I know back in August, I shared with you this health update post (click here) and so many of you were incredibly supportive and helpful, giving me advice via email and private messages, as well as through the comments section and I was overwhelmed by your kindness and how much you all cared. I remember when I first started this blog and I never shared any personal information or even came out about my illnesses until a couple of years ago, after I had been blogging for years. So it’s really nice to know how supportive you all are and if I can help anyone else along the way who might be suffering the same problems, that’s even better. So, where am I at now?
Gastroenterologist – I mentioned before that I had been to see the gastroenterologist and we had done a SIBO test which had come back negative for hydrogen, however I found out a little while after all of that that I did have excess bacteria in my small intestine which produces lots of methane. Even if I don’t eat, my baseline methane production is above what it should be, which was causing a lot of gas and bloating as well since that bacteria was producing it on its own.
Antibiotics – My doctor said the best antibiotic for me (taking into account other medical issues) would be Rifaximin which I was to take for 14 days at 1100mg a day, so it was quite a high dose. This would then kill off all the bacteria (both good and bad) and then hopefully I can replace it with good. Luckily, because that specific antibiotic is only absorbed in the stomach, I didn’t suffer any side effects at all really, so that was a huge bonus as I know I usually react badly to antibiotics in general. It was fine being on the course and I finished it a couple of weeks ago.
While I was taking the tablets I noticed an improvement in my stomach, but I was making sure that I stuck to the rainbow diet and ate as healthy as possible while on them, and took pro-biotics, so that I would only be getting good bacteria. Then when I stopped them, I didn’t feel very good anymore and the bloating and pain came back unfortunately. I don’t know if I was too hasty in thinking that my stomach would be back to normal right away, but as of writing this now, two weeks or so on, my stomach is a lot better than it was. There’s much less bloating.
Endoscopy – I had my follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist and he said the next logical step to take is an endoscopy (I’ve been told that by a few people now) to rule out other issues which could be mimicking IBS. This doesn’t excite me though because I’m severely needle phobic and pass out a lot, plus the idea of being pumped with air doesn’t thrill me because I suffer so much with pain from gas. Then having a biopsy done etc, it’s not ideal either. If all of this is related to my IBS and overactive nerve endings, I can’t help but worry all that invasion inside would make it worse. So at the moment, it’s something I am considering and seeing if I can work my way up towards, but I’m unsure. I know loads of people have told me it’s fine and I would most likely opt to have it while I was awake, just using the throat spray, because that’s how bad my needle phobia is, but I don’t know. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing at the moment and I will leave it at that for now.
Supplements – I’m taking a digestive enzyme with every meal which is hugely helpful. It means I can broaden my food choices a little bit more now and not suffer so much. I’ve been taking these ones from Bulk Powders as they have all of the key enzymes in, and they seem to be working well. As long as I take them with my food, I suffer much less, which to me is indication that I don’t have a fully functioning digestive system and am missing the right enzymes which is why I’m having so many issues with food. I’m also still taking L-Glutamine for gut healing and of course still taking my Symprove pro-biotic, which I can’t be without now. It’s a huge, huge help! There’s 2 new ones that were prescribed for me, but I will go into those more next time.
Naturopathy – Last week I met up with a lovely lady called Lucy who has degrees in Naturopathy and I am going to be seeing her for a lot of my issues now. I’ve noticed that a lot of my patterns are related to other health issues as well, especially my hormones. During certain times of the month my stomach will cause a lot of pain, like a burning and gnawing sensation, my acne flares up badly, and a whole heap of other hormone related issues. But this is connected to stress and my cortisol and adrenaline being so high all the time.
I’ve always had anxiety ever since I was a kid and I’ve been through so much stuff physically and mentally, it’s always just been something I’ve dealt with myself and tried to overcome, but a lot of it hasn’t worked out very well and my anxiety levels are ridiculous. I often feel like I’m going to have a break down when it gets overwhelming. Because I’m in this ‘fight or flight’ mode all the time, my body is using its energy for my muscles and getting ready to escape the fear, but while it’s doing this it’s not allowing my digestive system or reproductive system to work properly as it doesn’t need it in times of high stress. Almost like adrenal fatigue.
I wasn’t aware of this before, but everything makes sense and I’m going to be seeing Lucy twice a month to try and de-stress myself and find the right supplements and routines I can implement to try and help me. I’m feeling quite positive about this and she also said I need to regulate my blood sugar as it seems how I am eating is causing that to spike up and down as well which isn’t helpful. As I’ve only been to one session and have literally only just started the supplements she recommended, I haven’t got much of an update on this progress at the moment, but of course I will definitely keep you informed in my next health post. I’m really hoping it’s going to work!
My thoughts – I feel like I haven’t really been taking into account the impact of stress and anxiety on my body as a bigger picture. I thought the issues with my gut were just to do with an isolated issue and not a side effect of something else. I know I am at fault a lot of the time because I work all various hours of the day, I get highly stressed out as working for yourself can be such a strain. There’s never anyone there to help or pick up the pieces and if you’re too ill to work, you can’t make any money, but then if you’re forcing yourself to work through illness and strain, you’re not really looking after your body.
Being an empath as well means I take on a lot of peoples emotions and that can cause problems for me too, but my main issue is the anxiety. I worry so much about animals getting hurt, I try to avoid the news because it’s always so devastating, I listen to my OCD brain (I’m a lot better than I was as I had CBT a while ago, but not fully) and I know my mental health suffers greatly. I’m never really worried about myself though, that’s not why I have anxiety, it’s always for others. I can’t even go to town without worrying constantly about the pigeons getting hurt. I can’t help the way I am and I know I have way too much love and a caring nature, but I’ve always been that way. I just need to find a balance now of learning how to still be that way but to not let it impact my mind. I have recently joined a Buddhist group here and I’ve been learning in the classes, which is hugely helpful, so I hope I will make progress with this and my other health issues will follow along with it.
At some point I feel like I want to take a week off from everything, just go to a forest and stay there. That would mean not doing 3x the work before I go so I’m covered for my time off, but actually just taking that time off so I can unwind and de-stress. But then that gives me anxiety as I’m worried about not liking the place or feeling comfortable, or missing out on work, or having my blogs empty for a week etc, then having to do major catch up when I’m back. I’m feeling generally more positive that things are figured out more though. I did suspect the other day, about 4 weeks ago, when I was shaky, sweaty, dizzy, faint, tight chested, feeling sick etc that I was running too high on my adrenaline, but I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t actually having a panic attack like I used to. This just lasted for hours instead and I think my body was lashing out at the constant stress. It’s just incredibly hard to learn to stay calm and not have anxiety when there’s so many things that upset and bother you all the time. There’s worrying situations wherever I am at the moment, especially with family and my mum and her health, so I really need to learn the best way to cope with stress. Which is hopefully what I’m going to achieve with Lucy, and we can go from there.
So that’s where I am right now with everything, and I always plan to keep you updated with my progress. Your support means the world to me and I’m really grateful to have such loyal and wonderful readers, so thank you so much! If you do have anymore advice or tips etc on what I’ve mentioned, I always am appreciative of the info. Lorna xx.