Giving Up Coffee Tried to Kill Me

After seven months (SEVEN MONTHS) of chronic headaches and trying to do allllll the things to suss out the root cause/fix the situation/feel better, it’s possible that we’ve found a culprit, or at the very least, a Not Helper in the journey back to well being: my freaking tea kettle.

Note, the kettle shown here is not the offender but rather its replacement, and, to be fair, it’s not really the old kettle’s fault either so much as User Malfunction.

The quick story here is, roughly a week and a half ago, I discovered some sort of flakes/build up coming out of my kettle into my hot water. I had a sore throat that morning and wanted just some warm water to drink, nothing in it (rare), and happened to pour it into a not-white mug (also rare). Except when I went to take my first sip, I saw white shit floating in my red mug and stopped short. WTAF? I immediately turned into an 8th grade science student, trying different mugs, new water, different water sources, and while the results were not totally conclusive, clearly something was not right with the dear (white) kettle we have had since our wedding 16 years ago.

Is that too long to keep and use a kettle? I don’t know because until January of this year, I would use words like sparse and sporadic to describe my kettle usage, so I saw no problem starting to use it on the (at least) twice daily, despite its age, as I made the switch from coffee to tea. But apparently my kettle was too old and started flaking enamel, OR my kettle hygiene of assuming that boiling the water meant I didn’t have to worry about cleaning said kettle often ever, OR my choice of tap water instead of filtered water because, again, boiling created some mineral or residue buildup and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT I HAVE BEEN INGESTING CRAP FOR MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS WITH MY TWICE DAILY CUP OF TEA.

No wonder I have felt like shit for so long.

Of course, no one can tell me for sure if this is what caused the problem. The headaches didn’t start until a couple months in to the switch from coffee to tea which was also at the time I got my COVID vaccine. However, no one could ever tell me that was or wasn’t the cause of my problems either, so I have just been wandering in the dark (and many, many medical offices) trying to figure this out, all whilst sipping on my MADE-THE-CHANGE-FOR-MY-HEALTH,-OH,-DEAR-GOD-THE-IRONY TEA (sorry; at some point I will get over the shouty caps, I promise).

Maybe I did have a bad reaction to my vaccine but maybe my damn potentially contaminated water is what made it so hard to get past, especially given the months and months of the special diet and all the physical therapy and the supplements taken and MRI completed and all. that. shit. that I tried to do RIGHT (oops – more shouts) that somehow still couldn’t seem to get me over the headache hump.

You might be wondering, am I over it now? Well, possibly. I haven’t changed my gut reset protocol at all, in part because clearly something in my system still needs to clear. And we didn’t do a heavy metal test this summer, so again – hard to say when this started. However, I did that very afternoon get a new kettle (see the beaut pictured above) and started using filtered water (like we did for our coffee maker) and I am also now wiping out the kettle on a regular basis so it isn’t sitting there wet/partially filled all the time. While I don’t feel 100%, I do feel better than I have in a long time because that lingering tension/pain in my shoulders, neck, face, and head has indeed lightened and lessened. I’m giving it time, of course, because this clearly took time to build up in my system, but holy moly cow. What a roller coaster this (ALL OF THIS – okay, last shouts) has been.

I have spent a fair amount of time beating myself up over this potential discovery in the last 10 days but also, I have learned that I am not the only one who treats kettles this way, so my PSA is this: check your kettles, friends! And, perhaps, replace them! Which leads me to the other real and painful irony here – that a $16 kettle may have been the answer all along, not the thousands that we’ve paid out of pocket trying to figure this out/treat it over the last seven months.

Of course there is nothing I can do about all that at this point but keep moving forward, keep working to pay off those bills, and keep taking care of my system that is hopefully, finally on the right path with the right damn tools* (and kettle; sheesh).

*for the record, I still think giving up coffee was the right choice for me. I don’t miss the jitters or amped up anxiety at all, even if I do still miss the smell of it brewing.

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