Wellness

Holding Out for Wellness: My Experience With Treating SIBO

July 20, 2017
wellness-flowers

flowers from our front yard

Bit by bit, Sam and I are creating our life in our new home. We move in this weekend and it already feels like an entirely new lovely feeling, this homeownership thing. My smile wouldn’t leave my face the other day as we watered the plants and roamed around our new home discovering new nooks that we will know like the back of our hands in years to come. But it’s all bittersweet though. I thought that I’d be better by now. I thought I’d feel healthier, more energized, and hormonally balanced. I so wanted that. I worked very hard for it too. But to no avail. Life wants to go the path of most resistance, it seems (why am I always surprised by that?).

Last week was just plain awful. After nearly 4 weeks of trying very hard to treat a bacterial stomach infection I was recently diagnosed with, called SIBO (a common complication of people with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s), I had to call it quits. Apparently SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth) is very hard to eradicate from your system; it’s a really intense detox process. And apparently the meds are intense as well and whether herbal or prescription, they can cause adverse symptoms that are counter intuitive to the detox process. I went through 3 kinds of meds and each one had their own pitfalls that reared their ugly heads after a week of taking them. Every time I thought I was on the right track, I was halted and had to take a couple of days to recover from the symptoms and start again.

If the meds are working, you feel extremely nauseous most of the time with unbearable waves of it crashing into you. The weakness was something I didn’t expect to be so bad. But it was—I was very weak and frail. I couldn’t hardly move sometimes. The thing is, is your malnourished when you have SIBO. These organisms take all of the nutrients from the foods you eat, no matter how healthy you are, and feast on the nutrients for themselves. And when trying to fight it, that malnourished feeling gets worse. They really fight back.

A little bit about the protocol: Part of treatment is to be on a very restricted diet that cuts out very specific foods (FODMAP diet), and this to starve the bacteria while the antibiotics do their thing to kill them. Then your body needs to be able to get rid of the dying organisms through hydrating and regular bowel movements. My intestines had a hard time with this due to the meds. I had to get hydro colon therapy (a colonic) and while I was bummed about having to do it, it was an amazing experience. It was very difficult the second appointment due to all the bacteria die-off (felt so sick and crampy), but overall it was a great experience. I recommend them to anyone, not just people dealing with detoxing.

I got through it all ok, despite how debilitating it was. I’m a fighter. I also had some key players that got me through treatment. Peppermint tea, love and support from Sam, my heating pad and Friends on Netflix are what got me through those 3.5+ weeks. But after the last bout of sickness from the meds, my doctor and I decided that this is too much right now and that we’d revisit it when I was more settled in our home. And that’s why I’m writing this. I’m sad about the outcome. I wanted to be healthy before we moved into this next exciting chapter in our lives–in my life. I just want my health back, so I can fully enjoy my life.

It’s been an enormous battle, my health. My quality of life has not been great the last few years. I’ve seen great improvements but nothing completely concrete and nothing that makes me feel like my old healthful, sane self again. When I found out I had SIBO (a very high amount; normal levels are 36 and I was at 210) I was somewhat excited. Maybe this is what has been dragging my thyroid levels down, making my immune system chaotic and messing with my sex hormones. But then again, after years of finding more and more imbalances with my internal body, finding out I have SIBO felt like a punch in the face. When will it stop?!

I honestly think that yes, SIBO is the last missing piece to this health puzzle I’ve been trying to complete. I might be wrong but if I get past this last health hurdle, maybe I can see some lasting improvements and fully live my life the way I want to. That’s why I dove straight into treatment. I was so ready to beat these gut busters, so maybe I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. And maybe I could start fresh before moving. Hence why I’m writing about how frustrated and upset I am that I had to stop without beating them. I had high hopes and still do. I will be doing treatment at a later date (and dealing with SIBO symptoms like bloating, distention, anxiety and brain fog in the meantime), but I’m still grieving about how difficult the last few weeks have been and how they came to nothing.

There are positive aspects to my experience. At least we know what hasn’t worked so far, getting closer to what will kill the bacteria. I will be in my new home and my own kitchen when I start treatment again, better able to cook and take care of myself. I have my endlessly loving support system in Sam. What a rock. I’m so grateful. And I will have time to reflect and think about what I can do to make the experience easier for myself and possibly more effective. It’s all good, no matter what. I have so many great things happening in my life at the moment. I know wellness is in my future soon.

Thanks for reading my story. I’ve wanted to share some of my health sagas, if you will, but haven’t known how to process it all into words. It feels great to get some of my experiences out into the ethos.

I hope you all are having a great day and are feeling healthful and happy.

Xo Tori

 

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