My story: please help me figure this out…

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    Hi guys, I’ll try to make this brief but need to also make sure I’m thorough.

    Saw a gastro back on June 17 for some questions about my bowel movements the past year or so. My concerns: Week would be normal except without fail I’d have a day or two where I had to constantly use the bathroom, like urgently. And repeatedly. Then things would go back to normal. This was my life the past year (maybe longer). At the point I decided to see the gastro, I had increased gas and burping, would wake up daily with a sore throat, always freezing feet, little white specks in my stool, pale stools for months, never had firm stools (but not loose and watery either), my anus was itchy, but had no stomach pains. It was just the annoyance and unpredictability that led me to seek out his help. Basically I never knew what was in store for me on a day to day basis and it kept me home more often than not.

    I made sure to tell him my history: Two years ago and approximately two months after having some reconstructive surgery (ear, my second in six months), my ENT diagnosed me with pharyngeal candida overgrowth. This, after my primary care doc just said it looked inflamed and put me on a week of antibiotics. The ENT treated it with nystatin oral suspension for two weeks, then two weeks of mycelex troches. It was cured, and I went about my happy, junk-food loving life. And continued to have four more surgeries (and accompanying weeks of antibiotics with each one) over the past two years. I told the gastro this, because I felt it might be explain the weird stomach concerns. He dismissed it. The gastro’s response: let’s do an endoscopy and colonoscopy. I’m 39, btw. (And, for what it’s worth, I’ve had 8 amalgam fillings placed over the past 3-4 years and 2-3 of flu shots in that timeframe as well.)

    So we did. And he didn’t find anything. Just said to eat more fiber and use a cheap probiotic (Phillips Colon Health, low count). Thinking I was on my way to “firming” things up, I went back to my fast-food life again and running on a treadmill nightly.

    Four days after the procedure: Burping like crazy, literally every minute if not more. And a squeezing pressure localized directly in the center of my chest. Everything I read said it was just the gas buildup from the endoscopy, so I figured I’d tough it out. Three-to-four days after that, a new symptom: inflammed throat feeling like it was swelling shut. I feared going to sleep at night because various positions made it hard for me to breath. A day or two later: dizziness, nausea, elevated heart rate, and strangely, chest pain. Like muscle pain across my pectorals that felt like I’d done a million pushups the night before. At this point, I had stopped working out so it wasn’t that.

    Went to the ER twice. Anxiety, they said. Take some muscle relaxants. Took some xrays. Showed nothing.

    Tried seeing my gastro during all this, he wouldn’t take my phone calls. Had to relay through his secretary, asking for stool testing or if something went wrong during the procedure. He said everything was normal and said everyone has bacteria in their stool (at this point I’d started putting the symptoms together and assumed candida). I haven’t seen him since, because he won’t see me. I think he’s convinced I’m crazy or looking to sue him for a botched procedure…

    Saw my ENT again, the one from two years ago (who also put me on 40mg daily dose of omeprazole to combat acid reflex — I’m weening off it now and have it down to 20mg every other day). He said the pharyngeal candida was back and worse then he’d ever seen before. So he put me on mycelex trouches for two weeks. They helped, about 20%. He was reluctant to try anything else for fear of hurting my liver.

    So I suffered for a few months. Found another ENT who was self-admittedliy ignorant to what he was seeing. I got him to prescribe me some nystatin (oral suspension, bad I know). We did that for two weeks, and it helped about 20% again. Found a third ENT, who scoped me, said “I don’t see nothin’ — lemme up your PPI dose.” So two ENTS see something and the third doesn’t. Needless to say, I ignored his prescription. Went back and Begged the second ENT to please give me fluconazole, because if what I was dealing with was esophageal candida, then that was the normal protocol I’ve read. 100mg for 2 weeks. That helped about 25%.

    Another gastro I saw on a whim in L.A. extended the dose a week and put me on VSL#3 for a month. Still on them now, and my bowel movements are pretty normalized, yet still not “log-like” and firm. But no more random days of weird movements. I’d also been using a 14-strain, 5 billion count probiotic I bought off Amazon leading up to that (Hyperbiotics) which really changed things for the better immediately. So I’m a believer in probiotics.

    At this point (Sept. 13), I’d had my own blood testing ordered online and done by a local lab. Here are the results: Do they look aggressively high or not-so-high to you?

    C. Albicans IGG 1.6
    C. Albicans IGA 1.3
    C. Albicans IGM 1.4

    The interpretive range being: <1.0 antibody not detected, and > or = 1.0 antibody detected.

    So I found another gastro, and he said my symptoms were consistent with candida overgrowth. For the first time, I found a doctor who wasn’t being dismissive and I had testing that showed SOMETHING. He said I was being undertreated and put me on 200mg fluconazole a little over a week ago.

    So here are my questions, and thank you for being patient to get to this part:

    1. I’ve noticed less and less white specks appearing in my stool over the past couple of weeks. Surely, this is a good sign right? Unlike the other stories I’ve read here and everywhere, I’ve never had massive amounts of thread-like mucus or wormy things in my stool (except once immedately after starting a Candida Support pill I tried off Amazon). But my urine all this time is showing what looks like little dust particles (maybe slightly bigger) without fail every time. Candida?
    2. With each successive antifungal treatment, I notice I feel better immediately then a week later, issues will crop up. Up until today, for the past week, my chest muscle pain and center chest pressure pretty much disappeared. Then last night they came on again and are present right now. Today I was foggy brained, weak and tired. Can I assume I’m now experiencing die-off due to the latest, stronger round of fluconazole?
    3. My, what I’m assuming was, esophageal pain (in the center of my chest) has really mostly disappeared, yet my throat and pharyx area still feel overgrown and inflammed. Does healing need to work it’s way up the tissue? I mean, how could I be healing one site without affecting the other?
    4. I’ve been suffering from some pretty bad dry eye and, quite new to me, tinnitus the past week. These are things I never noticed before. Normal?
    5. From day one (late June), I’ve been waking up everyday with a racing heartbeat. This was before even knowing what I was dealing with. This is a die-off sign, yet at that point I hadn’t even done anything.
    6. How the heck could I have an endoscopy and colonoscopy four days before all this and the doctor not find a thing, including parasites?
    7. Is it true die-off gets easier each time, lasting for a shorter duration as the candida is beaten back to it’s last throes?

    My symptoms lately: bruised feeling throat along with tightness, some random achy chest muscles, some wrist joint pain, burping now and then but not as bad as it was initially, super dry eyes, ringing in my ears, always cold feed and hands yet hot everywhere else, the feeling of a catheter when I urinate (don’t use one), constant rapid heartbeat and feeling jittery and anxious — and the latest one over the past two days: I smell a bleach-like substance in the air around me. I’d say the bruised throat feeling is the worst part of it, lately. It’s been there 24/7 for four months now. And the chest muscle pain coming in second.

    And yes, I’ve been following a pretty rigid diet and only drinking distilled water for the past four months. Admittedly, I do slip up and try something like tacos or pasta once every two weeks. Lately, I’m determined to not do that again. It’s bland food for me from here on out. Quick question: Can I drink straight up almond milk (unsweetened, Silk brand)? Getting tired of only drinking water here…

    I’ve got another followup planned with the gastro at the end of my fluconazole treatment (in approx. two weeks) and went ahead and made an appointment with my ENT a few days prior for visual confirmation that the pharynx area is improving, even though I still feel like it hasn’t. The gastro will probably want to do an endoscopy to look around. Is the candida something that visually can be seen in a procedure like this?

    And finally, is candida something that can ultimately be an afterthought and “cured” in the sense that I could have some pizza or Oreos, say, a couple of times a month or are those days over forever? I’m sick of drinking nothing but water every day.

    EDIT: Wanted to add one last thing: I have a surgery scheduled in late November (more ear reconstruction). At this point, should I just cancel? No doubt I’ll be put on antibiotics for a week after it, but if antibiotics are what got me here in the first place … I can’t win. I really need this surgery, and it’ll happen sooner or later. Can I muscle through it and just be strict with the diet and probiotics and antifungals while I recover?

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