Healing: Learning from the pain.

This is the third part of my journey to get to the good health I have been enjoying in 2015.   I am excited to get this posted as the back story so I can start blogging about recent discoveries and what natural healing methods may be yet to come.
In 2014 I had a pretty severe flare up of ulcerative colitis again.  It messed me up for a few months but I learned a whole lot from it.
I continued into spring 2014 with my strong immune systems – another winter of no colds or flu.  Allergy season came and my sinuses were fine, it was my stomach that was the issue.  I went through spring and summer with too much stomach acid therefore many things I ate or drank just felt like pure acid in my stomach.  Wine was the first thing to get eliminated but by mid-summer, after trying many substitutes, I was down to water or iced tea at the bar on Friday nights.
The last Friday of July I woke up with a tickle in my throat and swelling around ‘ole faithful’, the back molar on the right side.  This tooth had been torture in my twenties to resolve with root canal, surgery, and a crown.  For at least 20 years the gum would swell around the tooth every August.  I would also experience swelling in other places at the same time.  I had a cyst removed a long time ago as it would enlarge every August along with the gum around the tooth.  It was my annual period of inflammation!
This is one of those things you tell your doctor about and they smile at you but they roll their eyes which tells you that they think you are crazy.  I felt for years I had some toxic growth happening under the tooth but no evidence to support my claim.  I felt a bit validated by articles that Dr. Mercola has posted about root canals being the cause of disease and complications.
So this Friday in July, when the throat hurt along with the tooth swelling, I was afraid I was in for trouble.  I was right as by lunchtime the side of my face had swollen – I had an abscess.  I got into the dentist right away and he confirmed it.  He sent me to over to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for antibiotic to try to fight the infection over the weekend and then work on the tooth on Monday.
As I waited for the meds to be ready I walked around the pharmacy looking for a natural pain reliever as my face hurt but I didn’t want to take any pills that would upset my stomach.  When I was called to the counter I asked the pharmacist to recommend something safe for pain, I mentioned my concern for my UC.  She immediately grew concerned and said that I couldn’t take the antibiotic I was just prescribed.  She got on the phone with the dentist and had the prescription changed to an antibiotic that I had taken previously with no ill effects.
I took the antibiotic over the weekend and by Monday morning the swelling in my face was reducing.  I also had a taste of blood in my throat and mouth so I suspected that the abscess opened.  My experience at the dentist was better than I prayed for (check it out here).
My tooth was on the mend but by mid-week I knew my gut was in trouble. The diarrhea began along with the bleeding. I had some suppositories in the house that I began using again.  I also began taking turmeric in teaspoons of ghee.  I called my gastro doctor for an appointment but was told it would take 3 weeks to get in to see him.  The middle weekend of the month I was very ill with constant running to the bathroom.  I got an appointment with my GP for the Monday but had to find my own way to make it through the weekend.
I looked colitis on the webpage for Dr. Weil as I was looking for natural remedies (I know he gets natural healing advice from Dr. Lowdog so this is why I turned to his site).  He had four products that he recommended so I wrote them down as my shopping list and went to the health food store.  They were: Culturel probiotic, Curcumin (supplement of the turmeric I was taking), L Glutamine, and Slippery Bark Elm power.  I found all of these at the health food store and began my treatments.  For food I ate cauliflower sautéed in ghee with turmeric and ginger.  I saw slight improvement each day.  I found myself calling the slippery elm bark gruel my ‘elixir of life’ as it gave me back some energy each time I drank it.
I saw my GP and I discussed the cause of the flare up.  She seemed unconvinced that it was the antibiotic I took as it was a mild one.  I made the suggestion that it could have been my ingesting the infection that drained from the abscess.  She seemed agree with me that it was a possibility. (It’s nice to have one doctor who at least tries to consider that I might know something about my own body.)
When I finally saw the gastro doctor it just made things worse.  He put me on a stronger antibiotic that set my progress back weeks and it made me feel absolutely ill for a couple of hours after taking each pill (3 times a day too!). I had to cut back my work hours just to take the meds.  I had also asked him for a recommendation of probiotics because I wasn’t convinced that the single bacteria type that Culturel was was the right thing.  He said he didn’t prescribe to probiotics helping and would only recommend “Danactive” yogurt.  I bought some of this product.  After several days of being on the antibiotic and drinking the Danactive I realized it was contributing to my nausea with the pill.  I stopped it.
I suffered on the meds until mid-September when finally I finished it – it was torture.  I stopped the Culturel shortly after this and found some improvement.  Next I stopped the suppository as I felt it was contributing to the bleeding.  I found more improvement each day.
I saw the gastro again at the beginning of October. I learned that my stool test came back negative for the condition he had put me on the strong anti-biotic for.  I realized that I suffered through taking the meds and worsened my condition and he didn’t have the courtesy to call me to tell me I could stop the meds.
Possibly the biggest part of my self-treatment through all of this was my decision to remain positive about my ability to heal.  I knew me and my body could figure this out together and that we would come out better on the other side if we didn’t drop down into feeling like a victim.
My gastro doctor didn’t appreciate my optimism about my improvement, he pointed out to me that I said I was still being woken early in the morning to run to the bathroom so I was still sick.  I heard what he said and took action; I followed my gut and sought out a probiotic that I felt would be right.
I headed from my appointment to the pharmacy and found a probiotic with 30 billion units and over a dozen different bacteria types.  It cost more than I had allowed myself to spend before but this also told me that I was probably on the right path.  I took the probiotic that night and the next morning I was not woken up by the need to run to the bathroom.  Within a couple of days the bleeding stopped.
I stayed aware of my symptoms and the next focused on why was my stool was foamy.  I actually googled this and found that this was a sign of candida.  I didn’t have any of the other symptoms but decided to see if I could treat this myself.  I read that cloves were anti-fungal so I began drinking tea with ground cloves in it.  I did this for a whole weekend and I spent Saturday afternoon running to the bathroom with liquid just pouring out.  It wasn’t fun but it worked – within days I had normal stool again.
The natural remedies I learned were:
A good probiotic – high unit count and diversity
Curcumin/Tumeric for inflammation
Slippery elm bark – for the nutrition, energy, and I think it helps sooth and coats your insides
Cloves for yeast overgrowth
L Glutamine – heals the lining of the gut
Optimism, prayer, meditation, self-love and caring.
I saw the gastro doctor in mid-October for a colonoscopy.  Things were back to normal for me. He couldn’t hear it.  I was worried that all the prep for the test would set me back but I did fine with it.  He told me I had more inflammation then the test four years before had shown.  I was not surprised after what I had just been through.  It didn’t change my moving forward on my path of healing and well-being.

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