Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Post Infusion Update and The Happiness Component

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update. If you read my blog on a regular basis I guess you’ve noticed ;-) I’ve been getting a lot of email from you guys asking how the colonic infusion for blastocystis went. The sad news is I retested four weeks after the infusion and I still have blasto. If you’re wondering, I use the best technology PCR testing every time I test. Thankfully here in Perth it’s free through Western Diagnostics but I’ve also paid $500 for tests through Genova in the US more than once as well as the same amount through Bioscreen in Melbourne. 

As with the three heavy duty rounds of multi antibiotics I took last year, after the infusion I felt great for about four weeks, then the usual symptoms started to return. I don’t know if this is due to a decrease in bad bacteria in my gut post treatments, or if the blasto numbers had been decreased temporarily. However, these are the questions I no longer obsess over, as this, I came to realise, was half of my problem… I also don’t know if the infection was ever eradicated or if I was reinfected within 4 weeks. My intuition tells me it was the first option. But again, this is not something I can really find the answer to, so I save my brain space for other things, and choose to let it go.

I was disheartened after yet another positive test result, to say the least, so I’ve kinda been laying low and just monitoring symptoms and focusing on other things in my life. I did email the Gastro who did the procedure but I didn’t get a reply. For now I’ve decided to put all things “project blasto eradication” on the shelf, so I didn’t follow up. I’ll retest again soon and contemplate the possibility of more meds down the track. But I honestly don’t know how I feel about poisoning my body like that anymore. I don’t even want to know how much I’ve damaged my good gut flora and how long it will truly take to repopulate things! And the fact after all of it, I still have blasto, gives me an indication that my body is more run down than I realised and struggling with more important things.

The good news is fatigue has decreased a lot, I rarely get nauseous anymore, I still have a lot of food sensitivities but nowhere near what I was dealing with last year so my diet is more varied (still paleo, low starch, low sugar, low fodmap). I only struggle with constipation a few times a month (used to be a daily issue), my sleep has improved, I’m generally happier and while I still do get brain fog, it’s nothing I can’t push through these days. I feel inspired to take on life again and positive I can achieve my goals - this is a feeling I’d lost for almost two years. 

I do still struggle a bit with depression if I don’t keep key things in place in my life and my skin/acne is still on and off… Right now its going through a major flare up that I’m trying to get to the bottom of and I’ve been seeing an amazing psychotherapist who is helping me stay on top of the mind stuff.

My main takeaway through this whole thing has been happiness. Every time I went to my GP for the next test or drug or query she’d ask me about my depression and anxiety levels. I’d always think to myself, “of course I’m depressed, I’ve been unwell for ages!!!” But if I’m really honesty the unhappiness came first. I went through quite a few personal events before things got really bad health wise, and then the obsessing over every symptom just made everything worse. I had to think about everything I put in my mouth, most of my time was spent researching health issues and trying to delve into the deepest corners of all my symptoms: how, where, what, why, when etc. Sure I found out I had a lot of things I could address, but every time I found something new, it just fed into the little voice in my head that said, “see, I told you were sick”.

All my money was going on pills, powders, health practitioners and I was (and still am) working in a night shift job that does nothing for adrenal fatigue, energy cycles or general life fulfilment. It also isolates me socially - it’s hard not to feel disconnected when you’re wide awake when everyone around you is starting to dose off, and dead to the world when the day begins and you wake up several hours behind everyone else.

The level of stress I was causing myself took all my energy, I barely had any left over to exercise, I stopped doing yoga, even the thought of going to the supermarket or taking a walk around the block drained me! I never wanted to just have fun, hang out, laugh or be in environments with too many people (I was way too sensitive to deal with that). I pretty much closed my eyes to all the amazing things that were still going on around me as I hyper focused on what was going on inside me. 

I was shut off from my friends cos I never knew how I’d wake up feeling, I’d stopped making plans because I was always cancelling and my friends eventually stopped inviting me to things. My family grew frustrated with my constant negativity and though he would never say it, I knew my boyfriend at the time felt he came second to all things to do with my health… “Sorry honey not tonight, I really have to go shopping and food prep” and every time he asked how I was I usually had something defeated to say. I lacked any element of go-with-the-flowness and had begun to emotionally shut down, so it was no small wonder my body had started to do the same. 

I was an energetic dead zone. What started as a few things quickly avalanched into many as I created a text book situation for unhappiness.

Not at all saying that the things I struggle/d with aren’t real or valid issues, but I’m saying in the end we can chose whether they take over our life. Everything I wanted to do and achieve I was going to do “as soon as I’m better” I’d tell myself everyday… But then I started to think, maybe if I just started doing these things I would actually start to get better. Maybe part of the reason I was holding myself back (illness) WAS the reason I was being held back by illness. I caused myself a lot of anxiety, and mistook even the symptoms of anxiety for other things (which I know now is common for suffers of anxiety disorders). It’s amazing how much the nervous system dictates the functional capacity of our body.

I noticed the less attention I started to pay to my niggley health issues the less of them I had. Not that I’ve turned a blind eye and gone off the rails, I simply do the best I can everyday for my mind/body/spirit wellness, try my best not to beat myself up at the end of it when I crawl into bed and instead of expecting the worst for tomorrow, I hope for the best… And more often than not these days it usually happens. I focus on being happy, doing what makes me smile first and foremost. Then I address the other things as needed. 

One day I just woke up and decided to make mental health a priority, and I’m glad I did, as the rest seems to be slowly falling back into place.