Thursday, June 18, 2015

Candida Cleanse part four: On Pause

The five days of progress that we made at the beginning of this are proof enough to me that it's a good thing to be done. But for now, I'm afraid it will have to be on hold. My doctor who was supportive of the effort, isn't comfortable with me proceeding with this cold, since it's not clearing up as quickly as it probably should. I'm to redouble my efforts to kick it in the butt, without stressing my body further with any significant dietary changes and a cleanse. As most of the candida diet sites will (or should) tell you, doing a cleanse when your body is otherwise fighting a major illness is not wise, and can be downright dangerous. My focus right now is Not Getting Pneumonia (again). And that will have to do.

With this revelation, it became apparent just how good a sport Mr. Moon was being about the "no alcohol" portion of this endeavor occurring over his birthday. As that's now been cancelled, he's pretty excited to go out for a drink and some karaoke after working a double shift that day. Can't say I blame him!

We'll pick up this series again as soon as it's safe and reasonable to do so, but at this point it might be late September. I've already proven that it's impossible to travel with this diet, so there's no reason to make our trip to Michigan harder on ourselves than necessary--especially because this time we're not just going and staying in one place/at someone's home, we're actually making several smaller trips within the vacation itself. So yeah. Too hard. Too much stress. We'll pick this up again later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What do you do when you get sick?

This cold is really throwing me for a loop. I keep feeling better then worse again.

My mom asked me today what I'm doing for it, and I told her I'm throwing everything I've got at it. "Like what?" she asked. I'm not sure I understand why she asked with such incredulity, but I started listing things:

  • Antibiotics (since I ended up with a sinus and lower respiratory infection, awesome)
  • Sudafed
  • Mucinex
  • Robitussin
  • Codeine cough syrup at night
  • Vitamin C cough drops
  • Tylonel (for fever & both the headache and muscle aches from fever & coughing)
  • FloVent (steroids for asthma)
  • FloNase (steroids for allergies)
  • Zyrtec (because it's allergy season anyway)
  • Albuterol (yay asthma!)
And besides the pharmaceuticals, of course I'm doing home remedy things too:
  • Tea
  • Pineapple (supposed to be a cough suppressant)
  • Coconut water
  • Soup, broth, whatever warm liquids with nutrients I can stand
  • Honey (though I had to toss my jar of lemon ginger honey and haven't made more)
  • Eucalyptus steam, in bath, shower, and sink form
  • Vick's (which you're right I consider a home remedy, have you seen the ingredients? You can make it yourself)
  • All the naps. So many naps. Considering another one here soon. 
  • One thing I haven't done but usually do: Bourbon. And I gotta say, I'm missing out. 
What do you do when you have a cold? What about if it's one of those that you just can't kick, that you start to feel better but backslide again the next day?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Candida Cleanse part three: Adding insult to injury

[In case you're just jumping in, Parts One & Two are available at their respective links.]

Today, or more accurately last night, the nasty cold I had turned into not JUST bronchitis, but an upper AND lower respiratory infection. Besides the antibiotics, the doctor at the urgent care clinic reminded me that dairy increases mucus production and thickness, and so should be avoided while this clears up (and if I'm entirely honest, all the time because asthma). How convenient that the candida diet doesn't allow much dairy anyway.

I just can't catch a break. This really is going to get worse before it gets better. And I'm going to have to throw every ounce of creative energy at the problem to solve it. I'm surprised at how fired-up I am though, rather than feeling overwhelmed like I did two weeks ago. I'm ready to knuckle down and DO THIS.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Candida Cleanse part two: False starts

[Just joining us? See part one here.]

The quick & dirty of the Candida Cleanse is mostly the diet. No grains of any kind (even whole ones), no legumes or nuts (because high mold content), limited (specific) dairy, nothing made with mold/yeast including anything made with vinegar except apple cider vinegar, no caffeine (though I'm iffy on the science of that one). We decided that we'd go All Meat & Veg for the month of June, then add back in the low-carb items (like nuts & cheese) in July. Two months is totally do-able, right? Last time, I felt better after 5 days going low-carb, so 2 months should clear everything right up.

May 31st came around and well, my period is not a fun time to be me. I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say, I should have gone to the hospital for fluids, I was that dehydrated. Getting fluids in me was more important than starting a new treatment plan that would only increase the stress on my body. Gatorade was my friend, but not on the diet of course. So it was Wednesday the 3rd before we really got started on the diet part, including the supplements that I ordered and had finally come in.

Of course, these supplements aren't pregnancy compatible, and so it meant that I needed to time taking them fairly carefully so as to avoid them during the Two Week Wait (as it's known in Trying To Conceive circles) or what I like to call Schröedinger's Pregnancy, that time between ovulation and home test accuracy. Getting started late meant that days were a little off, but not too terribly.

Then we went on our trip to Portland. We did really well, packing our cooler with lots of snacks, taking food since we had access to a kitchen where we were staying, planning some meals ahead. It fell apart on us anyway. If I thought eating out low-carb was hard, this is even harder. And I was suddenly reminded of part of the reason I quit being so strictly low-carb to begin with: It's mentally exhausting, and actually kind of embarrassing. Especially for someone with a highly developed fear of inconveniencing people. Anyway, we did the best we could, but after 2 nights of broken sleep (did you know labor is exhausting even to the support team?) we kind of threw our hands up and said we'd start over when we got home.

Guess what happened when we got home? I got a cold. A nasty one, too. After a day of sore throat so bad I couldn't swallow more than a sip of liquid at a time, then another full day of snotty face & feeling like my head was five times its size and suspended three feet above my neck on top of a still-sore throat, all I wanted was plain (whole wheat) spaghetti noodles with a little butter and a little parmesan cheese. Nothing else could pass my lips. And so, we broke down & made it, and said we'd start over again tomorrow. But tomorrow came and hello, colds aren't one day long, y'all. I had a bit more appetite back but it's all very touch & go still. We got me some mashed potatoes because it was all I could stomach let alone swallow. We once again threw our hands up and said, this isn't working, we need to take a break & start over.

And this brings me to an important point: When we are acutely sick, our bodies need a lot of fast energy to fight off infection without expending that limited energy on digestion. That means SIMPLE CARBS! That means some sugar and potatoes and white flour. Even if I don't eat those things normally, they'd crept back into my house after years of increasing acute illnesses requiring that BRAT-style diet. NOT giving your body the simple foods it needs to get through an illness can have serious consequences, like pneumonia to which I'm already very prone, so when I say it's kind of dangerous not to retreat to those comfort foods when you're sick I'm not just being melodramatic. And I have the medical history to prove it from NOT giving my body simple carbs when it needs it, leading to --dun dun dun-- that month with three courses of antibiotics.

So the next Start Over is going to be Monday. Give me two more days to get over this cold, start at the beginning of a new week again. Two weeks of false starts is super frustrating. We haven't even stuck with it long enough to know if it's worth it. We had a good 5 day stretch during which I seemed to have less pain & more energy, but nothing is really clear yet. Monday. Looking toward Monday.

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.

*********************
Next up, Part Two: False Starts.
There was an error in this gadget