In the Haze of Moving, A Pause to Overnight my Urine to Minnesota.

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You could call that gross, or you could just call it a routine day in my life.

In the crush and mess of moving, I’m doing my best to stay on track with managing my health. Frankly, I’m not doing that great of a job. I’m working too hard, I’m not resting enough, and I’m not making enough time for the things that help me feel well — both physically and mentally.

However, I did make time to keep on track with my GI doctor in Minnesota. He’s currently treating me for yeast overgrowth in my GI tract. I really like my GI doctor, so I decided to work with him long distance when we moved. Fortunately, he has patients all over the country, so he’s used to that.

But, working with a doctor long distance means getting him the information he needs to monitor your progress, so that’s where the urine comes in. While handling my own urine is not my favorite thing to do, I just accept it as part of my reality. And honestly, it was pretty simple. I just collected it, froze it and then overnighted it.

The good news is I’m making progress on the yeast front. My initial infection rated 2.75 (whatever that means), and I’m down to a 1 now. I think the goal is to get to zero, so I’m definitely headed in the right direction. This is very good news considering I had great difficulty tolerating the recommended treatment due to my extreme sensitivity to medication. My doctor wanted me to take three different anti-microbials in fairly high doses, but I was only able to tolerate one of them at the very lowest dose. You can read more about that here.

Since I am so sensitive to medication, this is definitely a marathon not a sprint, but my doctor says I just need to keep at it slowly and steadily, and that’s what I intend to do.

I actually feel a little better in the GI department. Not go-out-and-have-a-burger-and-fries-better. It’s more that I’m eating the same things I usually do, but I feel better doing so. I count that as progress, and I’ll take what I can get.

My GI problems remain a mystery. I have very slow motility, which means my GI tract moves very, very slowly. In fact, it moves so slowly, there is no possible way I can digest enough calories in a single day to maintain my weight. That’s why I’m on a mostly liquid diet.

All my lyme doctors blame my motility disorder on the fact I have chronic lyme disease. Just another side effect.  Non-lyme doctors are not so sure. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction, which is a fancy way of saying your small intestine isn’t really working, and we have no idea why. I’ve met with several GI doctors who are sure my issues are not lyme related, but don’t have any other answers.

Long ago, I decided to let everybody be right. If the lyme doctors think treating lyme will also treat my gut, then great. Have at it. If GI doctors think treating other issues related to my GI tract will solve my problems, they can have at it too. So that’s what I’m doing. Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI) seems to be keeping my non-GI lyme issues in check. On the GI front, I just continue to plunk away at whatever comes up. Right now, it’s the yeast overgrowth. Once that’s under control, my GI doctor wants to look at other things, and we will see what that yields.

That’s the best I can do for now.

Sometimes I take stock and think I’m doing pretty well. Then I remember I only eat one solid meal per day, and that sort of scares me. How well can I be doing if I’m on a mostly liquid diet?

But the truth is, the liquid diet probably saved my life, as I was 81 pounds and still falling when I started it. I can’t imagine how much lower I could have gone while still maintaining life. So, I’m far removed from that horror.

But I’m also far removed from normal eating and digesting. That’s a hard place to be. In fact, I got a few tears as I typed that. I’m not sad about the food I’m not having — I got over that long ago. I’m sad because I wonder about my future. Will my digestion ever be restored to something that feels more normal? Or am I looking at it?

When I get into thought patterns like that, I remind myself to take a step back. I have to remember I have 100% control over the effort I put in every day, but zero control over the ultimate outcome. That’s out of my hands, and the less I think about the outcome, the more free I feel.

Which brings me back to today. I don’t have the answers to my complex GI riddle. However, I know I have yeast overgrowth. And I know taking care of it will help me feel incrementally better. So, I will focus on that. And when I’m done with the yeast, I will focus on the next thing, whatever that may be.

And in that manner, I will just keep going. Never giving up. Always hoping for the best.

 

My Anti-Yeast Protocol is Getting Off to a Slow Start. That’s OK. I’ll Get There.

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My recent GI testing revealed I have an overabundance of yeast, and a deficiency of good bacteria. In other words, my gut is unbalanced. I wrote about it in this post a few days ago.

The yeast overgrowth is likely not the cause of my GI problems, rather a result of them. Getting rid of the yeast won’t solve my problems, but it may help me feel incrementally better. And I’m all for anything that helps in any way.

Unfortunately, yeast is a beast and it does not give way easily. It can take months to restore the proper bacterial balance in the gut, and the protocols typically involve supplements and diet modification.

My doctor prescribed a Gastrointestinal Restoration Protocol (GRP). Sexy, right?

The GRP involves five objectives, all carried out currently, as follows:

  1. Remove Therapy. In other words, kill the yeast using anti-microbial agents (i.e. herbal antibiotics).
  2. Reinoculation Therapy. Probiotics to add good bacteria.
  3. Replace Therapy. Often when your gut is imbalanced, you don’t produce enough digestive enzymes, so you replace them with supplements.
  4. Repair Therapy. Supplements to heal the mucosal lining. Again, sexy.
  5. Rebalance Therapy. This is support for the brain, as an imbalanced gut can negatively impact brain functioning.

Any time I’m given a new protocol like this, I need to introduce the supplements very slowly — usually one or two every three days or so. I start with a small dose and slowly work up to the recommended dose. I must do it this way because I am extremely sensitive to medication, and have had too many bad reactions to count.

I wasn’t too concerned about the supplements in steps 2-5, as they are pretty innocuous, but I suspected I would have trouble with the anti-microbials in step one, based on my prior history. My GI doctor prescribed three different anti-microbials, and I introduced them one at a time. I only made it about 5 days on half the lowest recommended dose of the first one before getting sick. No surprise. I’ve been in that movie many times.

My GI doctor recommended setting that one aside for a while, and moving on to the next one, which I’ve done. I’ve taken half the lowest dose for four days without incident, so I’m going to slowly ramp up the dose each day until I am at the highest recommended dose, or I get sick. Whichever happens first. Based on how things go, I will introduce the third anti-microbial somewhere along the way,

 

I will be on this protocol for several months, with check-ins along the way to see if I am making progress towards killing yeast and introducing more beneficial bacteria. My GI doctor said once we get the yeast under control there is other testing he wants to do, but he’s very methodical and wants to take it one step at a time.

I’m on board with that.

This is a perfect illustration of life with chronic illness. While you live in hope of resolving the root cause or your problems, you chip away at whatever is popping up at any given time. Right now, it’s yeast.

This is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint, and I will never, ever give up on trying to regain all I have lost.


Addendum.

I am intentionally vague about mentioning specific supplements and medications I take because I am not a doctor and I don’t want anybody doing anything based on my advice alone. But I know there are many people out there battling yeast, and I also know it can be a challenge, so I am going to share the specifics of my protocol in the event it might help somebody. But please use this for informational purposes only, and if you think something might be right for you, please talk to your doctor. Most of the supplements and anti-microbials in my protocol can only be obtained from a doctor, so I feel fairly confident nobody is going to run with scissors here.

Here we go:

  • Remove Therapy. These are herbal antibiotics that are as powerful as pharmaceutical antibiotics, and sometimes more effective.
    • Morinda Supreme (this is the one that made me sick at a very low dose), Candibactin-BR by Metagenics. So far so good on this one.
    • GI-MicorbX by Designs for Health. Have not started this yet.
  • Reinoculation Therapy.
    • Ultraflora IB by Metagenics. Mega probiotic. 120 billion per day.
  • Replace Therapy. Enzymes to help with digestion.
    • Spectrazyme PAN 9x ES by Metagenics.
    • Betaine and Pepsin by OrthoMolecular.
  • Repair Therapy. Nutrients and phytonutrients for the mucosal lining of the gut.
    • L-Glutamine Powder by NutraBio
    • Zinlori-75 by Metagenics
    • Curcumin BCM-95 by Progressive Laboratories
  • Rebalance Therapy. This is support for the brain, as an imbalanced gut can negatively impact brain functioning.
    • NAC-600 by NutriDyn

Additionally, I am on long term bone nutrients, as I have osteoporosis as a result of my severe weight loss:

  • Bone Builder Active by Metagenics.
  • OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 1000 (Fish Oil) by Metagenics.