happiness

SIBO: ElementALL diet day 5

Well, I’m still doing it. Still feeling like crap, but still doing it. I keep thinking “this is the die-off phase and it won’t last long”, but it is still going on. Today has more sibo-like feelings in that I’m quite achy and joints are a bit sore. But I know there’s no way I’m eating anything that is activating sibo so it must be die off.

Although I feel like I’m starving to death I’ve actually gained 3 pounds. Because.. of course I would. So that’s great. I’ve lost about 30 lbs though since I’ve been working at this so I suppose in the bigger picture it’s not the end of the world. It seems as though sibo either causes massive weight loss or weight gain – and my body has always responded like a 17th century peasant heading into a famine: “Oh I must preserve every ounce of fat I have to survive what is coming ahead”.

I have also entered into some kind of existential crisis. Who am I? how do I fit into the world? What is the meaning of life? Who is God? What is the Universe? A lot of these are questions I often ask, but they feel different right now and the answers I’m coming up with are significantly different. A Course In Miracles talks a lot about the willingness to see things differently, and the further I go on this journey the more I understand that phrase. Just when I think I kind of understand things, something inside shifts and once again I see things differently.

My current existential crisis is asking for quiet to absorb and sort things out, so I’ve stepped away from social media (I’ll post this but I’m choosing not to look at or scroll through my social media) so that I can have some quiet time for my brain. I have to say, it’s nice having my phone off and not getting constant notifications about every little thing. Of course that needs to be balanced with some social interaction because we need each other. I keep thinking of Thoreau and his quiet time at Walden Pond – not totally isolated, but living in seclusion – and also his famous quote about leading lives of quiet desperation.

I think about this quote a lot. And I think it is as true now as it was in the 1840s – at least for me. Maybe even it’s this quiet desperation that led me to be sick. For sure it was the anxiety and trauma that surrounded it. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

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happiness

SIBO: Relapse? Never resolved? Frustrated

Things are not going well in SIBO land for me right now. It’s been at least a couple of weeks of pretty extreme discomfort (achy joints, headache, brain fog, anxiety, not sleeping etc) and I’ve finally decided that perhaps we never got rid of the sibo and with me introducing new foods it’s flared up again.

Now, by new foods I don’t mean things like chocolate cake (sob), or even things like potatoes or grains. It was things like Swiss chard, eggplant, asparagus, and olive oil – all things cleared with or suggested by my naturopath. I kind of blame the olive oil even though it’s supposed to be good for sibo but at this point I have nothing besides a hunch. I was doing well when I was using avocado oil, but when I ran out a month ago I switched to olive oil and it’s been a steady decline since. But there could be other reasons.

Of course it’s not just a weekend but a long weekend so I have to wait for my appointment with my naturopath until Wednesday. But yesterday I kind of snapped and decided to help myself because the pressure building inside me was becoming too much to take. By pressure I mean that it feels like I’m being wired with very uncomfortable electricity that just vibrates through my body giving me a headache and feeling of pressure that makes me feel like I’ll explode. And I’m sharing this in case there are other people out there suffering who have no idea what is going on or feel like they’re alone. Although I would never wish this on anyone, so I kind of hope I’m all alone with it.

I went to our local drug store – Two Pharmacy in Cochrane- and picked up some liver support, berberine, and oil of oregano, all of which I had been on before during the kill off phase. I bought a different oregano oil though and I think I’ll wait on that until I see my dr. So far there’s a lot less pressure but I still feel like crap. I’ve cut out everything besides hamburger meat, because I know meat doesn’t feed the sibo. And while i’m grateful for the cows that are healing me, damn I miss vegetables. But I have a lot of gratitude for those cows, they are healing my insides not to mention that my house and my life here was literally built because of cows, and I am eternally thankful for what they are doing for me. The fact that their lives were given to improve my health is not forgotten and I am constantly in a state of gratitude for that.

So I go Wednesday and find out whether or not becoming my own doctor over the weekend was a good idea. I don’t know what else to do- it’s not like you can go into urgent care and say that you feel like you’re dying because of sibo because it doesn’t show up on regular tests. But damn, it does kind of feel like you’re dying. And that’s not me being dramatic, it’s bloody awful. I can’t believe I ever used to just cram food in my mouth and not worry that it was going to debilitate me.

But this will eventually be resolved and I’ll feel like I’m back on track with my healing journey. Actually even though I feel like crap I still know I’m on my healing journey. I’ve come so far, and so much of this is just using intuition and stepping back and allowing God to be present (that and a lot of crying and trying to bargain with God for my health – but those aren’t probably as helpful as the first two).

Blessings

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happiness

What the Frack is this SIBO stuff?

This year I decided to make a commitment to my physical health. I’ve been dedicated to improving both my mental and spiritual health for a good 10 years now, and had been feeling pretty disappointed because I hadn’t been seeing the improvements I’d been hoping for. Don’t get me wrong, I am a much better version of the person I was 10 years ago. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how my brains works. I’ve been studying for my masters degree in counselling psychology and have had the opportunity to understand my brain, my personality, and my traumas in a completely different way. I’ve been studying spirituality and developing a completely new relationship – a healthier and more secure one – with the Divine. And yet I still felt like shit almost all of the time.

By feeling like shit I mean that no matter how hard I worked through therapy, or on my own, my anxiety was still out of control. My depression would come creeping in for no particular reason except to let itself be known. The bloating, omg the bloating. My whole body ached, I had a fuzzy head to the point where it was difficult to think some days. I was exhausted but not sleeping. I felt like a failure because I was working so hard and not seeing any improvements. Worst of all, when the anxiety would come rushing out of nowhere it gave me all of the same trauma type feelings that I felt from my marriage and that made it pretty much impossible to move beyond the feelings of being stuck in an abusive relationship.

So early this year I went to see my family doctor to see if she could refer me to an allergist. In the previous 6 months or so, I had discovered that certain foods were triggering my moods and my joint pain – particularly gluten (giving up gluten was quite the learning process- that shit is in everything). I told her that while giving up gluten had helped me I still wasn’t feeling good.

I am blessed to have an absolutely fantastic doctor who has taken the time to get to know both me and my children, she listens and doesn’t fix problems with medication alone. She told me that she also had been having some food issues and her recommendation was to go see a naturopath. That recommendation changed everything for me.

I booked myself in with a naturopath in town and really had no idea what to expect. I went in with my list of symptoms expecting to be told that I was making horrible diet choices and that would be about it. Instead he listened to me describe how I was feeling and then asked me if I’d ever heard of SIBO.

No, I had not heard of SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth – what in the world is that? So apparently bacteria is not supposed to grow in our small intestines, but sometimes it can creep up in there and cause problems. It can be caused by many things, including antibiotics, unresolved trauma and long term stress. (Hellooooo stress and trauma my old friends). He said that food wise it was particularly triggered by onion and garlic – two of my favourite things to put in my mouth – but that there were many other foods that feed this bacteria.

He gave me a SIBO breath test to take home and use. You have to follow a very restricted diet for a couple of days to prepare, then you drink a nasty lactulose drink and breathe into vials at 20 minute intervals over the next couple of hours. I tested positive for both types of SIBO and my numbers were quite high.

Bingo

I’m about 3 months into my treatment now. I’ve got a long ways to go, but already I feel better than I have in decades. My physical health has improved – I’m slowly getting more energy, I’m sleeping better. My mental health has improved – my anxiety and depression have decreased to mostly manageable levels. My spiritual connection has completely changed and I am developing a much closer connection to Source.

I’ve decided to chronicle my progress – both the challenges and successes – because it seems that SIBO is a new addition to the IBS game and one that there is very little known about and is often misdiagnosed.

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happiness

Building strong

The kids and I started week 4 of our transformation program today. It has been interesting doing this along with them – I hear them thinking out loud about some of the things we have discussed as they are searching out snacks. When we have been in the grocery store they look at food and see how it falls in line with the goals they have set out, and it has changed what they’re asking for.

The results are starting to roll in as well. We all have lost some weight and all are feeling a little better about the choices we are making. It’s all about changing habits and behaviours and we are learning how to do that.

There was a sign in my old chiropractor’s office in Virginia that said “It’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men”. It’s a gift I hope my kids carry with them into adulthood – they are learning to value themselves – to know that they matter and are worth looking after.

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happiness

Self care

I’ve realized recently I’ve been doing a terrible job of self care. It’s something I struggle with anyway, but it seems after I broke my shoulder everything went out the window. I haven’t been exercising, meditating, taking my vitamins regularly, or eating as well as I could be.

It seems sometimes like the more stressful life is, and the more I really need to be kind to myself, the more I let it slide.

I can’t afford to do that anymore. If I’m going to be able to care for the people in my life, I need to be able to care for myself. I need to keep my reserves full so there’s enough to give.

So today I set my routine up again. I used to be so good about following a routine

I did my morning pages, elliptical, yoga, and meditated. It’s all important for keeping my balance and keeping me grounded. I need to do all of that every day. It keeps my anxiety at bay (and it’s been bad lately) and restores my energy.

Here’s to remembering that it’s not just ok, but imperative that we care for ourselves. That is happiness.

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happiness

Happiness blogs

I started this blog almost 3 years ago on my 44th birthday. I was still in the beginning stages of working my way out of my dark night of the soul years (sometimes I feel like I’m still at the beginning, but I’m not). I began with the idea that I would do 44 days of happiness – my goal was that every day I would have to find something that made me happy and I would write about it. Sometimes those happiness moments were really hard to find at the beginning, I think I wrote a lot about Henry the Heron who I used to see every morning on my walk. I remember many times the day being over and me realizing I still hadn’t had a moment of happiness and making sure I did something right away so I could say I had done one thing that had brought me some joy.

I think now about how small and unhappy my life was then. I mean really, in the last 3 years my entire life has imploded, gone sideways, blown up, and been shaken like I live inside a snowglobe and still I have found moments of happiness every day. Thank God I trained myself to look for them or I would have been having a right pity party.

My life now still is pretty uncertain, full of bumps, and honestly I have no idea what I’m doing – but it’s so much happier. We are home, we are safe, we are free. Those are big words. It has helped me incredibly to have a check in every day and find something to be grateful for, something that made me happy, to express gratitude.

This morning I found an email from feedspot.com saying they had chosen my blog as one of their top 75 happiness blogs – I am number 64. Look it up here

Seriously how cool is that?

I even got a little award to put on my blog – that was a smile filled moment of happiness.

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happiness

Run down 

I realized this morning how run down I was feeling. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been under a lot of stress and that is always a recipe for disaster 

I stopped things today and did a reset of my intentions. If I don’t look after myself, everything else falls apart. 

I celebrated a day of quiet self care at home this evening with the boy – we watched some belly laughing shows. Happiness. 

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happiness

Small kindness – big difference

The girl and I were back at the Children’s Hospital today. I had taken her back to the doctor and she was still concerned about her symptoms and discomfort, so off to the hospital we went.

I have to say, that while the wait is very long there (they go as fast as they can, there are just so many sick kids waiting to be seen), the care they have given us every time we have been there is impressive. It’s mostly in the small kindnesses they show – everyone going out of their way to make sure my kid is as comfortable and secure as possible. A few of the nurses have said that they look after the kids there as if they were their own because that’s how it should be.

And it really makes a difference. What is a long and boring and stressful event they really make much more positive. I am grateful that we have this hospital close by, that I don’t have to worry about how to pay for a hospital visit, and for the great care we have been getting. That is happiness.

Hopefully the girl is feeling better soon!

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happiness

a good sleep

Last night I had the best sleep I’ve had in months. Certainly since before I broke my shoulder, maybe longer – it’s been a long time since I’ve felt rested. It’s amazing how much better coping skills I have when I’m not completely exhausted. It certainly gives me incentive to set my life up so I have more of these great sleeps. Because a well rested me is a happy me!

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