A Blog For Those Affected By Environmental And Invisible Illnesses Written By Fellow Survivors
A year in review
Well, what a year, and one which I can probably say has ended slightly on the positive side. I wouldn’t say that I’ve picked up a huge amount of forward momentum, but more stopped the rot and stabilised. Also coming across GAPs towards the latter part of the year has filled me with a deep confidence that recovery is possible, despite how complicated it seems at the moment.
Despite knowing allot about my health and what I thought I needed to do to try and get better, this year did see some moments that further plunged me into illness and toxicity. If I remember correctly there were at least 3 occasions where I binged on food. These weren’t your average binges either, they were huge, jolting my body from a generally low carb diet to massive amounts of sweets, breads, junk food, drinks etc for days at a time. This was partly fuelled by depression, but also a lack of stability diet wise as I became increasingly aware of how sensitive I was to even healthy low GI carbohydrates and their ability to encourage a devastation of food. These were old feelings re-surfaced as sugar addiction was in part responsible for my health decline about 2.5 years ago.
It wasn’t until September this year when I managed to stop the rot. The most recently and hopefully last binge was when I went back for some more blood tests and an endoscopy. Surprise surprise everything came out normal and having to do a reasonable fast for the endoscopy and having no choice but to consume carbohydrates from clear liquids in the form of sugar, acted as a catalyst after the procedure to hit the chocolate and everything else.
Touch wood those days are well and truly behind me now. In fact I did stray from the diet at Christmas but haven’t beat myself up about it too much. Whereas last year I strayed and ate things like peanuts, crisps, chocolate and all the components of a roast dinner, this year ‘cheats’ were some buckwheat, sunflower seeds, adzuki beans and a small amount of sweet potato. None really GAPs legal and I did consciously have to be a bit mindful of not overdoing the carbs and revisiting that ‘bad place’ but soooo much better than the Christmas before. I’d like to think my mood around family and friends was also improved as a result of somewhat more controlled cheats than the year previous, where I spent the majority of the day constipated, depressed, emotional and in my room while the family played games.
However, I still have a looong way to go and am not quite sure how to go about it this coming year. I have identified that my gut and liver are the prime problems, and potentially the cause of all my health issues. Throw in allot of adrenal stress, either as a result of these problems or as a causative factor.
What’s really tested my character this year has been quite a few failed attempts at supplements and different foods. The first experiment was with eggs – local, organic and free range of course, half a teaspoon a day. In spite of symptoms I increased to one yolk and held at this level for about a month. Let’s just say my brain effectively stopped working for this month! I had chronic intense brain fog, anxiety, less stable blood sugars and generally felt extremely agitated and ramped up. Quite different from the ‘flu’ of die off and thus I had to admit defeat.
Next was sauerkraut, and interestingly I had a similar reaction to that of the eggs. Add to that a bit of a craving and it had all the hallmarks of an intolerance. This one frustrated me as I so wanted to align myself to as many components of the GAPs diet and WAP in general as I could, but my body was seemingly rejecting each attempt, even with the low and slow approach. This perhaps might suggest some form of sulphur issue, which no doubt is in part or predominantly due to a lack of decent gut flora.
Given my struggles with natural foodstuffs, I then decided to try going the capsulated probiotic route. It started okay (okay meaning I didn’t experience much of an effect) on 30 billion capsule once in the morning. Diarrhea then hit for the first time in about 3 years (I’m generally constipated) and lasted a few days. Through fear of loosing too much weight on an already skeleton body I abandoned the probiotics and gave my body a chance to ‘reset’. Fortunately it did, and as oppose to starting up the same brand, I instead opted for the uber strong custom probiotics.
These unfortunately caused me some problems, problems which seemed to linger despite ceasing the dosage. This was/is a real tough period and my liver was screaming for weeks. Seemingly nothing helped, enema’s, backing off supplements, reducing foods to make them as digestible as possible etc.
And that’s pretty much where I’m still at. To summarise my symptoms at the moment….
- Liver/Gallbladder stress. Such a massive problem. Usually with it comes some digestive discomfort in the form of a gnawing bloating feeling in the stomach. Also really locks me up in terms of trying to make inroads into the Candida and leaky gut as healing reactions are too difficult.
- Constipation. Another biggy, although I have made some progress with the discovery that magnesium citrate helps. Ties in a little with the liver as loose and free flowing bowels seemingly takes a little stress off of it and ensures I’m eliminating toxins.
- Irritated gut. Pretty much where I suspect all the problems lie. My colon ‘feels’ very inflamed, noticeable especially when passing bowels movements and no doubt my small intestine isn’t in great shape either. Despite the comprehensive gut healing approach of GAPs, it been hard to implement much either due to sensitivities or the liver kicking up a fuss. Not quite sure what my next move will be.
- Chronic fatigue. I’m fairly immobile throughout the day, typically only having the energy to jump in my car and go to work, then jump back. This effectively means I’m trapped by my illness and am quite isolated, which certainly doesn’t help the mood. Really just have to hope and pray that some energy will come from somewhere such that I can pursue hobbies/interests etc and oddly hope I have the energy to relax!
- Food sensitivities. I have too many to count, seemingly reacting to carbs in general, ‘potent’ foods such as tomato’s, onions, garlic, eggs etc, dairy, yeast, nuts and struggling with too much fiber from veg. Gut and liver combined I suspect are responsible here.
So I go into the new year in a bit of a muddled cloud. Despite GAPs being a very specific and laid out protocol, I feel I might need to approach a practitioner of some sort for some general advice and to keep me on the straight and narrow. I have no idea if what I’m doing is right in terms of supplements, foods etc and can only guess based on my reaction to trying things. For example I’d like to know if it’s possible and relatively cheap what my mineral levels might be or how I can support the liver rather than feel like it’s being stimulated, or whether my very low carb diet is actually beneficial.
Away from the food I also hope to make some big changes. My environment isn’t exactly productive to healing at the moment due to sharing with people I don’t generally click with in an old house. Considering the kitchen is pretty much ‘The hub’ of the GAPs diet its frustrating when space has to be shared or people don’t clean up equipment you want to use etc etc. I may be able to start looking for my own place although know it will be a significant financial expense.
Away from GAPs I also don’t do allot. I’m often tied to my computer through physical exhaustion and don’t really have many friendships. I’ve always been the independant type and now that I’m always shattered at the times I have time to socialise I find it tricky to hit that ideal combination of stress free, enjoyable, sociable activities. I’ve also neglected to do enough relaxation in the form of meditation, baths etc, which again unfortunately is dependant somewhat on my environment.
I also feel I need to divert funds to healing rather than being so tight. Being male I have a natural attraction to gadgets and the like and despite overall being quite good with my money, I often find I’ve purchased this game which I won’t be able to play or a certain supplement I won’t use. I could for example use this on some regular acupuncture or some form of therapy/relaxation that might be beneficial. Ultimately I want to be able to pursue some interests such as learning a language or learning a musical instrument but mind and body have to be willing. Will be no use if I’m effectively immobilised with liver ache the night I have a language/music lesson.
So all in all I’m trying to remain positive. I’m probably in a slightly better spot than last year although have a long way to go.