Phase 3: Holding Steady
I have pretty much been stripped down to bare bones in this journey with Lymes and autoimmune thyroid as far as what I CAN and CANNOT consume.
Dairy has been out of my diet COMPLETELY since I was breastfeeding my 1st child, daughter Audrey, in 2003 with SEVERE acid reflux. We’re talking… this child puked a rainbow-arch of angry vomit OVER her carseat INTO THE LAP of a person sitting next to me at Mass once. Removing dairy from my diet while b/f helped some of her issues (colic and sleep-refusal in addition to GERD) though it did not take them all away.
Out the window went sugar in 2004 with baby #3, son Blaise. I had some major candida and parasite issues after having him (lingering remnants from a mission trip to Guatemala in 1998 immediately after graduating high school). Sugar I avoided as much as I could, or I substituted. However, I never really went “sugar free” (the way I am now, only getting sugar in my AIP diet from the two sources of fruit I eat every day). Christmas every year always seemed to be a MAJOR setback for me health-wise (with the holiday cookie “cheats”).
Gluten came out in 2013 after having my 6th child, daughter Teresa. At 3 months postpartum while doing the 21-Day Fix (Beach Body program), I started experiencing SEVERE stabbing pains in my stomach after reintroducing gluten when the 21-day, clean-eating program was over. I now know this could have been a symptom of Lymes and that I should have went to my doctor. But I didn’t. I researched online and went AIP Paleo from 3-5 months postpartum and then stayed Paleo (with one daily gluten “cheat”) for two years until baby #8 came on board in 2015… and most of my inflammatory symptoms went away.
You know the story of my pregnancy and postpartum with baby #8. Being diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid and Lymes Disease has forced me to reevaluate the term “anti-inflammatory diet.” While I do NOT have either of the two genes for Celiac’s Disease, I basically need to eat as if I do. My LLMD has diagnosed me with EXTREME gluten-sensitivity and has assured me that even just ONE BITE of gluten can stay in your system for 6 months, keeping my TPOab and TGab labs high with my Hashimoto’s. “Low-gluten” and “no-gluten” are NOT the same thing when it comes to a person with Celiac’s Disease or non-Celiac EXTREME gluten sensitivity.
Coffee, you might ask? This was the last lifeline to go. I have increasingly grown less tolerant to wine over the years as well. Without coffee or wine, I’m not really sure how I make it through the day most days with eight kids. Since having DS last summer — alcohol just plain made me SICK (Lymes). Going back to the AIP diet since then has made me search for a coffee substitution. So I swung to tea. Never have been a big tea drinker and started feeling worse (if that’s even possible). LLMD assured me not only was it POSSIBLE but an ACTUAL REALITY as most teas are molds (black tea especially), and I have mycotoxin toxicity in my body (gliotoxins and tricothecenes) from the basement of a former home we lived in. NOT a good combo. However, I was still craving a rich, nutty warm beverage.
Chicory root tea has become my new preferred drink of choice! I actually feel so. much. better. not drinking coffee. I feel like without the caffeine highs and lows my cortisol levels have become more stable (I also suffer from adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency). In addition to tasting AMAZING and being rich and nutty like coffee, chicory root has many health benefits! It has anti-inflammatory properties AND protects the liver (what more can a girl with Lymes and Hashi’s want?)!! Plus it contains no caffeine, so it doesn’t dehydrate. Staying hydrated while fighting off the borrelia bacteria is so important in order to keep your body flushing it out. Additionally, coffee is EXTREMELY acidic and oftentimes hard on the endocrine systems of people who have thyroid/adrenal issues. Link below is a GREAT read on health benefits of chicory root!
Here is my recommendation for the organic kind I bought on Amazon. It came pre-ground which was a HUGE plus for this busy mama. I use about a teaspoon per cup and steep it with a tea infuser. I have grown quite fond of its rich (and almost peppery), nutty taste! I love knowing I am doing something good for my body when I want to curl up with a warm, comforting beverage! I am not allowed to indulge much these days, but this has become my indulgence!
Through the ups and downs of the last four months since my hypothyroid/Hashimoto’s diagnosis (prior to my Lymes diagnosis), I have been trying to find the right “prescribed” day-to-day routine of what I do (or DON’T do) in order to be AT LEAST somewhat functional. Now as many of you who suffer from Lymes disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis understand – – this is a tall order. Oftentimes, you may feel differently from day-to-day for NO REASON at all – – even while keeping your food regimen, sleep patterns, and stress levels ALL consistent. That’s just the nature of the beast(s).
However, being that I am a mother of a large family and have EIGHT little people who constantly have needs – – I have been “tweaking” my days VERY meticulously to try to produce consistent results.
In March, even though I had been eating according to the Paleo diet since after delivering our seventh child, daughter Teresa, all the way back in 2013 – – I took it to the extreme. I went AIP Paleo (again) and took out nightshades, eggs, nuts, and coffee. Yes — God has a FANTASTIC sense of humor in asking this coffee-loving mama of a family of TEN to give up her sacred “go/go” juice. No results. Didn’t feel ANY different. *Insert HUGE levels of both disappointment and frustration here.*
Spent ANOTHER 22 days mid-April to mid-May doing another form of an anti-inflammatory/autoimmune/elimination diet for my LLMD. This consisted of a basically a modified-form of the AIP Paleo for the first eight days (take everything out). Then, every other day for the remainder of the diet you re-introduce foods you think you are sensitive to. I did not have to test gluten, sugar, dairy, or anything containing mold/fungus (mushrooms, ACV, kombucha, etc.) as I KNOW I am sensitive to them. However, I was surprised to find I appear to be sensitive to rice and corn. This information was extremely helpful for me to understand as I begin different supplements and antibiotics which oftentimes have FD&C food coloring and other various allergens in them. The body cannot heal from Lymes if it is still continuing to have inflammation created by ingredients your system is currently sensitive to.
In between my first and second appointments with my LLMD, I ran a full six weeks of 200 mg of Fluconazole. However, I had to back-off and take it every-other-day as I could not tolerate taking it every day without experiencing Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions. Link below for further explanation as to what a “Herx” reaction is. As my 5 y.o. says, “They are NOT my favorite.”
After my second appointment, she discontinued the use of Fluconazole and started me on Nystatin instead. Nystatin DOES contain FD&C food coloring red, yellow, and blue lots – – so it’s a good thing I am not sensitive to FD&C food colorings. This is why in healing Lymes you have to do your research ahead of time and know what your body is sensitive to. However, this time around AGAIN, in trying to get rid of the intentional yeast buildup, I have been experiencing Herx reactions in the last 48-hours. This time, however, she gave me some supplements to combat this!
Burbur-Pinella is an herbal supplement that is designed as a detox and brain/nerve cleanse. Yesterday I used 10 drops in a small tincture with water every 10 minutes for 40 minutes until my Herx symptoms were relieved. This product is AMAZING! I have a hard time finding things that “work” for my body. Product link below on Amazon.
Additionally, after introducing one more tablet of Nystatin today (I have to work up to six tablets daily) and Herxing a bit, I tried another product my LLMD sent me home with. The principle behind this is alkalizing the blood and increasing amounts of essential macrominerals in your body such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium (in the form of carbonates and bicarbonates but without sodium or other salts). This I am allowed to take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in 4-8 ounces of water up to three times daily. I started today with 1/4 of a teaspoon in 6 ounces of water. Product link below on Amazon.
Finally, prior to starting my supplement regimen this week, I began juicing again at the end of March and was pleased to find consistent results! Juicing an entire head of celery, several carrots, occasionally about half of a beet, and one serving of a citrus fruit (of course, ALL ORGANIC) seems to be a concoction that works well for my body. I’ve also been trying to follow more of a holistic, cleansing habit in my morning routine (since coffee is NOT on the AIP Diet). I usually juice in the morning and avoid eating anything at all. I also infuse hot cups of water with lemon and lime juice to stimulate my gallbladder and other organ systems to get moving right away when I wake up! My LLMD also recommended adding parsley and chamomile to my juicing routine.
One day, one win at a time (and oftentimes one step forward and three steps backwards) in this battle. However, I continue to remember every day that the battle belongs to the Lord and that He has already won ALL of my battles in this life on the cross! Anything He hands me in this life, He must know 1) that I can handle and 2) that it is for my own good and salvation (regardless of whether or not I like the lot I have been dealt). Suffering is always redemptive if we allow it to be for the intentions we carry with us in our hearts… for our own families, for those we know who are also suffering, for the repose of souls, for the poor souls in Purgatory, and for SO MUCH MORE! The sky is truly the limit for redemptive suffering.