#slayingSIBO or Something Else? UPDATE

I mean, is it really that surprising that I’m hitting you with yet more diagnoses?

The #slayingSIBO saga began when, after two years of total digestive frustration, I want to a gastroenterologist and they made me blow into balloons and tested my breath and told me I have SIBO (you can check out all my posts om that, here).

Then I was told I may not have it because the pipes weren’t workin’ (if ya know what I mean) when I took the test, and told me to just take Miralax every day the rest of my life. I shot my best mean mug at the doc, and she said, well fine, you can take the antiobiotics anyway. (I apparently have an effective mean mug).

If you’ve been keeping up, you know I moved to working with a functional doctor after being completed unimpressed with this gastro, and I’ve been going through MORE tests, some that insurance won’t cover (Annoying. Hey BlueCross – I’m not getting my poop tested for vanity, just sayin’.)

The Update:

So after more and more tests, here’s what we know:

Finding #1: I have active EBV and some other mono-causing virus antibodies, and my body is having a hard time detoxing.

I had a “mono-like” illness in 2011, my sophomore year in college. It was awful. From that point until I got my tonsils out at the end of 2014, I had recurring strep infections every 3 months like clock-work. Once you have a virus like this, you always have it. It can go dormant and undetectable, but it can always flare up. So who knows how long I’ve been dealing with flare-ups from this… BUT we have to get it under control. When your immune system is compromised, everything goes to hell in a hand basket! And I’ve been hit with a double whammy – I have an autoimmune condition (Sjogren’s), so I have to take extra care here.

My liver enzymes are also elevated and my kidney function is less than ideal (which again I knew). This is probably due to the immune response and my toxin load from these nasty viruses, so basically I need to help my body with detoxing.

Solution:

Obviously there is no quick solution to this, but focusing on building and supporting my immune system is key right now. Some of the supplements I am taking are:

  • Colostrum (it’s gross)
  • Omega 3’s
  • Vitamin D
  • NAC
  • Milk Thistle
  • Zinc
  • A multi-vitamin
  • Selenium
  • L-Lysine
Results:

Well, I started the immune supplements only a month ago, so not much to report. Supplements take longer to react in your body, but I have noticed that I’m not dealing with as much swelling in my ankles (a weird symptom I had been noticing as of late), so I think that’s a positive sign! Will keep you posted.

Finding #2: My gut bacteria is all outta whack (duh).

No but really, the results from my stool test were very informative. Basically, I don’t have enough good bacteria, and I have some bad bacteria plus some candida.

The great thing about the test was that they tested different antimicrobials against the bad bacteria strains to see which ones would be the most effective in killing them. Not all antimicrobials kill all bad bacteria, so this was awesome the test went the extra mile so we are just shooting blindly! Made tat $500 just a little more worth it… just a little though.

THE GOOD NEWS: NO PARASITES!! AMAZING! That’s one thing I DON’T have. Praise.

So where are we at with the gut then?

Solution:

Again, this will be slow, and frustrating, but at least we have somewhat of a better pathway to go down with the new information. In addition to the immune support protocol, I’ll be starting a gut protocol with the following supplements:

  • L-Glutamine
  • OrthoBiotic (crazy strong probiotic)
  • GI Detox
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Butyrate
  • Biocidin
Results:

I’m waiting for my shipment to come, but I will keep you posted on how I am feeling. With the SIBO, i was a little concerned with taking a probiotic, so the plan is to start the antimicrobials (grapefruit seed extract and biocidin) and get to full strength before introducing the probiotic.

However, I do know that I can expect die-off symptoms, which will not be enjoyable. Basically, everything will get worse before it gets better. JOY.

With all this said:

I’ll be retiring the #slayingSIBO posts for now, since my health is encompassing more than just that. I’ll have to think of another catchy phrase for my journey – suggestions welcome in the comments!

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I did not include the brands or dosages of my supplements because everyone is different. If you are going through health issues similar to mine, I am happy to chat with you and provide my experiences, but please never take my protocol as something you can directly follow! Chat with your doctor 🙂

That’s all for now, folks!!

xx

happily Haleigh

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I may just be the sickest healthy person you know…

“You eat so well!”

“You crush it in the gym!”

“You’re young and look so healthy though!”

All comments that have been said to me — and yet, here I am, about to turn 27 and feeling like an 80 year old whose life has been ripped away from her far too soon with every new medical discovery and diagnosis I receive.

Yesterday, I had my second appointment with Dr. Nicole. If you’ve been keeping up, you’ll remember her to be my new functional doctor. Since my first visit with her, I’ve finished my round of Xifaxan prescribed by my no-longer gastro for the SIBO (and no, I’m not feeling magically better as I had wished) and have also completed more bloodwork – something pretty routine to me by this point.

At my appointment yesterday, we went over the new bloodwork Dr. Nicole had requested, and boy, it was quite the overwhelming experience. I’ll be honest, my happy-go-lucky, can-do attitude broke a little yesterday.

Dr. Nicole, is great – let’s not get that confused. She sat with me and talked through all the findings, and summarized everything into her plan of action very clearly. She answered all my questions, and is just a great human overall. But the information she shared was less than appealing, and although knowledge is power, yesterday, knowledge just felt like a ton of bricks.

Picture this: A movie moment — cue the dramatic and triumphant music (you know the one), a track-star about to win the race, smiling ear to ear, he makes his way toward the finish line in slow motion. The end is in sight, the gold so close he can taste it, and out of nowhere, he starts to trip and his smile fades slowly. Zoom into his ankles turning this way and that way, his knees knocking, now back up to his face that has now gone from a look of victory to full-on defeat before cutting back to real time with the winner-to-be face-planted on the track with a furry of feet trampling him to take his place for first, second and third as he just lays there, defeated.

That is how I felt after my appointment yesterday. When I had the SIBO diagnosis, I felt like I was on my way to victory – FINALLY! Something to blame all my problems on, and medication to potentially fix it! However, the antibiotics haven’t left me feeling any better (deep-down I knew that 2 weeks wouldn’t truly make a difference). But today, I found out that in addition to the SIBO, I have candida, and have also been living with 3 chronic viruses in my system. THREE.

Epstein Barr Virus (two strands of it, actually), some other mono-causing virus, and herpes (no, not that kind). And before you ask, NO I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS.

Am I totally shocked? I mean, not really. Yes in the sense that these viruses are still in my system, but I had mono in college my sophomore year (2012), and since then, have struggled a lot with my health.

In addition to the viruses, I also found a few different things were off with my autoimmune response, candida, some vitamin levels, thyroid levels, etc.

Basically, I’m the sickest healthy person you know. What I mean by that is I do everything right. I do my best to eat well, I exercise regularly, and just generally take good care of myself, and it’s not enough. And isn’t that frustrating? It is. I really can’t even put into words at the moment just how draining it feels.

Dr. Nicole has a protocol for me which I’ll chat about in a different post, but for now all I’ll say is this: it’s a lot of supplements that of course insurance won’t cover, so of course I’m starting to stress about money. But stress isn’t good. How do I not stress? NOW I’M STRESSED ABOUT STRESSING. (Do you see how for a type A personality, this can be a black hole?)

Anyway, the short of it is this: start the supplement protocol, complete the stool test (which cost me $500 – yikes), follow a candida diet, and follow-up in 5 weeks when the aforementioned test results are in.

I know this post was a little more negatively toned than what I typically convey, but I’m having a moment. I feel like I am wasting the prime years of my life just trying to heal myself. At 27, I should be going out and enjoying life and spending my money on fun experiences and meeting new people — not worrying about spending my money on supplements and how much sugar and carbs I’m eating and if I’m doing everything to lower my viral load and kill yeast and bacteria… UGH. Somedays I just feel like an old shell, and it’s hard, because that is NOT me. I used to be, and want to be, a very full person. But it’s hard some days, and that’s just the truth of it.

With my birthday approaching in 2 weeks (May 11th if ya wanna set a calendar reminder!), I feel so conflicted. I know I’ll want to celebrate, but I’ll feel guilty knowing it won’t be good for my body – but am I supposed to just not celebrate? WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT?!

Life isn’t fair, but I’m trying to remember that there is a lesson in all that we experience. What is meant for you will find you when it’s right for you.

Look out for my next post on my protocol and a few more deep-dive details (if you’re following me for specific health interests!), but until next time…

xx

happily Haleigh

My SIBO Resource Shortlist: #slayingSIBO

Here you will find a running list of resources I find extremely helpful in understanding and slaying SIBO! I’ll keep this updated as I stumble upon anything new!

Doctors You Should Know:

  • Dr. Will Cole
  • Allison Siebecker

Websites and Blogs:

www.siboinfo.com

www.feedmephoebe.com/

www.chriskresser.com

www.bellalindemann.com

Podcasts:

Instagram:

The following are a few accounts of people who either post about SIBO in depth, or who are experiencing it first hand!

  • @phoebelapine
  • @katie_roeser
  • @lilsipper
  • @kirstenswalesnaturopath
  • @shylahmay
  • @gratitude_project
  • @graves_disease_sibo_warrior
  • @jordynliftlove
  • @vince_pitstick

Hashtags:

  • #SIBO
  • #SIBOdiet
  • #slayingSIBO 😉
  • #lowfodmap

Reddit:

https://www.reddit.com/r/SIBO/

Facebook Groups:

Pinterest:

Informational Documents:

http://www.nutritionaltherapyconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SIBO-Overview-Allison-Siebecker.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1s5TnR4B7uKAfaFa5B1PCRR5lpUFH9jkF7uAXESdtsRrirP5l3xHLI4A8