Before Assessing for Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

Sybil Sanchez Kessler
10 min readFeb 6, 2022
Blue body, tan and brown skin, thick red lips with hands overhead, grimacing in pain plus round white, trigger points on face and arms.
Thanks to: Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Here’s Where My Story Starts

I met last month for the first time with Tracey Long, an RDN/MPH with an extensive list of training credentials. She’s a nice lady, I studied nutrition and functional medicine with her during my ADAPT Functional Medicine Health Coaching Training Program (HCTP). I came to her, though, because my health coach Christopher Blakeslee had recommended her.

It’s crazy, but I have worked for nearly four years with two different practitioners while getting progressively worse. In reality, my chronic pain started in 1985, when I was 16 years old. Even earlier than that, though, I was showing signs of possible autoimmune issues. I had sports-induced asthma and hives from the cold before the age of ten.

Like many in the Northeastern US, I grew up in a damp house (particularly in my teens, after the basement flooded), plus pets, a sandy front lawn, some chemical exposures we occasionally smelled from either nearby industrial farms or the oil refinery, as well as heavy smokers in the house.

Even though I never fully fit into my working-class town, as one of only two Jewish families there (trauma and childhood bullying is another story for another time), I am still a Jersey girl at heart. I grew up with a view of an NJ Turnpike underpass, somewhere between exits 4 & 3, and was lulled to sleep nightly by highway murmurs. I might have already then started to have symptoms related to chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), a progressive, multi-system, multi-symptom illness characterized by exposure to biotoxins. That has yet to be seen.

By the end of my time living back home in the US, in New York as an adult with a family, I was increasingly changing up doctors. For a long time, it was just because I didn’t like them, but by the end, it was because I needed more intensive work, although I didn’t quite realize it yet. I had just learned about SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and saw my first naturopath and second-ever nutritionist right before moving to Mexico in June 2017.

After settling into my new home country, I sought out a world-recognized integrative gastrointestinal doctor and then a local homeopath, but eventually, I started working with a health…

Sybil Sanchez Kessler

Chronicling chronic illness. Also: Jewish life, being a US immigrant to Mexico, parenting….maybe some poetry. Certified Functional Health Coach.