A Tale of, Oh Nine or So Doctors (Pt. 4, The One with the Diagnosis)

Today it was time for a follow up appointment with Dr. Six. He’d run a ton of bloodwork, so we went over the results.

All of my normal blood test results were normal (kinda convenient, eh?); what came back weird was the test that he ordered for Candida Albicans anti-bodies. Basically, he explained it this way – the more of something bad you have in you posing a threat (like Candida-gone-rogue), the more antibodies your body makes to fight them. Makes sense, right? But unfortunately, with this fungus (maybe all fungi, who knows, I’m not a doctor), those antibodies manage only to tear down the fungal cell walls, releasing all the toxins out into, say, my bloodstream.

There are 7 classes of infection. Basically, the least is Class 0, and there would be a <1 result for that. I think Class 2 is 3-5, and I know Class 5 is 50-100. I tested in Class 6, >100. Which means basically my body is fighting tooth and nail against this stuff, and it’s everywhere, and there isn’t currently a category for a worse infection than mine. The toxins are causing all my inflammation.

Now apparently this is a very controversial diagnosis, and has been since the 70s, but a lot of people have been helped by the treatments. And the book sounds an awful lot like me. And, come on, those test results are freaky. And Dr. Six is, as we know, awesome.

Dr. Six has put me on a four-pronged treatment plan. He drew this cool diagram and explained it all and I am not going to do that for you, so here’s my weak explanation of all the stuff he said.

  1. Prescription anti-fungal medications. I’ll actually be taking 2 – one that arrests growth and the other that does heavy damage. Apparently, it might cause a lot of pain (compared to now, even!) to attack hard, so we are going to be a bit gentler on my system.
  2. Diet change. Oh my stars, people, my diet is going to have to change SO MUCH. Because basically, this stuff feeds on mold and sugar. And guess what has sugar in it: EVERYTHING. And guess what has mold in it: ALMOST EVERYTHING ELSE. Just to give you a sampling, here are some things I cannot eat, probably ever again: wine, beer, almost all cheese, anything made from wheat flour, melons, pickles (yes, including pickled okra), white rice, most dried herbs from the grocery store, soy sauce, and peanut butter. This diet change is supposed to facilitate the starvation of the fungus.
  3. Probiotics. As we kill all this bad stuff, we don’t want a vacuum to form – or we’ll likely just get more Candida growth. So instead, we are trying to fill in that “space” so to speak with good stuff. Probiotics = good bacteria introduced. I think this makes sense.
  4. Exercise. For me right now, this can mean walking around the pool a couple of times on some days and walking downstairs and then back up on others. I am very limited by my pain. But every little bit will help the good guys win and the bad guys lose, so I guess I’ll be trying to do more laps around the pool.

There is a secret 5th prong: DRINK A WHOLE LOT OF WATER. But that I’ve gathered from the books and websites I’ve been reading.

So when will I be better? That’s definitely still an unknown. Dr. Six has treated patients with the the whole 9 yards for anywhere from 6 months – 2 years for this condition. He does think I should feel a definite change within the next four weeks, which is good, because while I was waiting in the lobby, I had to run to the bathroom to throw up because of the pain. So a definite change will be welcome.

Y’all, ever since this started I have had scads of folks tell me what they thought was wrong with me, and suggest I go see their favorite doctor because s/he figured it out. Sometimes, the connections were incredibly tenuous, or people were like, “I knew someone once whose cousin had this thing on her toe and a sore on her mouth, and it turned out she had brain cancer. Maybe you should get checked for that.” Amidst all the hubbub and the help (cause people were really trying to help, and some of them succeeded), my dear friend Missy correctly guessed what was wrong, and pushed me to push doctors to look into that.

Since I’d rather reward Missy’s sheer brilliance than do the typical blogger “giveaway to random integer generator commenter luckier than you person,” I’ll be giving her a little something soon (I’ll keep you posted). I’d do something similar for the friend who recommended Dr. Six, but she’d be mortified, so instead I think I will get her a book and keep it on the down-low.

(Obviously you’ll want to know how this diet is going to go. And whether killing the fungus will kill my brain, which perhaps has been itself a giant mushroom for years. And if I adopt a parrot that can only say “Occupy Wall Street!” So stay tuned.)

(Unless you’re totally grossed out. In which case, by the time I’m actually back in heels and doing theology, you will miss it.)

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