It’s Been A While.
My health issues got a lot worse before starting to improve. By the time I had recovered enough to return to a project like this, I felt like I had neglected it for too long, and it wouldn’t be worth resuming. However, I have always enjoyed blogging in addition to journaling. I see it as a form of self-care in a lot of ways. It helps to process your thoughts in a new way by putting them into text.
This blog wasn’t fully established at the time I left it, either. At this point, I’ve decided that it’s not too late to resuscitate it. I think it could actually improve my life even more, being able to share my experiences. Things have changed quite a bit over the last year (because it has been over a year since I wrote and shared my first post here).
I guess I should give you some updates!
The Medical Mystery
Over that time period, I have done a number of livestreams on my YouTube channel if you’d like to catch up that way. A number of those have updates on my day-to-day life. Other streams come from Twitch, and show my gameplay instead. I was playing a lot of video games for quite a while. There wasn’t much else I could do. I hardly had any energy, and everything hurt. Gaming allowed me to escape into another world for a little while. Honestly, there were a lot of days where I felt so horrible that I started to wonder if I was going to survive long enough to get a diagnosis.
I saw so many specialists over the course of months, who each ran a barrage of tests. We kept finding new symptoms, and were able to treat those, but we were having so much trouble figuring out what was causing all of them to happen in the first place. I started to feel absolutely desperate. Some days, I wanted to just stop trying. My mother mentioned that a woman in her soccer league was a fantastic nutritionist. We decided to set up an appointment. At the very least, she would be able to make sure that I was getting the nutrients my body needed while I was having so many issues with digestion.
At our first meeting, she gave me some nutrient powder that I could mix into water when I couldn’t handle solid foods. We spoke about my medical history, my symptoms, and the tests that had already been done. She turned around, opened the filing cabinet behind her, and started to pull some papers out.
A New Theory
Then, she told me about a condition that medical science was just beginning to understand. She’d seen it and successfully treated it before. My symptoms and risk factors were all consistent. She said I would have to get an MD to sign off on the lab testing for it, but if she was correct, my health could rapidly improve. I tried not to get too optimistic, but I needed her to be right. At that point, I couldn’t even take care of myself.
Sure enough, the test came back positive. I had SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Years ago, I had to undergo intense antibiotic treatment. This killed off a lot of the beneficial bacteria in my digestive system. More harmful bacteria was then able to take hold. Like billions of tiny parasites, this bacteria began to leech away the nutrients I was consuming. No matter what I ate – even if I was gaining weight – my body was not actually being fed. I couldn’t absorb what I needed.
We buckled down and got to work. It was going to take a lot of work.
Starting to Improve
First and foremost, I would have to follow an extremely strict diet. I have about two sheets of paper listing the foods that I can have. The idea is to restrict my intake to foods that the bacteria cannot process, thereby starving them out. I’ve also now undergone three rounds of a couple prescription medications that help to kill them off, but they are very rough on my digestive system, so I can only handle so much.
Very quickly, I started to improve. I was able to resume many of the activities I’d had to let fall by the wayside because I just didn’t have the energy for them. Chores and duties became easier by the day.
I was finally able to get back into my yoga practice. I’ve loved yoga for a huge portion of my life, and I had really missed it. At this point, I’m actually working toward a yoga instructor certification. I have been able to improve my health that much. It’s taken a year at this point, and I’m definitely not all the way better. I’ll be on this diet for a while still, and taking lots of supplements too. I’m okay with that. Seeing the progress I’ve already made encourages me to keep going.
I will strive harder. I will continue to improve in every way that I can.