So what’s a gal to call a blog post about a stool test? Really? For those of you not interested, I completely understand. Feel free to move along, lol. For the rest of you, hang on. Some if it’s going to be shitty.
That’s me preparing to actually root around in my poo before asking Mr. FedEx to carry it across the country and drop it at the lab.
My own personal journey to wellness continues to move forward…slowly but surely. There has been a lot of transition in my life over the course of the last few months, and like everyone, finding the time, money and wear withal to take the finals steps towards wellness has been difficult. The universe if finally putting what I need in front of me to succeed, and I’m moving forward.
Finding a doctor I believed in proved to be more difficult than I expected. It has been almost a year since I was diagnosed with leaky gut, and 8 months since I stepped off of the gluten train. Finally, I am entering a plan of treatment and hope to be close to finished with it come the first of the year. As I always teach folks when trying to take on any large project in your life, you have to chunk it out into doable segments and keep forging forward. Since I haven’t been so sick that I’m bed ridden, it’s been easy to push some of this stuff off. No more. I am finally ready and positioned to move forward.
I have been working with Dr. Amy Myers in Austin, Texas. She is an up and coming functional medicine physician who walks the walk and talks the talk. Like me, she has dealt with her own leaky gut and thyroid issues, and has an empathetic ear for those who suffer with similar problems. And yes, leaky gut and the thyroid are connected. Her website (blog especially) is a great resource for people wanting to educate themselves. I strongly suggest some of her early podcasts about candida, thyroid, gluten and mycotoxins. All very interesting and informative. So the overall picture is that I suffer from hyposthyroidism and my stool tests revealed that I also have parasites, candida AND leaky gut.
Hypothyroidism means that my thyroid function is sluggish/slow. Gluten greatly affects the thyroid’s function. I have been on medication (armour) to treat this condition for two years. My fantasy is to get off the medication, but based on what I have been told, it’s not likely. I’m hopeful that maybe when my immune system regains its power that reducing/eliminating my meds is a possibility. Send me some cyber love on that, please. I’ll take all I can get.
Friend or foe?
You are going to be hearing more and more about the gut in general, but leaky gut awareness is on the rise, and education about this will NOT be ascertained from traditional medical doctors. Do yourself a HUGE favor and find a FUNCTIONAL medicine doctor. They are motivated to get to the ROOT cause of all your illnesses, rather than masking your problems with a prescription. They also are focused on nutrition and how it affects our overall health, the other big area that traditional medicine seems to overlook.
So here’s the skinny….I have been having some long-term allergy-like symptoms and we believe that a major contributor to that is my leaky gut. The good news is it can be healed with diet and supplements. What’s causes leaky gut? There are a variety of potential answers to this but the general consensus is that our modern diet/processed foods play a big part in it. Some of the major contributors are thought to be three particular things I consumed during my adult life — beer, wine, birth control pills.
I also have parasites. Not surprising since I have done a LOT of international travel in my adult life, much of it to non-first world countries. A recent conversation reminded me of a horrible food incident I had 10 years ago in Cuba that pretty much had me laying on the bathroom floor for a day and a half. Could I have been dragging these bugs around THAT long? That’s a frightening though, huh? Anyway, they get treated first with an herbal concoction, rather than an antibiotic, for one solid month.
The next item uncovered was candida. Since I have been diagnosed with leaky gut, I suspected that the candida I had and thought I treated 20 years ago, probably didn’t completely get eradicated at that time. We know a lot more today than we did 20 years ago about this condition. This time I’ll go on a very restrictive (and so not fun) candida starvation diet combined with a prescription for diflucan, an anti-fungal med to work on eliminating the candida as I try and basically starve it to death. Capryllic acid is also used to treat this condition, but I have a sensitivity to coconut products and it’s not a possibility for me. How do I starve the candida? By NOT giving it foods it likes to eat(and grow) – sugars, fruit, carbs, fermented foods. I’m not gonna lie. This diet suuuuuuuuuuucks. When I did it 20 years ago I lost 40lbs in 5 months! I was in a much different place health/weight wise than I am now, and I don’t suspect I’ll lose much weight, but I tell you what my weight loss was so that you can wrap your brain around how truly restrictive it is. In order to get enough nutrition I’m choosing to incorporate some animal proteins (likely fish) two or three days a week, and I’m going to put my head down and just knock it out. This “diet” will last about two months. So when I start the parasite treatment I’ll also start this diet then slip right into finishing that up the following month when I start to take the diflucan.
Then while all this is going on I’ll be working on rebuilding my gut with herbs and supplements.
When the two months or treatment for the above conditions is over, I’ll finally step up to the plate and do the two week elimination diet for the leaky gut. It’s not very different from the candida diet other than I have to eliminate a few more items, notably ALL grains and night shade veggies. Phew. Exhausting.
But here’s the good news. It’s all doable. All of it. Tough? Absolutely. But in a few months I anticipate I’ll be like new money. My goal is to be able to wrangle this all up by the end of the year. That’s 4 months. I CAN do this. Once I get my gut healed, I’ll be able to ease back into some of my favorite fruits and veggies and eventually return to where I usually am at a 90%ish vegan lifestyle.
Knowledge is power. Stay tuned.