Friday, March 8, 2013

The Rundown

I haven't been blogging much lately because:

1. I'm just rereading old books
2. I'm no longer dating anyone
3. I would pretty much just be blogging about how terrible I feel all the time.

Not exactly uplifting, or anywhere near entertaining.

However, I'm getting ready to blog about my health, because I'm (hopefully) entering a new and exciting phase of recovery.

As of tomorrow.

You see, I finally found a doctor in Texas who realizes that your body's systems work together, and that you can't separate your digestive system's malfunctions from your immune system's malfunctions, because without one, the other doesn't work.

A few months ago, I went to see a gastroenterologist who pooh-poohed my explanation that my Reynaud's syndrome had improved significantly since I gave up gluten, dairy, and nightshades. "That won't have anything to do with it," he said, "Reynaud's is autoimmune: it doesn't have anything to do with your digestion."

Undoubtedly, you are now sitting before your computer or PDA or iPhone or whatever electronic device you carry, jaw on the table/lap/floor, trying to figure out how the man has a job. But here's the thing: his response is essentially the same response I've received from every doctor I've seen: the rheumatologist, the general practitioner, the pain management specialist. All of them seem to be under the mistaken impression that the body's systems function independently.

And I'm (supposedly) in the healthcare capital of the world, people!

Anyhoo, there's a doctor 45 minutes north of Houston who treats the body holistically. She has diagnosed me with a - very yucky - gastrointestinal yeast infection.


Granted, I suspected for a while that this was the diagnosis - I've researched the hell out of my body, because apparently none of my doctors was going to - so I wasn't at all surprised.

The doctor linked my constant state of exhaustion to adrenal fatigue, because my body is unable to create cortisol due to its constant immune battle against the yeast. (The rest of my hormones are also wonky. It's really fun. Really.)

Starting tomorrow, I begin Phase I of a 28+ day yeast cleanse.

"What the hell is a yeast cleanse?" you ask?

It's a week (or more) of eating, low-sugar/starch vegetables, nuts, and meat. Add in an anti-fungal medication and a bunch of nutritional supplements - because the yeast in my gut is interfering with my ability to digest and absorb nutrients, so I have to get them in the simplest way possible.

I can also drink protein shakes for breakfast, because breakfast is required. And like hell I'm getting up 30 minutes early to scramble eggs.

After the week (or more) of veggies+nuts+meat, I can add in 1-2 servings of fruit per day, but preferably relatively low-sugar fruits, like berries. Bananas are evidently verboten. This continues for 3+ weeks, or until the doctor says I can have a smidgen of dairy or sugar, again. But she might keep me on the strict diet for an additional 2-3 weeks, depending on my progress.

So, no refined sugars, no yeast, no cow dairy (a little sheep or goat cheese is okay), no soy (which isn't a problem), and no gluten (also not a problem).

Did I mention that I have a nutritionist on-call 12 hours per day 6 days per week, in case I have a question? And that I can call or email my nurse at any time with questions?

Because I totally can. I know. It's CRAZY.

Considering how much I've spent in the past 5 years trying to get healthy, the price tag for the treatment ($3000, including supplements, blood tests, nutritionist, the whole shebang) isn't bad.

I - and my very generous and supportive parents - think it's worth it.

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