I attended TedX Perth last year with a friend who is a Zouk dancer & she introduced me to one of her dancing buddies. She assumed I was a dancer too, until I set the record straight explaining I don’t dance anymore but I used to when I was little. She was astonished and said “Used to? Why did you stop?” I really didn’t have a good answer, dancing gives me so much joy and life is for living, so at the start of this year I enrolled into a Jazz Ballet and Hip Hop class.
I was a bit anxious but the ladies at the school were welcoming, funny and kind and I absolutely loved dancing again. It was challenging but so much fun!
Part of the class was working on a few routines to perform for friends and family at an end of year concert. While I agreed to take part I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it. At the time I was still experiencing Anxiety & having the occasional Anxiety attack.
What Anxiety Feels Like to Me
Sometimes I experience anxiety like a small wave, it pulls me down, but I can kick to the surface and breathe. Other times it’s like a huge tidal wave that pulls me under, and I feel like I am drowning, frightened and out of control & like I can’t breathe. It’s so strong, fighting is futile, I just have to endure the wave & wait for it to spit me back out once the attack is over.
I didn’t know if I was going to be physically or mentally well enough to perform at the concert but I just kept going to dance class, practicing at home, working on healing my gut with a GP and working through my issues with a Psychotherapist.
Dancing Through the Nerves
As you may have read in my last health update a few months ago, I stopped experiencing anxiety. Since I wrote that post I started to feel bit anxious during a recent Herxheimer reaction, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen at the dance concert. I was nervous, but I didn’t want my health to stop me doing the things I love, so I did it anyway.
On the day of the concert, I went to the dressing room to get changed and I felt really overwhelmed. I went to the bathroom, took a few minutes to breathe and then I was good to go. For most of the night I was calm, except for a few nerves that had me shaking and miss a few steps, I did better than I had imagined. I had the best time, I enjoyed it so much! I am glad that even though I was afraid I still did it. I didn’t dance perfectly, but I think overall, I did a great job and I had a fantastic time.
While I am hesitant to say that my anxiety is cured, I am so grateful that I now feel the most authentic and mentally strong I have been in decades.
In October 2017 I was diagnosed with a Candida Overgrowth in my intestines, which had caused Intestinal Permeability and a long list of allergies & intolerances. I was prescribed two different types of antifungal’s, and a new diet that focused on eating more vegetables and a reduced amount of carbs, fruit and sugars. For about a year I got healthier and stronger, but I just could not kill off the Candida overgrowth.
Then one day I ate some Honey & Mustard Turkey drumsticks for lunch, and my lips started tingling, my throat and tongue started swelling and I was having chest pains. I went to the ER and the doctor thought I might have reacted to a preservative, not the food, but recommended I see an allergy specialist for further treatment.
Too Much of a Good Thing
After taking my 13th round of antifungal’s I experienced a horrible Herxheimer reaction, and after my 14th round it was all downhill from there. My immune system was so wiped out, I caught every bug going around, all up I was sick for over 5 weeks. Even now, 6 weeks on I am still not 100%. At one point I was in so much pain I had to go to the ER, because I thought I must have had some sort of infection. The ER doctor mentioned that I had probably taken too many antifungal’s and recommend I get a second opinion on how to treat my condition.
Why I Ignored My Inner Voice
Deep down I knew these doctors were right, but I had just kept seeing the same GP and taking the antifungals because the treatment was working so well until then.
I resisted getting a second opinion because it took me 13 years to find a doctor that didn’t tell me my illness was all in my head/incurable or my kids “only” had eczema, so just cover them in steroid creams and give them bleach baths. He was the first doctor that took the time to explain what was going on, take our allergies seriously and investigate them. My boys and I have healed so much and come a long way under his care, so I am very grateful that he came into our lives when he did.
Life had been whispering it was time to go in a different direction but I didn’t listen. First my health started to plateau, then I had an allergic reaction (pebble to the head), followed by a Herxheimer reaction (brick to the head) and then I was sick for over 5 weeks (wall falling on me).
Back to the Drawing Board
As horrible as it was being ill for over 5 weeks, it was also a blessing because it forced me to start being resourceful & look outside the box for answers. It reminded me that my health is my responsibility and I am the captain of my ship. I can’t just put it on autopilot or rely on other people to steer me in the right direction.
I have to do my own research, which includes seeking multiple expert opinions, but at the end of the day I have to be the one to choose which health professional, diet and treatment plan is right for me.
So that’s what I did. I went back to the drawing board to try to figure out why I had another Herxheimer reaction and why I was sick afterwards for so long.
Candida. Friend or Foe?
I had always thought of the Candida Overgrowth as a nasty infection that needed to be killed off. I went hard, cut out sugar & fermented foods, drastically reduced carbs and took 14 rounds of antifungal’s.
After suffering a second herxheimer reaction I discovered some people can’t get rid of a Candida Overgrowth because they are also suffering from Heavy Metal toxicity. The Candida acts like a shield, protecting the body from Heavy Metals. Your body tries it’s best to keep you alive, so it will not get rid of the Candida until the Heavy metals are detoxed first.
Even though this Candida Overgrowth has wreaked havoc on my body, it could be the lessor of two evils!
The Gut Summit
When I first got sick 13 years ago talking about Gut Health was taboo, there just wasn’t any conversation around it.
Over 10 million Aussies have gut issues but many of us suffer in silence because we are not getting the help we need to get better, and we are too embarrassed to talk about it.
It wasn’t until people started talking about it online that I learned what Gut Health was. I wasn’t alone in my struggles & there is hope.
While connecting online has been a lifesaver, I have been wishing since I first got sick that I had someone to talk in real life about gut health.
Ask and You Shall Receive – Universe
Then one day I came across a Facebook post advertising The Gut Health Summit, a live event featuring the latest research about Gut Health with an emphasis on comprehensive, entertaining & actionable information. There was also a VIP dinner afterwards for those who wanted to enjoy a nourishing meal & a glass of Kombucha with the forum’s knowledgeable expert speakers; Dr Damian Kristof, Dr. Andrea Huddleston, Dr Peter Dingle, Helen Padarin, Dr Margie Smith & host Kale Brock.
This was something I had been searching for over 13 years! Like minded people not scared to dive in and talk about Gut Health and lucky for me the organiser, Kale Brock, brought it to the West Coast so I could go.
The Gut Health Summit was better than I ever could have imagined. I spend a lot of time reading & researching Gut Health, but the experts at the Summit were sharing information I had never heard before, in a way that was understandable with tips I could implement at home.
My first aha moment was during Dr Peter Dingles presentation. I had been sick for over a month and my gut health was the worst in had been in a long time. I was struggling to digest and absorb foods I had been eating my whole life like chicken, beef & olive oil. I lost 5 kilos during this time and I was pale with dark circles under my eyes. When I got to Perth and walked by the big mirror at my brother’s house, my appearance startled me so much that I instinctively jumped back.
Dr Dingle spoke about the importance of maintaining a good pH level in the gut to help your body to digest food correctly, absorb nutrients, release vitamins, break down allergens, microorganisms & toxins and more. My gut pH had probably become more alkaline and that could have been why I was having such a hard time breaking down and absorbing my food.
Dr Dingle suggested some actionable tips that I went home and implemented, like drinking some Apple Cider Vinegar before meals, eating smaller meals and chewing well. After a day or two of eating like this my gut health started to improve.
After the Gut Summit I attended the VIP dinner and I was lucky enough to score a seat at a table between Kale Brock & Helen Paradin. I asked Helen what her thoughts were on Heavy Metal toxicity and explained my issue.
She asked if I had addressed my Biofilm, and I told her I wasn’t sure what that was.
A Biofilm is where cells stick together and often to a surface (like dental plaque, pond scum or the slime on slippery rocks). I have taken approximately 30 rounds of antibiotics in my lifetime which could have contributed to some of the bacteria in my body joining together to create an unhealthy biofilm.
Unhealthy Biofilms can harbour heavy metals, candida & parasites protecting them from antibiotics and antifungals. Patients with unhealthy Biofilms take antibiotics or antifungals and their symptoms initially improve, but return not long after the course has finished. Basically, if you have unhealthy Biofilms, you can take 14 rounds of antifungals or more and still have a Candida Overgrowth.
Which could explain why Charlie’s symptoms ceased after a few rounds of antifungal’s but for Maxwell, Leo and I, they keep returning. Leo’s skin and gut has really flared back up and he is now getting up several times during the night and starting his day between 4:30 – 5am.
When Leo doesn’t sleep that means I don’t sleep which impacts both of our bodies ability to heal.
Are Unhealthy Biofilms One of the Root Causes of Gut Issues?
Unhealthy biofilms can cause IBS ( a condition I have been diagnosed with) increased inflammation, nutrient and mineral malabsorption & some autoimmune disorders. If I want to get rid of the Candida Overgrowth (and potentially Heavy Metals) in my body I need to take down the Biofilms first.
Heal – Drain – Detox
Before I do any of that, I need to recover and get my organs clear and functioning well again to handle the detox process. I also need to find the right health professionals to help me on the next leg of my healing journey.
During the presentations at the Gut Summit I sat rapt in attention, taking notes and absorbing as much information as I could. I keep going back and reading over my notes, trying to get the words to seep into my brain, so it can start making connections.
I feel like my health journey is a bit like a puzzle and the Gut Health Summit gave me a few essential pieces to help put the picture together.
My next plan is to rest, heal as much and I can, digest the information I have learned and start seeking some other medical opinions on how I should treat my condition.
I have learned it’s important to do your research when selecting a practitioner to treat a chronic illness. I have been sick now for over a decade, so I am going to take my time choosing the next experts to help me on my healing journey. I need to find health professionals that I not only trust to treat me, but my children too.
Thank you for following me on my healing journey.
I know how scary and isolating it feels to be ill and told you have an uncurable chronical medical condition, so I love getting messages from people telling me how much my story has helped them. It brings me peace and joy knowing that I make people feel less alone on their path to healing.
I wish you an abundance of health and happiness!