Candida Cleanse part one: The lead-up

Feel free to assume there's TMI ahead, y'all. Skip to the break if you want some less-medical talk involving some intimate areas. 

It's taken me YEARS to come around to this. I've always thought of the candida cleanse as hokey, hippy nonsense. Magickal woo. But after my first appointment with (yet another) new doctor, my brain got to noodling. I've been prone to fungal infections for my adult life. At one point I was diagnosed with a low-grade vaginal infection and was told that I'd probably had this FOR FIVE YEARS based on my symptoms and the resulting NERVE DAMAGE. I went through a year of physical therapy and lidocaine therapy to repair the nerve and muscle and tissue damage. It was awful. By some sheer happenstance, I also went low-carb around the same time to treat my newly diagnosed hypoglycemia. The fungal infection raged and died off, without as much sugar to feed it. I didn't follow the candida cleanse, but all of it together seemed to fix a lot of my problems.

Then I started working at a brewery, and started getting infections again. Did you know that yeast floats through the air in breweries? Yeah that should be fairly obvious if you think about it for .2 seconds and know anything about beer. So after a wonderful *headdesk* moment when I put 2 & 2 together, I... lost my job and thought that would take care of the issue. But when I moved 2400 miles away from home, was living out of my car & backpack, eating out of food banks, and limited on food options, what little adherence to the low-carb lifestyle I had was GONE. Then the study about the dangers of sugar substitutes came out. I figured, if I'm actively causing the same issues the diet was supposed to be preventing (i.e. blood sugar crashes that after 4 years were STILL not under control), what the hell is the point? Round about this time, I ended up on 3 different courses of antibiotics in a month due to sinus infection and pneumonia. And then suddenly I started gaining weight, despite an incredibly active lifestyle and healthy diet (which was accessible again thanks to no longer being homeless).

The horrifying thing is, when I handed nutritionists my food diaries, they would ask me if I was intentionally on a low-carb diet, because even after I considered myself having quit being low carb, I was still on a diet that's significantly lower in carbs than your average American and even government recommendations. I had doctors and nutritionists telling me I needed MORE bread & sugar in my diet. Meanwhile I continued to gain weight at alarming rates, despite a very healthy diet by any standard, and my pain levels continued to skyrocket. The low-grade fungal infection symptoms began to come back, involving every fold of skin & even my scalp. Multiple rounds of anti-fungal medications, internal and topical, would beat it back for a while but then it would just come raging back even worse than before.

I told multiple doctors that I thought I had a systemic yeast infection--how else would you describe it when your entire body smells like a bakery, including your acne? It's in my toes, it's in my fingernails, it's in my ears & scalp, it's in my belly button, seriously it feels gross even if you can't see it. This notion was dismissed without any examination, until my most recent doctor change. She said it's distinctly possible, and that likely by this point it had become resistant to the Diflucan I'd been taking for it for years. She said she'd look into other options, and I see her about that next week.

*****
In the meantime, I decided that I needed to give this Candida thing another look. So I checked out the symptoms, first.

From Whole Approach:
  1. Allergies: to foods and/or airborne chemicals; particularly adult-onset allergies. The number of offending substances can keep increasing until an individual becomes so sensitive to the everyday environment that they must live in isolation.
  2. Fatique: continual, but often more noticeable after eating.
  3. Gastrointestinal: poor digestion (constipation or diarrhea, gas, bloating, cramps, heartburn, nausea, gastritis, colitis, etc.)
  4. Neurological: carbohydrate cravings, irritability, mood swings, headaches, migraines, "fogged-in" feeling, inability to concentrate/mind "wanders off", poor memory, confusion, dizziness, M.S.-like symptoms (slurred speech, loss of muscle co-ordination, vision affected), depression and/or anxiety without apparent cause (often worse after eating), paranoia without apparent cause, not in total control of one' actions (know right thing to do but unable to execute), mental incompetence (sometimes leading to institutionalization), a variety of other behavioral disturbances.
  5. Genito-urinary: vaginal infections, menstrual difficulties, impotence, infertility, prostatitis, rectal itch, urinary tract infection/inflammation (urgency, burning).
  6. Respiratory: compromised immune system (frequent colds, flus), hay fever, mucous congestion, postnasal drip, asthma, bronchitis, chest pain, frequent clearing of throat, habitual coughing (usually non-productive).
  7. Skin: athlete's foot, jock itch, skin rash, hives, dry brownish patches, psoriasis, ringworm, rough skin on sides of arms which gets worse at certain times of the month or under increased stress.
  8. Symptoms resistant to all modes of therapy. The physician may conclude that patient is a hypochondriac and/or neurotic and may suggest tranquilizers, anti-depressants and/or psychiatric help.
  9. Clinical history (early childhood): ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, aggressiveness, SKIN problems (cradle cap, diaper rash, thrush), RESPERATORY problems (chronic ear infection, tonsillitis) or GI problems (colic).
  10. Miscellaneous: cold extremities, arthritis-like symptoms, etc.
From The Candida Diet:

THE WAY YOU FEEL

Inability to focus, Poor memory, Brain fog, Irritability, Anger, Dizziness, Depression, Crying spells, Panic attacks, Low libido, Persistent extreme fatigue, Hyperactivity, Cravings for sweets and alcohol, Insomnia, Poor coordination.

YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

Acid reflux, Bloating, Flatulence, Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Stomach cramps, Indigestion, Burping after meals, Mucus in stool, Hemorrhoids, Itching anus.

YOUR SKIN

Acne, Cysts, Hives, Night sweats, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Fungal infections of the nails & skin, Athlete’s foot, Body odor.

YOUR MOUTH

Thrush (white coating on tongue), Swollen lower lip, Halitosis, Metallic taste in mouth, Bad breath, Canker sores, Bleeding gums, Cracked tongue.

YOUR RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

Persistent cough, Mucus in throat, Sore throat, Sinus congestion, Chronic post-nasal drip, Flu-like symptoms, Hay fever symptoms, Sinusitis, Asthma.

YOUR EARS AND EYES

Eye pain, Itchy eyes, Sensitivity to light, Blurred vision, Bags under eyes, Ringing in the ears, Ear infections.

YOUR GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM

Recurring yeast infections, Recurring UTI’s (urinary tract infections), Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), PMS & menstrual irregularities, Fungal rash.

YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Frequent colds and flu, Allergies, Sensitivities to food, fragrances and chemicals.

YOUR WEIGHT

Inability to lose weight, Water retention, Weight loss.

OTHER SYMPTOMS

Headaches, Heart palpitations, Chronic body pain and/or joint pains, Muscle aches and stiffness.
*** I'm super sorry if that formatting sucks, I just copied & pasted and I'm too tired to fix it right now. Click through to the links for the same lists if they're unreadable here. ***

Guys, I HAVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE SYMPTOMS (except obviously a swollen prostate cuz I don't have one of those). EVERY ONE. I'm on DISABILITY because of them!!! This is ludicrous! I'm not saying that some of these symptoms don't have other explanations or haven't been around for ages, but I will say that everything has gotten worse in the last few years and most of it inexplicably. And a lot of those got better when I was low-carb, even if that diet made my brain hurt.

Anyway so on May 29th I talked it over with Mr. Moon. I said I thought this cleanse was something I needed to do for my health. Given that Candidiasis can be transmitted through, shall we say, "frequent physical contact," it's a good bet that he's got it too. And thus could give it back to me, even if it's all topical and not systemic. So, if for not other reason than moral support, he agreed to do the candida cleanse with me. And we decided to jump on it while we felt motivated, even though we knew there would be a few rough days when we had to go to Portland to greet out newest Framily member when he was born. That was Saturday; we'd start Monday, June 1, do it for a month, and if we saw no improvement, ditch it and move on. Oh, if only it were that simple.

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Next up, Part Two: False Starts.

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