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Week 18 – UPDATE

Well, I’m going to get right to it. Hang on to your hats….my candida overgrowth is gone (or essentially gone)!

When I went to my ‘alternative’ doctor last week and he gave this news, I was shocked. Honestly, it was the last thing I expected. Primarily because I still don’t feel well. Yes, my foggy head has cleared up but my muscles still ache and my tongue is still burning. So, what’s the deal?

The doc made his determination based on a second stool test which he compared to one taken eight months earlier. I did not take a test which definitively says ‘yes’ your candida overgrowth is gone or ‘no’ it isn’t. (Apparently, that test is quite expensive. True? Is anyone familiar with that?) With my test, the doc looks for specific indicators. For example, eight months ago, I had no growth with two beneficial bacteria (escherichia coli and bifidobacterium). Now, both are growing very well — an excellent sign. Also, my beta-glucuronidase levels doubled, which apparently indicates something (candida) isn’t taking sugar from my system. One negative: my lactobacilus species beneficial bacteria reversed, going from growth to no growth. The doc thinks that’s because of the probiotic I was using and now placed me on a new one.

I’ve been instructed to slowly add some food items into my diet, which is easier said than done. After being on this strict diet for so long, it’s difficult to change, mostly out of concern of what negative side effects might occur. Here are some of my modifications:

* I’ve been eating a lot more cashews recently and can’t determine whether they make me feel worse or not, which, I suppose, is an okay sign. So, once again, they’ve become my go-to crunchy snack.

* I also added a chicken breast without any ill effects.

* Adding fruit has been a different story. I ate 5 blueberries in the morning and seemed okay. Then, I ate 5 again the next morning followed by 10 in the afternoon. I seemed to feel worse. Is it the fructose? Is it my imagination? I felt really tired. I did have a bad night’s sleep the night before so I might be willing to try blueberries again this weekend.

* I also tried kefir. This time rather than making my own I opted to buy an organic brand. It was so tasty, I drank a bit more than I intended. (Several sips…followed by a few more several hours later.) Small hives appeared on my face that night — really disappointing. (Not to mention annoying.) This is somewhat better than the immediate headache I suffered the last time I tried homemade kefir. So, why am I still reacting to plain kefir? I understand it’s supposed to the be-all end-all good food for the digestive tract. Perhaps there are too many good bacteria for me to handle?

* Last night I couldn’t resist and sipped a small amount of organic eggnog. Gosh…it was delicious! I didn’t have any side effects.

While my candida overgrowth may be interpreted as gone, my system remains delicate. Just one week prior, during my Thanksgiving seafood extravaganza, I experienced a bad setback. Thanksgiving Day went great: stone crab claws, lobster, veggies…no problem. But, the next day, when I went for round #2 of the same food, I suddenly was overcome with such a bad headache I was out of commission for most of the day/night. It was very discouraging. The only explanation I can come up with is that I ingested too much ammonia from the seafood.

So, what’s my course of action? Well, the doc took me off one enzyme as well as a pre-biotic and changed my probiotic. I’m going to stick to the overall diet (including my supplements) while trying to add some new foods. For example, as I mentioned, I’ll probably try berrries again this weekend. Raster’s recent updates remind me how careful we need to be with our diets. While I’m told the candida is gone…obviously, my system is still recovering or has some other undiagnosed problem. I don’t intend on going hog wild eating anything and everything. Around Halloween, I had a really bad day at work. I grabbed a piece of chocolate from a bowl I had available for office visitors, unwrapped it, put it up to my lips and was about to sink my teeth into it when I heard a little voice inside my head say, ‘Don’t do it! You’ll regret it and you’ll probably feel awful.’ I tossed the chocolate in the wastebasket. This has been such a long journey, I don’t want to destroy any in-roads I may have made by suddenly switching up my diet.

Besides slowly reintroducing some foods, I’m also looking into acupuncture and possibly taking ashwagandha. I guess all these months on the diet I was thinking there would be a magic day when the switch would be tripped in my body and all of a sudden I could eat fruit and drink kefir without any side effects. Perhaps my body needs more time. And less stress.

If I can enjoy a small glass of eggnog this season without any side effects, that’s going to make my Christmas! Here’s to good health, everyone!