wholeheartedly say I have been told “not to be so emotional” about senses I have shared before. But here’s the thing guys. This is something we need to listen to. This is a huge part of who we are that we have learned to ignore for whatever reason. Maybe you have been dating this guy you really like for a while and then one day you get this feeling. Your GUT tells you something and you feel sick, you ignore it and pass it off as anxiety. Three days later you find out hes breaking up with you. Whatever it is you have these “gut feelings” over, they are truth and you cant ignore them. Ok, now let me get back to my story.

Two years ago my son got sick. He had a flu like any other kid. It was new to me and I didn’t know what to expect from it other than tons of snuggles (what the average mom reports on instagram). He was vomiting and lethargic and I didn’t think much of it as I had never seen him ill before. He had a mild fever that came down with tylenol. But a couple hours later (after tylenol) he was bouncing around again. He seemed to yo yo with his energy a bit. Then I noticed what smelled like acetone. Seemed so odd that I could smell nail polish remover as no one in the house had used any. It was my sons breath. I googled it.. Acetone breath was common when someone was in ketosis. Strange. We carried on with our sick day and he just kept vomiting and yo yo-ing. Finally at dinner time he wouldn’t eat pizza. He had never turned down pizza before in his life. At this point he was almost non responsive so I decided it didn’t seem normal and took him to the hospital. He had blood work done which was horrible. We just managed to check his sugars before they had to get an IV into him for fluids as he was severely dehydrated. I was surprised to hear that his sugars were basically comatose levels. Needless to say they treated him right away. After a night in the hospital we were discharged. We had two more trips like this. Unknown symptoms that do not align with the standard flu and no diagnosis. I had been monitoring his sugars as they seemed to be the most consistent concern when he didn’t eat for long periods, woke up starving in the middle of the night or anytime he was ill. So much didn’t make sense. No diabetes, possibly hypoglycemia but still didn’t seem to check out. I got a ton of eye rolls at emerg. I got a ton of snarly comments from nurses and doctors, other parents, clients, you name it. I became the overbearing mother who was bringing in her son to emerg with a cold and wasting everyone’s time. I was exhausted.

The following spring my son started having emotional troubles. This was so strange for us and the most frustrating time. I started doubting myself as a mother and telling myself I had somehow caused my child trauma or to be broken somehow. His behavior was unbearable and I was completely beside myself. Then, we had one more hospital visit. I was asked to basically leave. I begged the doctor to please look at my child as I knew something wasn’t right. This time it was the same type of visit. Vomiting, dehydration, acetone breath, lethargy and some virus. I was completely devastated that no one would take me seriously. They actually told me to go home and give my son oral hydration. I looked at that nurse and said “listen, he WILL NOT drink for me so if you wont give him IV you can sit here with him and make him drink before you send us home!” So she did. And we went home. One month later I went to see my family doctor for my own reasons (another story for another day). He said “Chantel, we have been trying to reach you. BCCH has been requesting you son to be seen at the metabolic clinic.” I was stunned. I asked him why no one had let me know. I was so angry. He explained that when my son had been at the hospital one of the doctors did a blood panel and sent it to BCCH as she thought that it was odd he was so tanned and had blood sugar irregularity. He told me what they thought he could have and told me not to google it. I demanded he write it down so I could. I believe being prepared is essential when you are walking into any situation. It wasn’t realistic to be prepared but it felt right to try. I left that office with more anger and questions than I could process. I was so mad. Six long weeks later we sat down with a specialist who explained to me that we needed to do more blood work, not to worry and that we would get answers. There were 6 possible different diagnosis he could have and it was all super confusing and terrifying. That night I sobbed myself to sleep while my husband held me. Loud, deep sobs. We still didn’t know for sure what he had. The panel that was done by chance, from this random doctor was for a variety of potential genetic diseases. It still blows my mind that the tanned color of my white child’s skin was what reason she did this test. I will forever be thankful to her. The blood work following the specialist appointment had to be sent to Finland and two weeks later I got a call. The call. She told me the news I had been in denial about. I sobbed so loud. I was shaking. My son had Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) and needed to be seen asap for more tests. The gene mutation he had been diagnosed with that causes ALD was also known to cause Adrenal Insufficiency which we also needed to urgently test him for. We were admitted to BCCH a couple weeks later and he had an MRI and a bunch of tests done. It was all very traumatic and exhausting. My baby girl was also only 7 months old and it was very hard to manage all of it during this season. There were also so many pieces that continued not to make any sense. We did however learn that he did have Adrenal Insufficiency alongside the ALD and needed to be put on medication daily for the rest of his life.

As we settled into this new life there were several things I had to learn fast. First, his behavioral issues and sugars were directly linked to his adrenal insufficiency and have been easier to manage with his medication. There is still a huge learning curve with his medication and illness (any illness) and we still navigate hospital visits on the regular for minor infections because they cause him to go into adrenal crisis very quickly (if not treated will be fatal). The other thing I had to learn FAST was that I am his momma and I KNOW him. I know when he is fighting a virus or infection before it shows up. I knew all along that something wasn’t right and I flip flopped from believing in my gut and doubting myself because of my insecurities. I learned FAST how to ADVOCATE for a child who cant speak how he is feeling. I learned FAST how to start TRUSTING and believing in myself and my instinct and intuition because it comes from every lived experience and becomes acquired knowledge.

Why am I sharing this with you? I know you struggle with doubting yourself. I know you have been there where you believed something but second guess it. Its time to stop belittling your inner voice because of what others have told you about it. If we can’t trust ourselves we are in serious trouble. Its time to live into the life you are meant to live. You are smart and you know what you are talking about. Believe in yourself and don’t you dare for one more second squander what you sense because of anyone else. This is your inner self. This is your wisdom. This is your center and it will guide you. I believe in you.

-Chantel Funk

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