Health Talk

My own kind of bliss, calm after the storm

imagesDid you know if you have one autoimmune disease, you are very likely to get a second?! There are 90 known autoimmune diseases, including more commonly known ailments, like diabetes.

But this post is about the  calm after the storm, so i will tell you the good news:  my SIBO is gone! I know, I can feel it in my body. It happened last time I was on an anti-SIBO regime — that time 7 months of a strong antimicrobial herbal cocktail.  This time it was 2 weeks  of xifaxan, an antibiotic.

I woke up this morning with the same peaceful bliss that I experienced a few months ago when I was SIBO free for about 3 weeks. It is like stepping into a sunlight clearing after traversing a deep forest. Or sitting with my dog on theIMG_0393 beach on a clear warm day. It is like watching Bambi and Thumper. It is like the feeling one gets after a week of meditation and yoga at a retreat center.  Or like being a child, laying on the grass watching the clouds go by.  I remember this, I told myself as I lay in bed.

Last time, the feeling stayed with me day in and day out. It made me realize that all the hard work I’ve done on myself (yoga, meditation, personal healing) was actually changing me, except I didn’t perceive it. Celiac, SIBO, Hashimotos — I lump them together because they are all connected for me — had robbed me of peace for so long, I forgot what it felt like to not be anxious, depressed, or generally on edge, or the other extreme, lethargic. I forgot what it felt like to feel really good, except in the moment when I was trying to feel good, like at yoga or meditation.

A4cHeBsXShNabZqZ8gSTAxCSPP5Sgi5OCNi6N0vBThat peace never lasted.

The SIBO-free peace does.

I remember once, when at the Kripalu Center for a weekend retreat,  I felt so good and such a sense of well-beingness, that when I went to bed that night, I asked for a dream to show me how to make the feeling last.  Instead of a sweet dream, I woke a few hours later from a horrible nightmare. In the dream I was trapped in a house with a man who had methodically cut my family into pieces and put them in a bag.  I remember thinking, No, not me, too, and then I awoke.

My mother and father died at young ages, my mother from Pancreatic cancer, my father from 2 other forms of cancer. My mother clearly had undiagnosed celiac and Hashimoto symptoms before she was diagnosed with cancer. Once diagnosed, she gave up quickly because she had been struggling for so long.

Looking back, I think this dream WAS  showing me the road to lasting peace. I had to prevent myself from being cut into pieces by my autoimmune diseases. These diseases not only create war within us (our body attacks itself), they keep us from ourselves. I know when I’m feeling poorly, I turn inward toward myself, focusing on the bits of me that feel bad, forgetting the parts of me that don’t.  the_bodiless_princess_by_yomeromeI feel less connected and compassionate toward others. When I was younger, I did the opposite, I pushed the illness way,  bifurcating my body from the rest of myself. Eventually, that strategy caught up with me. And pulled me to my knees.

We live in a world of juxtaposition, and I remind myself that if I don’t know the storm, I can’t recognize the peace.

This thought helped me these past few months when my SIBO came back. When I started feeling off, tired, cranky, depressed and generally anxious, I was able to remind myself that these feelings weren’t me. They were my disease.

And that soon, peace would return.

 

 

 

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Celiac, SIBO, Hashimoto’s, Oh Boy!

SIBO

I had planned to wait to write about health issues, until my health issues were resolved. To give you a retrospect, so to speak. But since my health issues are not resolved, AND I’ve come to realize how big a part they’ve played in my life, I decided to start sharing now.

The last year has been quite difficult health-wise. I was finally diagnosis with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO),  a problem some experts say is common in more that 50% of celiac patients.

Here is what Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center says on their website:

 Take Home Message:

  • SIBO is a common problem seen in celiac disease.
  • The symptoms of SIBO are the same as those of celiac disease.
  • If you carefully follow the gluten-free diet and have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about getting tested for SIBO.

SIBO is relatively easy to diagnosis, but VERY difficult to treat. That is because SIBO is not itself a disease, but rather the END RESULT of a problem.  According to Dr. Mona Moristen:  The actual problem in SIBO is the damage to the migrating motor complex, which moves food out of the stomach and into the gut and then through the small gut into the colon, where peristalsis takes over. Its damage to the MCC, via damage to the nerves/interstitial cells of cajal and the muscle fibers/vincudin, which is the disease. The end result of the disease is colonic backwash of bacteria into the small intestine which then proliferates, damages the lining of the small gut, causing an inability to produce disaccharidases and causing leaky gut.

Leaky Gut

From personal experience, I would agree that what is vernacularly known as “Leaky Gut” is a big problem and the first thing that has to be addressed. I was tested for food sensitivities and the panel came back showing that I was highly sensitive to ALL the food I was eating. Yep, that’s leaky gut. The food penetrates the intestinal track. Your body, not recognizing the foreign substance (antigen), says Invader, Invader, attack attack, and produces antibodies.  Which for me, resulted in fatigue, nausea, foggy brain, joint pain, bloating, gastro discomfort, weight gain — basically all the same symptoms I get eating gluten!

Low Stomach Acid

To complicate matters, many with SIBO also have low or no stomach acid. (Yep) Without adequate stomach acid, you can’t process fats or proteins –which usually means you have indigestion, and often weight gain. (Some on SIBO lose weight–I am in the weight gainer camp.) I was on a gluten free, dairy free, FODMAP diet and still having gastro problems. My doctor suggested I take apple cider vinegar (acv) and also prescribed bitters for me to take with each meal. But my intestinal track had become ulcerated–I could not tolerate acv, bitters or even fermented foods. So what did I do? I poured over the internet hours each day until i found a convergence of alternative thought saying turmeric, cabbage juice and Cistus Incanus (only from Greece) would help resolve intestinal ulcers so that low stomach acid and leaky gut could be addressed.  By golly, those German naturopaths were right, those things halted the inflammation, got rid of the ulcers and allowed me to start taking acv, lemon water and bitters to deal with my lack of stomach acid. I also realized through a near starvation diet (during which I lost NO weight because of the SIBO) and carefully eating only one item at a time, that I was autoimmune to gluten, dairy, soy and commercial cellulose (as opposed to lettuce!), and sadly, probably chocolate.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with information, so I’ll end this post here. In future posts I will tell you about Hashimotos Autoimmune Thyroid Disease, how I learned from personal experience that Hashi can go undetected for decades, and eventually cause Celiac; I’ll discuss Celiac,Hashi and SIBO (the chicken and the egg– which came first?); diagnosis and cure or maintenance;  and the retrospective of how these diseases unwittingly and unknowingly, shaped my life decisions and hence, well, my life.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Health Talk

Coming Soon!

I have many health issues including Celiac, Hashimoto’s, chronic SIBO, chronic Hypochlorhydria, I’m autoimmune to gluten, dairy, soy and commercial cellulose, and have some autoimmune symptoms when i eat chocolate (boohiss) and eggs. I also can’t tolerate some FODMAP foods. I’ve been on an in-depth personal odyssey seeking a path that will return me to my optimal, energetic self. Along the way, i’ve learned a lot about food and health and that’s what i’ll be sharing here on the Health Talk page. Stay tuned!

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