My Digestion: 14 Months On
It has now been 14 months since I first approached an integrative healthcare practitioner and a nutritionist to help me figure out what was going wrong in my digestive system. I can honestly say that I have more than fledgling hope that, with dedication to healing and eating more intentionally, I will be just fine.
I'm following on from my blog My Digestion: 8 Months On. It ended on a very positive note following the introduction of a new brand of probiotics. But alas, after two wonderful weeks of being symptom free, my symptoms did return and my progress continued in the same ebb-and-flow like manner that it had taken since I started my 'treatment' in February 2016. I do believe that the probiotics were beneficial, but to say it solved my problems would be untrue in my case. So they were not the miracle cure I'd hoped they would be, however, I can say that about three weeks after starting these new probiotics I experienced the first true break in my symptoms. Although I 'relapsed', it was certainly a turning point for me in that I started to experience longer periods of relief and the return of symptoms continued to become less intense and/or more short-lived.
I would like to add that in my extreme optimism of having found these probiotics that were helping me "so much!!", I bought a 3 months supply for a family member who had been suffering from quite debilitating reflux which was always at its worst in the middle of the night. The night after this family member took a single probiotic capsule I got a very excited text that she had not been woken the previous night as she had been for the last couple of years by the horrid acid reflux! I'll tell you, even I was surprised, and after my symptoms returned I was even more sceptical that she could have experienced such a strong shift in symptoms, or that the change would last, but each time I've queried her progress I get the same response: the symptoms have disappeared and she continues to take the probiotics. It has now been about five months and I am ecstatic that I have played a role in someone else getting better. So even though the probiotics didn't 'heal' me in quite the same way, I do believe that for some digestive issues they can work miracles. It just seems my situation is a bit more complex - apparently.
Getting back to how I've been doing, I've just recently come back from Rarotonga. Rarotonga is one of the Cook islands, situated in the South Pacific ocean. Below you can see a snapshot of my trip.
Now I'm not writing to brag about my island holiday, but rather to share an interesting fact about my time away. For the entire 10 days that I spent on this island I experienced not a single digestive symptom. Not a burp, no queasiness in my tummy, sore throat or nausea. I was expecting the usual suspects to make an appearance but they never did. What makes it doubly confusing is that during this time I ate and drank everything I wanted to! Which is quite different from how I now live at home. The only thing that was definitely off was that I had various levels of diarrhea the entire trip (but not a sore tummy). For a couple of days I felt overly full and "tight" but not quite bloated (although I was very bloated from the extreme humidity and heat!) and I believe that this resulted not from Coca-Cola or eating too much, but from eating bread (and cake on my birthday) on those days and sure enough my husband, who doesn't have the greatest digestive health himself, experienced the same feeling following eating those same foods. I wonder, however, whether it was not so much the bread and "bready things" as I call them, but how they were combined with certain foods. But that is probably a topic for another day. The very morning after my return my symptoms came back. Yes, I am driving myself up the wall of course trying to crack this code. Is it stress? Is it the water? Is it the mold in my bedroom? Is it because I'm not eating papaya every morning? Is it because I'm back at work? Am I missing my family? Is it all of the above, none of the above, or a particular combination of some of the above?
In summary, things are steadily improving. I still have relatively mild symptoms most days, with the odd break lasting usually 2-4 days, but nothing compared to what it used to be like. I have to reset my commitment daily to eating clean and whole foods and this is not an easy thing. It is very easy to stick some cheese on a plate, melt it in the microwave, and stuff my face with it. It is very hard to use my willpower not to do this, but it is important to stay on track so I try to not lose sight of how far I've come. You would think that after what I have been through it would be easy to 'eat well' but that is not true! It takes dedication and intentional effort, especially at times where I am symptom free and I actually forget, yes, I forget what I have endured and how sick I've been, and even that I am meant to be eating clean foods. So there you have it.
Until next time then.