After getting a call from the naturopath saying that my blood test results were in, I made an appointment for that same week. I was torn between wanting answers and wanting to live in ignorance, since I had a feeling that things were going to change.
As we walked back to the room I remarked, “I bet the results don’t really show anything, huh?”
The doctor chuckled. “Well, you might be surprised…”
The first thing she showed me was the food allergy results… they were worse than I had expected. Strong reactions to dairy and gluten (kinda figured), but also strong reactions to beef and eggs! I had moderate reactions to several other things, including mushrooms and garlic, which meant that I could only have them once or twice a week at most.
My initial reaction when seeing that I was reacting strongly to dairy was “YES! I was right!” I figured that while these intolerances would suck, I could live with it. Yeah, that feeling didn’t last long.
The doctor then pointed to the bottom of the sheet, which showed a strong, high result for a fungal infection called Candida albicans. She went on to explain that everyone has candida growing in their gut as part of a healthy body, but that due to factors beyond my control there was now an imbalance / infection. Stress, and possibly past antibiotic use (when I was a kid) had thrown things off enough for the candida to run crazy.
And thaaaats when things started to go off the rails.
Candida is an opportunistic little bugger that feeds on sugar, whether from diet or from elevated blood sugar (think stress raising blood sugar levels). When the body’s defenses are lowered and candida starts to invade, it can throw off mycotoxins which can cause just about every one of my seemingly random symptoms.
To summarize the very long appointment, I would need to cut out my allergens and adhere to a strict no-sugar diet, in order to starve the infection. Whoa, wait, I thought, this was NOT what I had planned!
Absolutely no: dairy, gluten, eggs, or beef.
Severely limit: lamb, clams (really?), garlic, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, xanthan gum, sheep’s milk, allspice, black pepper (seriously?!), ginger, mustard (oh come on!!!), nutmeg, turmeric, alfalfa, bamboo shoots, black beans, and kelp. (Some of these random intolerances may clear up after managing the infection).
And that’s not taking into account the candida diet – no sugar. At all. even from fruits and starchy veggies, which would break down into sugar.
I left that appointment with several new meds/supplements, instructions to change my eating style, and encouragement from the doctor. After getting the prescription filled and went to my parents house (was already planning on spending the night). It didn’t really hit me until I was trying to explain everything to my parents. I remember telling them that I felt somewhat vindicated, being told that I had been right all along. But having to make such a huge lifestyle change was (and still is) very overwhelming.
Oh, and to add the cherry on top, my labs showed that my thyroid is slightly out of whack. That had to be the biggest “I was right!” feeling of the whole deal, since I’ve been saying for years that I thought something was off with my thyroid.
So, to summarize:
- Multiple food allergies / intolerances
- Candida infection
- Thyroid issues
- Cholesterol levels too low, likely from malabsorptiton (did I forget to mention this bit?)
Feeling very overwhelmed. No idea how this is going to work out.