This is like a game of Clue (for those of you old enough to remember Clue). Or like a game of Spider Solitaire, which I am semi-addicted to. I find one avenue to explore, and I read and discover many clues about it; then suddenly I am led on a detour which I later realize is actually the main road after all. Warning- if you are squeamish and/or don't like to talk about poop, you should just skip the next few paragraphs, and hopefully I will have something of a conclusion at the end that will be less TMI.
As I indicated in an earlier post, the key to the program I studied at the Living Foods Institute (LFI) is colon cleansing. Very few adults are walking around with a clean colon. I am sure some of you are saying to yourselves, "I go every day just like clockwork." You may indeed be eliminating each day. What they told us at LFI is you will know your colon is healthy when you have movements that are 10-12 inches long, well-formed, without a bad smell. The clincher is you should experience this 2-3 times a day after each meal! I don't know about anyone else (as this has never been a common topic of conversation for me- have you ever heard the saying, "You know you are old when talking about your bowel movements is part of your everyday conversation."?), but I personally have rarely experienced this even once in a day, much less multiple times. That said, here I am 4-5 months later finally figuring out what has been going on in my digestion/elimination systems, or not going on, as the case may be, for most of my life.
I grew up on the standard American diet of the 50's and 60's. I ate sugar for breakfast; sweetened cereal with chocolate milk, powdered sugar doughnuts, pop tarts, Hawaian punch, pancakes with syrup; nothing with any real fiber or nutritional value. For lunch I ate white flour biscuits made with Crisco or brown 'n serve rolls with cane syrup, lots of syrupy tea, and whatever meat my mother prepared that day. This would be fried or baked chicken, country fried steak, pot roast, fried pork tenderloin, or fried salmon croquettes. We always had meat, biscuits or rolls with syrup or jelly,and all of the sweet tea we wanted. If I ate at least 3 peas (I am not making this up), I could have dessert. That would be store bought cookies or homemade pound cake or something else along those lines. Until I was in college I never remember seeing broccoli or cauliflower or romaine lettuce. We had peas of all kinds (which my mother picked, we shelled, and she blanched and froze), baked potatoes, corn, green bean casserole made with canned French style green beans, or canned English peas. We may have had squash, since I didn't eat it I really don't remember. We had fresh tomatoes my Daddy grew, but I didn't eat those either. In fact the list of foods I would eat was very short. I ate meat and bread, fried potatoes, corn and the occasional pea. I also drank lots of sweet tea with lunch and dinner ( called dinner and supper back then), lots of jelly and biscuits, and the occasional obj on white bread with the ends cut off of the bread. I didn't like milk unless it was chocolate, nothing green except iceberg lettuce, no fruit except canned fruit cocktail in heavy syrup or canned pears in light syrup, no dressings of any kind- not salad, mayo, or ketchup. I did not eat cheese or tomatoes in any form. If we had spaghetti I ate plain white noodles. If we had hamburgers I ate them plain on a white bun. Some of you may find this hard to believe but I assure you it was true. I won't go into the details of my dysfunctional family in this post, but I will say I had very little power as a child. Eating was the one area I did have some control over and, although it was a constant source of conflict between my parents and myself, it was the one area where I could have some power. I used this to my advantage. My diet became the battle I could most often win. That said, I have to say I remember the smell of cheese making me nauseous, and to this day, the texture and taste of cold cheese is repulsive to me. I also remember feeling like I would gag if I chewed those 3 peas, so I would just wash them down with my sweet tea.
So I am sure you see the picture emerging. I ate very little fiber and very little food with any life left in it. I ate mostly refined carbohydrates, bad fats, lots of meat and sugar. Is it any wonder I was chronically constipated as a child? I also had insomnia as far back as I can remember. Probably had something to do with 4 or 5 glasses of sweet tea I had with supper each day.
If this wasn't bad enough I also was prone to colds and bronchitis so I would have a shot of antibiotics on a regular basis. In my youth this was probably some form of penicillin since that was about all we had, but as I grew up and started having what would become chronic urinary tract infections (UTI's), this evolved with modern medicine into broad spectrum antibiotics. This treatment led to vaginal yeast infections and set me up for where I found myself this year.
I had a UTI last winter and after the prescribed antibiotic found myself with a painful case of thrush- a symptom of a more widespread Candida (yeast) colonization. The physician gave me Diflucan after the antibiotic to fight the yeast. I becam sick after these treatments with what I thought was the flu, but now I believe I was actually sick from toxins released by the dying yeast.
Here comes the gross part if you want to skip this paragraph. As I have been giving myself enemas these last 6 months I have noticed my stool contains a lot of mucus; in fact sometimes that is all there is. This has not gone away and has led me to continue with the enemas even though I do now experience bowel movements when I stop. We were taught to implant wheat grass juice at LFI after our enemas - this is just what it sounds like. You put the wheat grass in a large syring, attach some tubing with a nozzle, and put it into your colon. It was recommended we try to retain it for 10-20 minute, sometimes I never passed it. This was ideal because the wheat grass juice is rich in chlorophyll and fights yeast and other pathogens where they live and thrive. Often when I would pass it later it would come out in the mucous. It is bright green so you can always tell when it is expelled.. It was all very strange and fascinating to me. Yes, I am really fascinated by mt bodily functions. Probably has something to do with my life without television.
At a pot luck with some of my LFI friends recently I talked with one of them about something I had read in Anne Wigmore's book, The Hippocrates Diet. Her book formed the basis for the program at LFI. This suggestion was that one could implant Rejuvelac in the colon and directly inoculate beneficial bacteria. Rejuvelac is a fermented drink we were taught to make from sprouted soft wheat or cabbage. It is similar to Kombucha which you may be familiar with. I rarely make Rejuvelac because I don't find the taste palatable, but I began making it again to try this inoculation plan. The results have been staggering. I will spare you all of the truly gross details but it is essential to say that my colon was definitely colonized with Candida. I thought I had parasites but have come to realize this is just the pathogenic form of the yeast. Long ropes of mucus that I believe is the Candida that has made my colon severely compromised. The symptoms I didn't recognize but now know to be those of Candida overgrowth are: stomach aches accompanied by gas, bloating, and/or indigestion or acid reflux, craving sweets and carbohydrates, poorly formed stools irregularly passed and often of sticky consistency, chronic UTI's, painful and frequent urination, fatigue, depression, reduced sex drive, fuzzy thinking, poor digestion of food in general, and the one I don't seem to have which is sensitivities to gluten and/ or other foods.
I also learned that exposure to heavy metals (in my case, Mercury) exacerbates yeast overgrowth biochemically. I won't go into the chemical processes but will be glad to share my sources with anyone interested.
Today I am consulting with a doctor at the Atlanta Center for Wholistic and Integrative Health. I am excited to talk with an MD who is actually concerned with what has caused my illness rather than just treating the symptoms of it. I am hoping to find some guidance and recommendations as I continue to detox and heal my body.
Thank you to all who have sent cards and prayers. Your support has been invaluable to me. Blessings to you all.