I miss eating. I love eating. Before I got sick, I was a vegetarian. I ate at the local Indian restaurants a few times a week. I ate tasty salads with tons of ingredients, including hard boiled eggs. I cooked and ate Italian food (think eggplant parmigiana or pasta with tomato sauce). I loved cheese. I drank steamed milk, hold the coffee, many mornings. I liked to have a chocolate chip or peanut butter cookie fairly regularly.
When I got really sick, food became a major problem. After a year of diarrhea, shortly after finding out I had Lyme Disease, I went for food allergy testing. I needed a way to deal with the damage to my intestines. Once I figured out what I could and couldn’t eat, I was really strict about only eating foods that would not make me worse. I focused on getting enough protein and steamed vegetables. Eventually I added in cultured foods, like goats milk yogurt and kombucha, as well as intense probiotics. And I was able to handle being on antibiotics without making my digestive tract too much worse. It just didn’t get better. On a handful of occasions, I cheated from my strict protocol. And I paid the price.
The benefit of the strict diet was that 18 months of abdominal swelling finally became intermittent. I got less sick. My body started to respond to all the detox treatments. I hadn’t quite turned the boat around, but it stopped moving towards the waterfall. On the few occasions I cheated, the abdominal swelling came back with diarrhea. My joints and muscles and bones hurt for days. My head will feel like it might split in two. My teeth would hurt. I would suffer from more intense fatigue than usual. It could take up to a week to get over the infraction.
Once I stopped antibiotics and started using the coil machine, my digestive tract started to heal…rapidly. By the summer, I found myself wanting to go out more, to eat out more and cheating on my very strict diet. Since then, I’ve been going back and forth, sometimes maintaining the diet that keeps my tummy and intestines happy, sometimes doing things that hurt me. The interesting thing is that, each month, the reaction I have gets smaller. As of this past weekend, the reaction to eating all sorts of foods that irritate my intestines only lasted about 30 hours. Diarrhea, abdominal swelling, muscle and joint aches. Not so bad.
I’m not sure what I should do with my diet. There is something so nice about eating food, real food, with real flavor. There is something wonderful about eating a variety of healthy foods. And yet, I’m pretty sure I need to limit this irritation of my digestive tract.
So I’m very careful about some things that set me off big time: eggs (strictly prohibited), dairy and corn, nightshade veggies and red foods. But sometimes I can’t quite get it all right, so I do my best to consume an amount closer to a contaminant rather than a serving.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that I was absolutely right to be strict for so long. I think I can be more intelligent about how I reintroduce foods, but I might let myself make mistakes until I can eat normally again.
The next question is: what will my diet look like once I can really eat again?
Healing my gut
In addition to the diet, I used homeopathic challenges to desensitize my body to the allergens. They didn’t completely resolve the allergens. My guess is that the infections in my body cause the allergic response to continue.
First and foremost, I’ve been trying to get rid of the Lyme Disease infection to help calm my immune system, get it off overdrive. That process is still ongoing.
Second, I’ve tried to get rid the Candida infection. I used a variety of probiotics and I’ve coiled. Tonight, I’m stopping the Candida coiling. Tomorrow is the last day I’m taking 5LAC and moving back to 3LAC. I’m surmising from the fact that my gut seems to get irritated only when I eat allergenic foods that I can go back to a strong probiotic and no other treatments. This is one big experiment. I’m sure I’ll find out soon.
Finally, I’m tackling Bartonella. I know this infection hurts my digestive tract. So I’m hoping that when I get to the end of the Bartonella treatments, the food allergies will be essentially gone.
Grains are the final piece of the puzzle. I’ve been avoiding them for a long time because they feed the infections more efficiently than they feed me. As my infection load has diminished, I’ve started eating whole grains again. I’m having steel cut oats for breakfast (with extra protein on the side). I have brown rice occasionally. It seems to be going okay, but I’m not so sure.
The good part is that I’ve gained 5 pounds since before Christmas. I’m back to a more comfortable weight. My skin doesn’t seem so thin. My bones don’t feel like they’re poking through. My nerves aren’t just below the surface just waiting to bump into something and light on fire. As promised by my Lyme-literate physician, as soon as I started to eat grains, I stabilized at a new weight.
Still, as I head into the Bartonella treatment, and the herxes start to get worse, I’m afraid I’ll have to lay off the carbs again to minimize the pain level. We’ll see.
For the past several days, I’ve been doing the usual 24 minutes of Candida. Today is the last day for Candida treatment.
This week, I’ve been slowly building up Bartonella treatment. The basics are 5 minutes on my abdomen and 2 minutes on my chest. Since February, I’ve added 3 minutes total across three locations on my spine. Then on Monday I added a minute on the back of my head. Yesterday I added a minute to the top of my head.
Yesterday, I coiled the bottom half of my body for Lyme, 3 minutes in each location, as I’ve been doing for a while now.
I started yoga again today. After a few weeks in California, I found a place to do yoga. It might not be my long term studio, but I’m giving it a try this month.
Other than yoga, I’ve been doing more walking and slowly building up my leg muscles. I’ve been taking antioxidants, drinking kombucha and brushing my skin in the morning.
I’m tiring myself out more…or I’m herxing more. I think it’s a combination of the two. I’m tired a lot. I’ve got bags under my eyes. My spine hurts every morning when I wake up, often for a few hours. My overall pain level is increasing, with more pain in my joints, more tightness in the muscles around my shoulders, neck and jaw. I’m getting daily headaches, though they don’t last more than an hour. My stools are a little looser than they’ve been when I’m not cheating, making me think that some toxins are heading out that way. I’ve been gassy when I’ve cheated on my diet this week (like last night). I’m a little more irritable and distant when my pain level goes up.
The reproductive system symptoms are intermittent. This is better than I expected. The breast pain and tenderness comes and goes. The breast swelling hasn’t gone away.
The good news is that I’m sleeping more deeply. I guess exhaustion will do that to you. I’m napping daily and resting through the night.
I’m trying to understand the new constellation of symptoms. Maybe their pattern will become apparent soon.