Well, last week I had a procedure done called a "hand cradle scan". Those of you who don't believe in homeopathic/natural medicine are going to think the idea is kooky, but the team of doctors I saw (yes, real "MD" doctors) said this procedure has cracked some of their most difficult cases. I won't go into detail about it all (because it does sound pretty kooky - even to me) but you can find out more here. Basically, this "hand cradle scan" tells you essentially everything that's wrong with you. From vitamin and mineral deficiencies, to parasites, to food allergies (or sensitivities), and even more serious issues like meningitis!
And, without listing everything she found wrong with me, I'll share the most important issues that we have to address -
1- Parasites (we were right all along!)
2- An intolerance to a certain protein in cow's milk & goat's milk
3- Gluten intolerance
4- Yeast Overgrowth
Now, #4 is not a "yeast infection" - but a "yeast overgrowth". It's hard to explain, but because of a lot of factors (like digestive issues, or taking antibiotics or prescription steroids, among others) you can develop a yeast overgrowth in your body. This yeast can get into your intestines, tissues, and blood stream (which mine is in now). It can also attack your organs, and in serious cases it can kill you. The more I've read about it (since getting this diagnosis) the scarier I've found it is! People have gotten deathly ill because of yeast, but it is rarely (if ever) diagnosed or treated properly. And, just in case you're still thinking this is nuts (as I was) - I also had a biopsy done by a dermotologist and sure enough, there is proof of yeast in my tissue!
The only way to rid yourself of this yeast, is to "starve it out" with a special diet over the course of several months. It's also recommended that you take a prescription that will help (which I am).
Of course, since mine is connected to my digestive problems - I also have to address those. And, since they found parasites and some vitamin/mineral deficiencies, I'll also be taking another prescription AND some herbal remedies to help with those.
If you're wondering what that looks like specifically - for the next 3 months I'll be taking over 20 pills a day (did I mention I hate swallowing pills?!), and following this strict diet:
Candida Diet + Gluten Free diet + Milk Free diet
NO sugar (which includes artificial sweeteners, honey, syrup, etc)
NO gluten (which is in almost everything)
NO yeast (which means no bread, crackers, cookies, cake, etc)
NO fruit (too much sugar)
NO aged cheese
NO vinegar (which means no condiments, which means no ketchup - AGH! - no salad dressing, no mayonnaise, etc)
NO fermented foods (which means no pickles, relish, or soy sauce)
And here comes the worst part....
Are you crying yet? Because, I already have.... several times (if I'm being honest). The list goes on to explain I can only have a few veggies (most of them have too much sugar or too many carbs), no preservatives (which are seriously in almost everything!) and pretty much nothing I didn't make with my own hands (ie - nothing pre-made, nothing processed, nothing "easy"). I'm sure there are more "no-no's" I'm forgetting, but you get the jest.
There are a lot of things I'm concerned about.
#1 - sickness. I know this diet is supposed to be healing me, but apparently there are some "die off" symptoms (for both parasites and yeast) that can make you super sick for the first few weeks (nausea, headaches, exhaustion, etc). The thought of being even sicker is not very appealing to me (especially when I can't have anything that comforts me when I'm sick - like ginger ale, crackers, etc).
#2 - weightloss. I've gained a little bit of weight since we got married that I wouldn't mind losing (it would be nice to fit back into some of my suits and dresses from college!) however, I've been told to expect MAJOR weight loss from this diet. A friend of mine who had to follow this diet (who was already little and didn't need to lose any weight) loss 55 pounds in a month! I am terrified I'm going to look like a skeleton by the time this is over!
I have other concerns too - like - How are we going to be able to afford all these "specialty foods" I have to eat? Will I be able to keep this up? What will happen when I start to add my "normal foods" back into my diet? What will happen when we travel overseas and I can't find the right foods? What if I do this (miserable) diet and it doesn't heal me?
And then there's the social aspect of it all. I have been so THRILLED to be back down South and able to meet my girlfriends for lunch, dinner, coffee, etc. In the last 2 weeks or so I've cooked dinner twice for friends, eaten dinner out with 2, had coffee with another, and Rusty and I met a couple of friends for dinner. It's been wonderful to spend time with people I love over yummy food! What happens when I can't do that? How will we have a social life? (I know, this sounds silly, but I'm just venting here.)
There are more questions, and fears that keep popping up - but the bottom line is, I know I have to try this. I'm tired of being in some sort of pain/discomfort every day. I'm tired of waking up with new (crazy) symptoms several times a week. I try to put on a "happy face" but the truth is - physically I'm miserable! I've been to 11 different doctors in the past year and a half, and had over 17 doctor's appointments. NONE of them have been able to heal me (or even relieve any of my symptoms). We have spent thousands of dollars on labs and procedures and prescriptions that did NOTHING. We're at a point where these illnesses are affecting every aspect of our lives (including our work). I have to do something.
If I ever want to be healthy, I have to do something. If we ever want to be able to start a family, I have to do something. If I want my marriage and my ministry to thrive, I have to do something!
So, this Saturday, October 1st, I am going to start this awful diet. I figure, it's either going to save my life, or it's going to kill me. For those of you who want to pray - please, please do. I contemplated not sharing these details on my blog (because, it's not always fun to be so "vulnerable") but the truth is, I don't think I'll make it through the next few months without your prayers. Right now, I feel extremely overwhelmed. I am going to need your prayers for willpower, strength, and health. Please also pray that this works (quickly) and doesn't interfere with our plans to visit our partnerships in India and Thailand this November/December. I'll do my best to keep you updated once a week with how it's going.
If you're reading this and you have experience with this diet - advice, encouragement, or any recipes to share, please leave a comment! I would love anything you have to offer that might help me through this!