I have been felled by The Cold.
Fortunately it’s not horrible, just annoying. I’m crediting the use of the essential oils for that.
I’m extra tired and kind of congested, but it’s not like some colds I’ve had in the past where I’m drowning in mucus.
May it pass soon without secondary infection!
Warning! Below I will talk about my severely handicapped intestines with mention of poopy things. If you don’t want to know about my poop, don’t keep reading. And don’t say I didn’t warn you adequately!
I’ve been working on taking steps to figure out exactly what is wrong with my gut and to heal it. It’s gotten to the point where this is interfering majorly with living my daily life, and I can’t go on forever this way.
I was totally healthy until a trip to Mexico in 2002. During that trip I spent a lot of time with children in a slum, a neighborhood entirely made up of tents and houses created from scraps out of the dump. It was located outside of a small village where people rode donkeys to get places. The area had all of the lovely features of a third world country that you don’t routinely see in America, like open sewers flowing through the streets.
There was a joke that the water rose high every morning when the whole village got up and peed before starting their day. Except it wasn’t really a joke, it was true.
The people there were absolutely amazing. Very warm, kind, and friendly. They dressed modestly and had a lot of culture. I had the best time. I went back again the following year for a few more weeks. I wish I could go there now and take my kids because it was such a great life experience that has impacted me forever. I would even live there.
Sadly I don’t think the main part of Mexico is a very safe place these days. The news is kind of terrifying. Even when we were there they had men dressed in uniform with large guns and strings of bullets across their chests. I wish I could have taken a picture of those, but I didn’t dare.
One day we were taking a hot afternoon off and going to this amazing random Mexican pool out in the middle of nowhere. We saw some of these militia men suddenly take out a cow that had wandered up near the highway.
(This guy in the picture, Seth, died a few years later. He had a pacemaker and it quit in his sleep. Very sad.)
Here’s the funniest part about the cow. On the way back down the highway heading home we saw the same cow had been lit on fire!
Funny memory. It was so funny at the time that we made t-shirts with this picture on it once we got back home. High school, I don’t know…
At the end of this two week trip I became extremely ill. It was the last day, right before we left to return home. I’m not sure what made me sick. It could have been a number of things.
We knew not to drink the water from the faucets. I was carefully using bottled water to brush my teeth, keeping my mouth tightly closed in the shower, and being watchful for ice made out of unfiltered water. My best guess is I ate something on a raw fruit or vegetable that had been washed in contaminated water, or I simply got something in my mouth off of a dirty little kid who had been snuggling with me. I did a whole lot of kid cuddling during those trips. They loved the attention, they soaked it up like little sponges, and they didn’t bathe much let alone wash their hands after using the bathroom.
That last night I was suddenly so sick with diarrhea and nausea. It was horrible. I had this awful, weird gurgling feeling in my intestines
Up until that point in my life I never, ever had diarrhea. The only few times I’d ever had it before were when I’d gotten a stomach virus, and even those instances I could count on one hand.
That day was the turning point of doom for my digestive health.
I recovered from the Mexican diarrhea incident, but not fully. I’ve gone through periods of time where I feel mostly ok, though my intestines always hurt or burn and rumble.
Other times I only poop day a week, with cramps during the rest of the week. During that one day there is 24 hours of unspeakable misery. It’s a replay of The Mexican Diarrhea Incident once weekly.
Throughout the past twelve years I have visited multiple doctors. Absolutely none of which have been helpful. I was “diagnosed” with IBS just based on symptoms. I was given IBS drugs that didn’t work. I was told to drink more water and eat more fiber. I’ve had my intestines x-rayed and pronounced healthy.
At one point when Rosie was a baby I went to an herbalist. He was the first person who ever suggested that I may have picked up a parasite.
Why did no doctors say that before!? At that point I’d been through about five years of suffering, though at that point it had only been intense and debilitating on and off during the last few years.
The herbalist gave me a tincture to take. It was incredibly nasty. It was parmelia lichen tincture.
I drank the first dose and I felt high as a kite for about 24 hours. At one point there was a mass exodus of poop. Crazy gross. Talk about total clean out…
I drank the second dose two weeks later to kill anything remaining.
After that I felt better for a few months. I had normal poop again! It was like a miracle.
Unfortunately the symptoms slowly started returning. I went back to the doctor and they told me I was fine, that I had IBS, and again to drink more water and eat fiber.
I have been to more doctors sense then with no answers. Ridiculously frustrating and depressing. I’ve eaten strictly gluten free for months, been dairy free, gone through allergy testing and allergy doctor visits, all with no answers. I’ve taken supplements and probiotics. I’ve done all I could to survive through lack of quality health insurance, lack of money, and being busy with kids and life in general.
Lately whatever is going on in there has been in constant misery mode. The specific symptoms are that weird gurgling, which leads to very painful gas. The farts have a specific abnormal, unspeakable odor. I mean seriously you guys–it’s beyond words. Everyone has a smelly toot now and then. This is something beyond that. Each time I have a flare up of misery it smells exactly the same. It is in no way related to what I eat, I can say that with confidence after twelve years. I have, however, developed a complete intolerance of milk. Before Mexico I had no problem eating ice cream or anything deliciously dairy-filled.
And of course the horrible, debilitating poops shortly follow after a few hours of the scary farts.
Lately I haven’t been able to really eat anything because of the bloating, gas, cramps, and poops. It’s so awful. So, so awful. I even missed Thanksgiving because I was at home crying and pooping.
Today I saw a naturopath. We have excellent health insurance now and enough money to see doctors occasionally. Thank God.
The naturopath has a doctorate degree and a lot of experience. She mentioned that I seem to have giardiasis. Not IBS. Not “eat more fiber and drink more water” or any b.s. like that.
These are the symptoms of chronic giardiasis:
Watery, sometimes foul-smelling diarrhea that may alternate with soft, greasy stools (I have exactly this. I have named the weird poop peanut butter poop because of the consistency. It’s gross ya’ll.)
Fatigue or malaise (Well I have blamed this on children wearing me out, but…)
Abdominal cramps and bloating (Oh yes. Awful, so much bloating.)
Belching gas with a bad taste (Meh, not so much this thankfully. Sometimes, but not a huge complaint.)
Nausea (Sometimes, but never actually vomiting. Just an ugh feeling.)
Weight loss (Well I’ve had trouble gaining weight.)
I have ALL of these symptoms. I read further and found other reports of once a week mega misery being attributed to giardia too. The gurgling intestines are apparently a specific sign, as is the weird horrible fart smell. I also read that yellow poop is a sign. Sometimes my poop is golden, like the color of breastfed baby poop. Pre-Mexico it was never, ever yellow. Always dark brown.
The naturopath’s second theory is that the tincture I took years ago may have rid of the parasite, but it left my intestines with inflammation, which triggers what is known as post infectious IBS. However, the cure is not eating more fiber or drinking water. It’s healing the gut slowly and naturally, which she will help me do. She’s making out a prioritized list of supplements and herbs for me to take in order to get things back on track.
She also wants me to see a doctor and request some lab testing, which will be covered by my insurance through the M.D. I’m trying a new doctor this time, and I have high hopes. I specifically found a doctor I thought might not be totally clueless. He grew up with missionary parents, spending time in third world countries. He’s an M.D. of internal medicine.
I had to call the office and request to be added as a new patient, then wait for the secretary to call me back with his decision. She finally called back this morning while I was with the naturopath and she said he would take me as a patient, but they were going to be closed today (on a Thursday, random) and to call back tomorrow at 8 a.m. for an appointment.
I hope that means they can see me right away. Some of the other offices in this small town have told me that the soonest new patient appointments they have aren’t until March. Talk about b.s.
The naturopath was so kind that I almost cried. She understood how debilitating this has been. She said she was certain she could help me restore some normalcy to my life.
I miss eating. Lately all I’ve eaten is bone broth, turkey and chicken breast, jasmine rice, and some bread sometimes. The less I eat, the less I have to gurgle and poop out. Did I mention how miserable it is?
Sometimes I imagine what my life would be like had I not gotten sick in Mexico twelve years ago. Who knows what I might have accomplished had I not been spending large amounts of time curled up in a ball crying over pain and burning in my intestines.
It is what it is, I guess.
I feel cautiously optimistic for the future at the moment. If you’re the praying sort please pray fervent prayers for my visit to this doctor. Surely he will be open to testing me for Giardia. I’ve read the tests aren’t 100% accurate, so I’m hoping he will go ahead and treat me right away anyway regardless of the testing.
By the way, if you were wondering about the title of this entry: Bever Fever is an old fashioned name for Giardiasis. They originally thought it was caused by beavers contaminating streams. Fun fact of the day. :D