Expert Contribution

Becoming My Own Health Detective

I know the exact date that I began solving the most enigmatic mystery of my life because it involved my most precious blessing: my life. 

One day, I rushed home from work, showered, hopped in my car, and met up with my dad for our annual Father/Daughter camping trip. We got up to the mountains in good time, caught and cooked up a mess of trout, and enjoyed a campfire. That night, I woke up to go to the bathroom and found myself ping-ponging around the camper, putting my hands against the walls to catch my balance. Whoa, I thought…altitude sickness? We weren’t that high. Dehydration? I drank plenty of water that day… I declined over the weekend, feeling increasingly dizzy. I stuck out the 3 days, not feeling well and things only got worse. 

I soon had hives over my entire body. I had an intermittent buzzing/vibration sensation in my brain. I became hypersensitive to my surroundings. Simple tasks like grocery shopping were excruciating because of the sensory overload. I saw two doctors and neither were able to help me. 

My aunt, having listened to my debilitating symptoms that were persisting over 2 weeks, said, “We’re gonna figure this out, sister. You have to be your own doctor.” As we talked over the next few days, we kept getting thrown off by the camping trip. It marked the onslaught of the symptoms. 

Fast forward to one day when I went outside to pick up a pile of dirty towels in the garage. As I carried them to the washer, a massive epiphany hit me. My roommate had been using the towels from our linen closet to wipe up excess pesticide and herbicide spray. I was then picking those towels up, washing and using them. I had used the contaminated towels, right before my camping trip, then had not showered for 3 days while in the mountains. Those toxins had been soaking into my skin all the while. I had finally solved it: I was experiencing dermal pesticide poisoning. 

Initially I was angry with the doctors unable to diagnose me, but it was such a specific environmental factor, I realize now there was no way for them to know. That’s when I became my own doctor. I absorbed every bit of information on detoxing to heal myself. Toxic build up is real – from daily pollutants in our environment, food, water, and air. 

A chelator (heavy metal detox supplement) was the key to my recovery. Within 48 hours of starting the first cycle, 75% of my symptoms stopped. What can only be described as spludge was oozing out of my scalp and ears for over a month. Did you know that toxins bind to fat and if there is no fat, the toxins will create fat to live in? Did you also know that your brain is the fattiest organ in your body? Mine, where I was feeling the majority of my symptoms, was detoxing big time. 

Signs of toxicity* 

Frequent unexplained headaches 

Chronic respiratory problems, sinus problems or asthma 

Abnormal body odor, bad breath or coated tongue 

Environmental sensitivities, sensitivity to odors 

Food allergies, poor digestion, constipation, intestinal bloating and gas 

Unusually poor memory, chronic insomnia, depression, chronic fatigue 

Brittle hair and nails, psoriasis, adult acne, unexplained weight gain 


Katie Coelho is an avid outdoorswoman, enjoying all that Northern California has to offer. Her loves include Paleo cooking, juicing cilantro, yoga, and fishing. 

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By Katie Coelho with Body Love Clinic 

About The Author

Functional Medicine & Nutrition
Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC, IFMCP
Body Love Cafe

Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC, IFMCP discovered the power of Functional Medicine first hand when a “mystery illness” left her declared permanently disabled. Unwilling to accept that diagnosis, she fought back and launched Body Love Cafe, an award-winning holistic health clinic.

BLC is all about natural medicine that meets cutting-edge science to provide answers as to why you don’t feel well. We hear you. We see you. We believe you. It’s not in your head and we’ve got the technique and labs to show why.

Patients have said “Dr. Zachary figures out why you feel like crap but your MD says you’re fine.” 

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