I think that one of the most difficult parts of healing was the extensive lifestyle change that came along with it. At first, I was miserable and a bit rebellious when I had to really change my diet in December. It was so difficult to do at first, because the parasites caused such intense sugar cravings. I really was almost addicted to sugar and felt withdrawal when I had to completely cut it from my diet. Not only that, but as I continued treatment and the die-off symptoms set in, my cravings only increased. Having been through the worst of it, I see how much of an impact my diet has had in my healing and my ability to function, and if anything, I have really become quite scared to eat nasty sugars after experiencing the side effects they still have on me.
Nonetheless, I still get sugar cravings, but rather than feeling deprived, I know how to tackle them. As of now, I am in a stage of my healing where I am able to add some sugars back into my diet.
As far as fruit goes, I still avoid bananas, apples, and grapes. My favorite fruit is mango, and I have recently began adding it back in to my diet here and there. If I am craving something sweet, mangoes and blackberries are my go-to fruits. I also make a green smoothie once a day, you can find the recipe here: Sara’s Signature Smoothie, and this helps curb my sweet tooth.
When it comes to sweets, I have found some healthy-er alternatives that my stomach is capable of tolerating now. About 2-4 times a week, I will enjoy a either a carrot (carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, and this muffin tastes just like it without the frosting), power, or top of the day (usually brown sugar and coconut… I love coconut) muffin from Whole Foods. I find that these really satisfy my sweet tooth and my stomach does not act up when I eat them. I opt for the muffins from Whole Foods because I know that they are not made with bleached and brominated flour, and are free from GMOs. When mending Leaky Gut Syndrome, it is important that your food is as pure as possible to avoid any further gut inflammation. Also, on occasion, I will buy a zucchini loaf from Whole Foods, which is delicious and tastes nothing like vegetables. Lastly, my Mom will make a dish that we refer to as, “shmoss”. She simply cuts up rhubarb, puts it in a warm saucepan, and heats it with a variety of both frozen and fresh fruits of choice, including: strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, etc. That’s it! I then eat it warm on top of a slice of berry poundcake, or chocolate or vanilla flavored angel food cake that we make at home or buy at Whole Foods!
Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, so I will eat yogurt to take care of sugar cravings. I like both Siggi’s and Smari yogurts because of their high protein content; I also like all of the Wallaby yogurts, and greek yogurts from Trader Joe’s. Since becoming sick, I have developed a liking for any vanilla bean flavored yogurt, so I will often eat one of those to curb sugar cravings. Chia seed pudding is also great for sugar cravings- you can either buy it or make your own! The chocolate bone broth protein powder from Ancient Nutrition also helps me combat my sugar cravings. I mix it with water and some half & half and it tastes like hot chocolate! I really recommend this as bone broth has so many benefits for the gut!
The one thing I miss the most is ice cream! When I was really sick, but had not yet switched to my diet, I would eat an entire quart of Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle ice cream in about 20 minutes, or pack away a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in about 10. I love love love ice cream. Nonetheless, the last time I ate it, I had terrible stomach pains afterwards, and my stomach began rumbling like crazy immediately after I ate it. The worst part was that the following day, a lot of my stomach symptoms reoccured, and I did not feel any of the food I ate in my stomach- my uncontrollable appetite literally immediately returned. I realized how frail my stomach still was, and since then, I have been too scared to eat ice cream again. However, the other day I had sorbet and tolerated it just fine! That’s what I’m saying though, you have to find substitutes that work for you, and you don’t crave the other stuff as much while you still cannot tolerate it!
Finally, the last and most effective suggestion that I have in order to tackle sugar cravings is by increasing protein intake! I found this on Dr. Axe’s article entitled: How to Kick Your Sugar Addiction, and oh how it works! I have really upped my protein intake and whenever I crave sugar, I eat more protein! Now, I find that when I have sugar cravings, I will opt for a shrimp tempura sushi burrito (yes, a sushi burrito) from Whole Foods, a brisket burrito from either Chipotle or Qdoba, anything with turkey, and BBQ chicken salads from Panera. In fact, the other day I was craving sugar, so I actually went ahead and made teriyaki salmon with a recipe I found on Natasha’s Kitchen’s blog. This is probably the most effective tactic to cut sugar cravings! I have also found that toast topped with guacamole and fried eggs is a delicious combination! Again, I highly recommend increasing protein intake to tackle sugar cravings!
brisket burrito from Qdoba
BBQ Chicken salad from Panera
Teriyaki salmon I made.
Well, hopefully this can help you curb any unwanted sugar cravings! Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments on how you combat sugar cravings!
I found that by reading about other peoples’ experiences and seeing what they found effective in order to heal, I was able to experiment and find what works best for me, and I hope people will be able to do the same when reading my blog! Around late December, I was experiencing terrible die-off symptoms. After reading Real food Rebel’s post on how to lessen die-off symptoms for Parasites, Lyme Disease, and Yeast (I had all three at the time), I began making green smoothies. Since then, I drink them almost every day; they are packed full of nutrients, are easy on the stomach, and taste good, too!
I still avoid fruits such as grapes, bananas, and apples because of their high sugar and carb content because my gut is not quite yet prepared to handle those fruits yet. However, I have found that this recipe is sweet and nutrient-packed. I use papaya as the base for my smoothies because it has many gut-healthy properties. Sometimes I change things up depending on whether I can find fruit on sale and what is in season. In fact, I have been given the “okay” to start eating mangoes again and they were 5 for $5.00 at the store the other day, so I added them in, or sometimes I will add strawberries.
In addition to regular greens, I add a couple handfuls of micro greens recommended by my doctor; they are extremely nutritious! This is optional as well, but I often add 1 teaspoon of spirulina because of its detoxification properties and assistance in eliminating candida (just what I need)! Also, I a few dashes of cinnamon because of its anti-inflammatory properties- Leaky Gut Syndrome is caused by an inflammation in the GI-tract, so I try to eat as many foods with ant-inflammatory properties as I can! Cinnamon also helps fight Candida! I then top my smoothie off with 1 teaspoon of bee pollen, which is full of antioxidants, an immune booster, and promotes healing according to Dr. Axe!
Anyways, here is the recipe:
1/2 of a papaya(depending on the size)
a few handfuls of pineapple
optional: a handful of strawberries, a mango, some watermelon, any fruit of choice
splash of water- feel free to add whatever liquid you would like. I like my smoothies on the thicker side so I only add a little water
1/2 of a handful of ice
1 teaspoon of spirulina- to see which spirulina I use, check out my “Current Regimen” post (My Current Regimen)
a couple handfuls of micro greens- I like both the Healthy Mix and the Kale ones and have added a picture of them below.
a few handfuls of Power Greens (a mix of chard, spinach, and baby kale), but you can use any greens you prefer
a few dashes of cinnamon
1 teaspoon bee pollen
These are the micro greens I like to use- I add around two handfuls to every smoothie I make.
I top my smoothies off with 1 teaspoon of this bee pollen. It adds sweetness and is full of health benefits!
Let me know if you give this a try, and feel free to share any of your go-to smoothie recipes!
As of now, my parasites are no longer the main issue, and whatever is left of them is stabilized by Ozone therapy. I am going to share my everyday supplement (and some foods) regimen that I use to help mend my leaky gut and assure that I am replenishing my essential nutrients. Eventually, I will post regimens for healing intestinal parasites, but this post is my current regimen for a recovering gut.
I have found that this is what works best for me. I recommend experimenting and finding what works does it for you! The most beneficial thing you can do for yourself is keep an open mind; especially when dealing with supplements, be open to trying anything, it will only help rather than hurt you!
I am going to list what I take in chronological order, if you have any questions feel free to ask.
The first things I take when I wake up in the morning:
First, I drink a glass of chilled ozinated water on an empty stomach
Next, I drink a glass of warm water with around 1/4-1/2 of a lemon squeezed into it- I do this to aid my digestion. I found that this really helps me feel food in my stomach throughout the day and assists my digestive system in translating food into fuel rather than not digesting it at all. This is on an empty stomach as well.
I then drink a warm cup of peppermint tea, which supports healthy digestion, with 1 teaspoon of Jarrow’s L-Glutamine Dietary Supplement. I recommend the powder form rather than a capsule. This is promotes a healthy immune system and muscles! I love this stuff- it is taken on an empty stomach.
Then, I drink a warm cup of water with 30 drops of Physica Liver Milieu (again, without food).
Immediately following, I drink another cup of warm water with 30 drops of Physica Drainage Milieu without food.
I drink 30 drops of the Liver Milieu in warm water twice a day on an empty stomach. It is important that your liver gets extra assistance in detoxifying after all of the trauma it has been through.
I do the same for the Drainage Milieu. The Drainage Milieu helps repair a Leaky Gut- it had really, really helped me feel my food and keep it in my stomach to be used as energy!
Finally, I drink a cup of water with a scoop of the Ancient Nutrition Chocolate flavored Bone Broth protein powder with some added half&half. I have found this extremely soothing and healing for the gut, and will drink it up to 3 times a day (depending on the severity of my gut).
Now, I usually grab either a yogurt, or some some chia seed pudding and take both a Physica Galt Fortifier supplement and either a Digest Gold or Rainbow Light digestive enzyme with it. I have always taken Digest Gold pills with every meal to assist in digesting my food; recently I switched to Rainbow Light digestive enzymes because they are a bit cheaper and are made with the same ingredients. It is important to try to lessen your sugar and carb intake, but I am at a point where I am able to eat muffins a few times a week in the mornings with my supplements. I prefer both the carrot muffin (I love carrot cake and it tastes just like it without the frosting) and the power muffin (it tastes soon good) from Whole Foods- they are free of bleached and brominated flour and I know they are free of GMOs (it is imperative that you are avoiding GMOs in order to allow your gut to heal, so if you are going to eat carbs and sugar, go for the non GMO options in order to help your gut).
Immediately following this, I will take two probiotic pills. I am not sure which probiotics I take, I change them on a regular basis. I know that I sometimes take Power Dophilus, but I will add pictures of the ones I currently take below. You can get probiotics from foods like yogurt, Kombucha, and kimchi (try adding more of those into your diet to promote healing, Kimchi is really tasty!), but probiotics in pill form are going to replenish the amount your stomach needs at a better, more effective rate!
After breakfast, I make a green smoothie! I cannot recommend these enough and will make a post with the recipe(s) that I have found the most beneficial for my gut. These are honestly so underrated- they are so nutrient dense and help my stomach keep the food in my stomach and use is as energy, rather than not even digesting it. Often, more times than not, I add a teaspoon of spirulina to my smoothies. Spirulina is a superfood and I have found that it helps boost my energy. Before drinking my smoothie, I mix 1/2 a teaspoon of RepairVite with warm water and drink that. I drink RepairVite before dinner as well.
I take two of these in the morning after I eat a snack. My probiotic selection changes regularly.
I take one of these at night after dinner.
I love this stuff! I blend a teaspoon of this into my smoothies almost every morning,It is a great immune booster, as my immune system became extremely weakened throughout my sickness. It does taste a little funky, so to mask the taste I like to add mango to my smoothies because it adds enough sweetness so that I don’t even taste the spirulina. Mangoes are a fruit my diet does not recommend, but I have been given the “okay” to slowly start eating them again! If you cannot yet add mango, I recommend adding strawberries and/or extra pineapple for sweetness!
I mix 1/2 of a teaspoon of this with warm water and drink it with food twice a day. The purpose of taking this is solely to mend a leaky gut.
Immediately following drinking my smoothie, I take a packet of GI-Synergy supplements. The sole purpose of these supplements is to mend a damaged GI-tract, and I have found it really works wonders for mending the gut. The pills come in individual packets of three. Take them with a lot of water and assure sure that they make it all of the way down into the stomach rather than getting caught in your throat, otherwise, you may feel heartburn.
That is it for a while. I do not take anything else until I eat lunch. Before lunch. I take another Galt Fortifier and either a Digest Gold or a Rainbow Light digestive enzyme.
Following lunch, I take 6 Vitamin C pills (it is impossible to overdose on Vitamin C, but consult your doctor to find out the right dosage for you), 3 Vitamin D3 pills, 1 Vitamin E, 1 Vitamin B-12, and 1 Zinc pill. Most of these need to be taken with food, so I usually just take them after I eat lunch. For the most part, these are just basic supplements that are essential independent of any health issues. I recommend consulting an expert to find out the dosage that is right for you.
Along with lunch, I drink a glass of Aloe Vera juice. I drink the Lakewood Organic Pure Aloe Inner Leaf juice. Make sure to drink the Inner Leaf juice because the Whole Leaf juice is a laxative! Also, I prefer the Lakewood Organic brand because there are no additives or preservatives, and I can pronounce all of the ingredients!
Before my ballet class starts, I take one Nature’s Way Maca Root supplement. These work wonders for endurance and energy, they act as a natural pick-me-up to help me get through ballet. The parasites really expended everything my body has, and even now, healing takes up the majority of my body’s energy. If you are in the process of healing and are lacking endurance, I highly recommend trying Maca Root supplements rather than any other energy boosters that may interfere with your body’s healing. When my ballet class ends between 6:30-7:00, I take another Maca Root supplement. These really make a world of a difference for me, and I highly recommend them!
Also, around 6:30-7:00, I take another 6 Vitamin C. 3 of the Vitamin C supplements I take contain Rose Hips in them, and the other 3 are normal. Rose Hips are good for the gut and fatigue, but I only take half of my Vitamin C with added Rose Hips, because otherwise I will get and upset stomach! Be careful with not to take too many of the Vitamin C with Rose Hips- I find mine at Whole Foods, and they come in a white and blue plastic bottle.
When I get home, I take 3 Fish Oil supplements, which I purchase at Costco. Fish Oil is so beneficial in so many ways and can be taken for purposes outside those that are strictly medicinal. It really supports immune system functionality and reduces inflammation.
Before Dinner, I drink 1/2 of a teaspoon of RepairVite mixed into a cup of warm water. I also take one more Galt Fortifier and either a Digest Gold or Rainbow Light Digestive enzyme to assist my body in digesting food and mending my leaky gut.
Immediately after dinner, I take one more probiotic supplement.
Before bed, I drink a cup of ginger tea with 1 teaspoon of L-Glutamine mixed in. Make sure that you add the L-Glutamine to your tea after your tea is done steeping and the teabag has been removed- you don’t want your teabag to absorb the L-Glutamine.
I then drink warm water mixed with 30 drops of Physica Liver Milieu and another mug of warm water with 30 drops of Physica Drainage Milieu.
Then, I take 1 Astralagus supplement (antioxidant, Immune Booster, and anti-inflammatory agent), 1 Bee Proplis supplement (anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helps fight parasites and candida), 1 R-Lipoic Acid supplement (antioxidant and supports a healthy liver), one Fenugreek (relieves stomach pains, and I have found it to relieve a lot of my stomach rumbling which causes me a lot of discomfort), 2 Neuro-Mag supplements (this helps enhance the connection between signals such as hunger and feeling full between my brain and stomach, along with healthy bones and energy enhancement).
The last thing I have taken at night, but am in the process of trying to remove it from my regimen completely are Melatonin pills. These help calm your mind and fall asleep. I used to take two, but am trying to take one or none before going to bed. I also used to take Gaba pills as well, but have eliminated those from my regimen. When I don’t have to wake up for school in the morning and the anxiety of knowing that I have to wake up early isn’t there, it is easier to fall asleep without Melatonin. As summer approaches, I plan on eliminating Melatonin from my regimen completely.
Yes, this supplement regimen is extremely inconvenient and difficult to follow, but I cannot function without it. This particular regimen has really enhanced my healing and is truly the reason I am able to function throughout the day again (as dramatic as it sounds). I recommend you try to find what works for you rather than following this exact regimen, but I hope this can give you guidance as to figuring out what you need in order to reach an optimal level of functioning!
Also, make sure to mouse over all of the pictures to read the captions!
To get the gist of my blog, simply click on the “About” tab. As for my first blog post, I am going to share my overall journey, hoping that it can be of help to others. I am new to blogging and really do not know what I am doing! Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, etc. I hope that this page will be able to offer some guidance anyone, independent of what their health issues are. If you have questions, feel free to ask, and there is even a “Recipe” and a “Regimens” page with recipes and the regimen that I found to be the most beneficial for healing. I hope this page is of help to readers, as I have broken down my experience into stages so that you can better-identify what meets your needs.
Earliest Symptoms before Diagnosis:
Disclaimer: It is important to understand that my symptoms were so peculiar and progressed in such a subtle manner that it really did not seem as if something was medically wrong for a very long time. At first, I really did not notice the symptoms, it wasn’t until they really progressed that I realized things were different. Nonetheless, the symptoms were so out-of-the-box that I just assumed they were stress-induced, and continued denying that anything could be wrong with me. I now understand how important it is to keep in touch with these kinds of changes, and hope that my story can help bring this same awareness to others’ attention.
My first symptoms began to appear around early July, 2016 once looking back at the entire experience. I noticed that I had started to develop restless sleep patterns. I had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep without interruption. I used to be able to sleep between 10-12 hours straight throughout the night (just like any normal teenager), but all of the sudden I began waking up after around 7 hours of sleep. The sleep I was getting was extremely restless, I was throwing pillows and sheets in every direction and could not get myself to feel comfortable. In addition, my appetite largely increased. I would eat a meal, but even after 1.5-2 hours, I was really hungry all over again. I have always had a large appetite, but I found myself in the kitchen around 2 a.m., famished, fishing for snacks. During this time, I was attending the summer intensive at my ballet studio, and my Mom and I simply assumed that all of the physical activity increased my appetite. Nonetheless, I was still able to eat and fuel myself in order to function and dance normally. As for the sleep patterns, we simply ignored them.
Immediately following my ballet summer intensive, my family went on a cruise to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. Throughout the cruise, my appetite only increased, but what else does one do besides pack away food on a cruise?! 🙂 My sleep patterns continued, but I also began to experience terrible, terrible stomach pains after eating. I had assumed that I wasn’t used to eating such rich food, and my stomach was temporarily irritated.
cake from the cruise
taken during my summer intensive
pasta from the cruise
Following the cruise in early August, I began a new school right away. In addition, my family was preparing to move houses, and I had started a new and extremely intense ballet program. This is when my symptoms really began to take hold, but I had assumed they were jut signs of stress from all of the changes in my life.
During the very beginning of the school year, my appetite really skyrocketed, and all I craved was sugar. I’ve always enjoyed sugar, but had a low tolerance for it, and therefore couldn’t never eat large amounts at once. This intolerance vanished and I couldn’t seem to get enough of it. Also, I began to put large amounts of salt on everything, which I never used to do. I never used to do this, in fact, I used to despise salty food- little did I know this was a clear sign of stomach bugs. I’d wake up in the morning, around 6:30 a.m., famished. I would eat a huge breakfast (two waffles, pancakes, cereal and milk). By the time school started at 8:30 a.m., I literally felt as if I was starving. My stomach would rumble uncontrollably and I felt so, so achey. I would snack on a banana and granola, but by the time my second class started at 10:00 a.m., I was absolutely starving…again. I would eat a yogurt and hummus and pita chips to tide me over until 11:30 a.m. I really could not feel satisfied. I would literally eat at least 8 full meals a day, no exaggeration . My ballet classes began at 4:00-4:30 p.m, or even as early as 3:00 p.m. when I had private lessons. I would eat a snack right before class (my snacks were literally entire bags of frozen gnocchi and an apple), but couldn’t even fuel myself to make it through my 30-60 minute private lessons. I would bring pasta, king sized candy bars, cookies, chicken, more yogurt, anything to ballet, but could never feel energized and satisfied, unlike over the summer when the food I ate still translated to fuel. I remember eating dinner and my Mom would say, “You aren’t going to eat all of that,” but I would and still felt hungry! I would eat quarts, not pints, but quarts of ice cream in one sitting!
At the time, I was preparing for a ballet competition known as Youth American Grand Prix, and was scheduled to compete two variations. My ballet classes were from 4:30-8:30 at night, and I had extremely intense 30-60 minute private lessons twice a week to work on my variations. I remember feeling so weak and fatigued. My legs felt like Jell-O, and I was so baffled as nothing I ate seemed to translate into fuel. I lost all of my endurance and couldn’t even dance a two minute variation without stopping. The parasites had a huge impact on my ability to work hard and push myself in ballet, no matter how hard I tried, I did not have the strength to hold myself and balance- my entire center was off, and I was just so, so weak.
My Mom and I assumed that my increased appetite was due to my intense ballet training, and all of the other symptoms were stress induced since there were so many changes in my life. However, we began to notice a degression in my ability to function mentally as well as physically. I never had attention issues, but I could no longer focus. My homework was taking longer than ever to complete, and I couldn’t even finish my tests in school during the allotted amount of time. My memory was impaired as well. I would study, but nothing would stick; I couldn’t even remember simple things like where I would set something down. My entire processing system really became so, so impaired. I struggled with head-fog, and it felt like the only thing that existed between my two ears were clouds of air rather than a brain. No matter how hard I tried, I could not remember combinations at ballet, and I noticed that I was severely zoning out while driving. My eyelids felt heavy, and I always felt so zoned out and disconnected. This was a huge red flag to my Mom, having dealt with children on the spectrum, she began to question if I was “buggy”. The final signal to seek medical attention were my sleep habits. I was always tired and fatigued, but couldn’t sleep throughout the night or nap during the day. Even when I was asleep, it was never a deep sleep, I always felt somewhat awake. Intestinal parasites are actually the most active between the hours of 2-4 a.m., so restless sleep is a huge red flag for parasitic infections.
By the time November came around, these peculiar symptoms were full-blown, and I decided it was time to seek medical attention.
Diagnosis and my First Doctor’s Appointment:
My first appointment was in early November. At the time, the doctor and my Mom assumed that I had caught the parasites on the cruise my family took in August (we later found out that due to the severity of the case, I had the parasites months before the cruise). Therefore, I was prescribed Kroger Herb’s Wormwood Combination and Rascal supplements along with a powder that I put in capsules called, Diatomaceous Earth. My doctor also recommended that I start a therapy (I can’t quite remember what it was called) where I placed a wand on my stomach that would remove the parasites. I was told that the supplements could kick in within the first dose, and that my symptoms should subside within 2-4 weeks.
At first, my symptoms exemplified. With research, we found out this was due to die-off. In addition to my present symptoms, I experienced fevers, nausea, joint pain, stomach pains, and even more weakness- I felt terrible. Nonetheless, I noticed some of my symptoms began to subside after a few weeks. By the time mid-December rolled around, my Mom and I assumed I was on the mend, and that I had regained my health just in time for Nutcracker performances. The weekend of December 17, 2016, was my last Nutcracker performance. Around this time, I noticed that my appetite and sugar cravings began to increase once again, but I assumed that I was overreacting and overthinking my symptoms. On December 16, I had my last Nutcracker rehearsal before our final show and a private lesson that afternoon. I had terrible, terrible stomach pains, but ignored the symptoms; I was determined to get through the last show. Before my private lesson, I passed around a 1.5 foot-long worm. Immediately after, I felt weak and famished, and my symptoms were worse than ever. My appetite was the most uncontrollable it had ever been, and I began to develop a weakness and frailty that could not seem to be even made tolerable by food and rest, it was so frightening. During this week, my Mom was away, but when she came home she got me into the doctor immediately.
My Second Doctor’s Appointment and my Ivermectin Moment:
Following Nutcracker, I went to my second doctor’s appointment. It was clear at this point that the Kroger Herbs were not completely taking care of the issue, and it was time to try something stronger. I described to my doctor that I had become extremely weak so he prescribed Ivermectin. At this point, my doctor also suggested that we do a stool sample and send it to a specific lab in Arizona known as, Parasitic Wellness. It is important that when doing stool samples for parasites, that they are sent to a lab that specializes in detecting parasites rather than one like Quest, as they tend to come back clean 99% of the time. I was to wait until that night before taking the Ivermectin so that my doctor could get the correct dosage (you don’t mess around with dosages on that kind of stuff ;)). My doctor was extremely helpful and dedicated in helping me heal and would text my Mom often with suggestions or just to check in on me. Finally, I had some blood work done to make sure that my liver was healthy enough to handle the medicine, and at that time, I was still showing healthy results.
Following my doctor’s appointment, I went to ballet class. Honestly, I should not have gone, my stress tolerance was extremely low by this point, and I was really just beating a dead horse. When trying to heal, do not overestimate your strength. The truth is, you are much weaker and intolerant than you think, and rest is vital to healing. I wish I hadn’t struggled and ignored how sick I was for so long, and therefore I may not have had to take so much time off from ballet in the future. Anyhow, the day passed and we still did not have a dosage for the Ivermectin. The following day was so terrible that my Mom and I actually made an agreement to go to urgent care if my symptoms continued to worsen. I came home from ballet that night, crying, I felt so sick. My symptoms were just getting worse, and I remember hysterically crying while eating a quart of ice cream (oh yes, the sugar cravings only increased), I was desperate, pleading to go to urgent care. As my Mom was grabbing the keys to take me to urgent care, the doctor sent us the correct dosage for the Ivermectin, it was the weirdest thing… talk about good timing. Without any question, I started the Ivermectin, so thankful to have a doctor that worked so hard to help me get on the mend. The following day, I did not notice much of a difference in my symptoms. The doctor recommended that I increase my dosage of Ivermectin by 5 times the previous amount. After increasing my dosage that afternoon, I went to my ballet studio’s audition for the spring production. During the audition, I started to feel dizzy- the room literally looked as if it was spinning. My vision began to blur and I became nauseous. After the audition, I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to drive home, but my Mom wasn’t too worried. By the time I made it home, I couldn’t even stand up anymore and had to lie down in a dark room. There was not doubt that I was reacting to the Ivermectin, and my stomach began to hurt terribly as well; I suppose we got a bit overzealous with the Ivermectin…
Four Weeks on Flagyl:
The following morning, my side effects began to subside, and my doctor decided it was time to use antibiotics and prescribed Flagyl. At the time, we had not yet sent anything to Parasitic Wellness, and figured that two weeks on Flagyl should take care of the remaining bugs. Thankfully, I started the antibiotics during winter break, so I assumed the two weeks off would give me enough time to rest and heal completely. At first, I did not show any side effects from the antibiotics, but after the first few doses (I began by taking one four times a day, but the doctor recommended that my dosage should be increased to 2 pills three times a day), I began to experience symptoms from the medication. First and foremost, I became debilitatingly weak. This was the worst side effect because I wasn’t able to function at all, and nothing seemed to help. I was literally in bedrest during the two weeks off, as the weakness was a combination of side effects and die-off symptoms. Next, I would get a really sore throat, along with dizziness, a stuffy nose, and the pills began to taste metallic. Around this time, I began to follow a diet similar to “The Candida Diet”. Antibiotics literally have a tendency to tear the lining of the gut and create excess yeast in the GI-tract. To assure that I wasn’t adding anymore yeast to my gut, I began taking probiotics and completely avoiding all sugars and carbs. Even natural sugars like bananas, apples, and grapes need to be avoiding because of their high sugar and carb content. Sugars and carbs translate into yeast in the stomach, so they are extremely important to avoid if you have any imbalances in your GI-tract. This diet was extremely difficult to follow at the time, since my sugar craving were worse than ever. A lot of these side effects were also exemplified due to the die-off of the parasites. I began taking Activated Charcoal at the time to decrease die-off symptoms, but it is extremely important that this supplement be regulated if added into your regimen, since there are some precautions that come along with it. As break subsided, I went back to ballet and school, with about a week left on Flagyl.
I had high hopes going back to ballet, hoping that I would have regained my strength and would be able to prepare in-time for the ballet competition scheduled the following month. I was greatly disappointed; after trying to do ballet, I was weaker than ever and became extremely nauseous to the point where I was barely eating. My Mom urged me to get through the last week of medication, and we were hopeful that my life would then return to normal.
The Aftermath of Flagyl:
About a week after finishing Flagyl, it was mid-January, and my doctor prescribed a series of healing supplements for the gut. During all of this time, I had still been on the Kroger Herb’s Wormwood Combination and Rascal, along with 20 capsules of Diatomaceous Earth a day. I increased my probiotic intake, stuck to my diet, and added L-Glutamine, Ancient Nutrition Chocolate Bone Broth Powder (this stuff is soothing for the gut and really helps cut sugar cravings-highly, highly recommend), and Physica Liver Milieu. The Liver Milieu was extremely important since my sleep patterns were more altered than ever. I was lucky to get 3-4 hours of interrupted, decent sleep at night, so my liver was unable to detoxify. I also began taking Gaba and Melatonin to calm my mind in hopes that it would help me fall asleep. It was clear that I was still very sick and by this point, not even capable of functioning anymore. My symptoms, especially weakness, and the inability to even feel food in my stomach were really bad- no matter what or how much I ate, my stomach felt empty and would literally rumble in hunger, thus contributing to my weakness. I would eat and literally feel nothing in my stomach, never feeling remotely energized. With everything unraveling, a finger prick test was scheduled which would hopefully give us results as to what was wrong.
Test Results and Recovey:
By mid-January my condition was at its worst. I began to physically look very sick, I became extremely pale, I had no color in my face, and had developed dark circles under my eyes. Also, the bed of my nails became filled with white speckles- a sign that I lacked nutrients as my body was both unable of absorbing any nutrients, and the parasites depleted most of my nutrients as well. Once the test results came back, it became clear how sick I really was. I tested positive for numerous helminths and protozoa- especially hookworm. I began showing signs of developing Crohn’s Disease and was in the early stages of Lyme Disease. These results were a reality check, and it became clear that my health needed to be the priority in my life. Sadly, I had to withdraw my variations from YAGP and stop ballet completely for three weeks. My immune system crashed and became very weak once my sickness took over. I became susceptible to catching colds and caught every cold anyone in my family got, and was therefore not allowed to leave the house very often. To replenish nutrients, I began I.V.s filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Amino Acids, and additional nutrients. My doctor said that this was the worst parasitic infection he had ever seen and encouraged me to really take it easy in order to heal.
During the next three weeks, I really began to focus on healing. It is important to understand how vital it is to remove all forms of stressors in order to heal. Yes, it feels as if you’re wasting your time, but it really needs to be done in order to heal. I began to take naps everyday, and I would take 1-2 Epson Salt baths a day as well. I began adding supplements such as: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, Fish Oil, Astralagus, Bee-Propolis (antioxidant), R-Lipoic Acid, and Zinc, in addition to the I.V.s to my regimen. I also started new parasitic supplements to substitute the ones from Kroger Herb’s. My diet also became a huge focus- I really had to avoid sugars and carbs. After reading someone else’s blog, I began to make green smoothies, which have been so, so soothing (you can find my daily smoothie recipe under the “Recipes” tab). During one of my I.V. treatments, I spoke with someone who had similar issues and she recommended chia seed pudding, pure bone broth, and celery juice. All of these really soothed and helped my gut heal, I highly recommend them! Sadly, I was prescribed doxycycline for an additional four weeks to treat the Lyme Disease. These antibiotics caused major nausea and messed with my appetite.
It was a difficult three weeks of bedrest and I found myself absolutely consumed by my illness, waiting to improve enough to go back to ballet. I caught a couple of colds over that time, and I found that whenever my immune system had something else thrown at it, my healing took a backseat. If I caught a cold, my ability to feel food in my stomach would completely dissipate, and my weakness would worsen. For those with similar issues, understand that your progress will return once your immune system is able to heal any distractions. Nonetheless, I was on the mend. I began to feel some of my food, my weakness lessened, and I was able to sleep, only waking up a few times during the night with the use of Gaba and Melatonin pills. Within the three weeks, my Mom and I got in touch with Parasitic Wellness in Arizona, and the results were great! I had a few protozoa that had to be monitored and A LOT of excessive yeast in the stomach. With such great news, and a newfound strength, I decided it was time to go back to ballet.
YAGP and Leaky Gut Syndrome:
I began ballet again February 2nd and was able to compete in two group numbers at YAGP on February 11th. My first ballet class was amazing- I had more strength than I did all year, and my center of balance was back! However, I pushed myself way too hard that day and was no longer feeling my food that night. The following day was our public showing of the routines we were competing in a week, and I took a major step back. My weakness was really bad, and no matter how much I ate, I didn’t feel any food in my stomach. I took the following week very slowly, taking limited amounts of ballet class and made it through the competition!
This was quite the wakeup call- it became clear how long it would take for my gut to heal after all of the damage done, between the antibiotics and the parasites, it was estimated that it would take at least six months to years for my gut to heal completely. I was still so weak and became discouraged. I returned to the doctor, where I was diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome. After all of my stomach trauma, my gut was literally torn apart I was incapable of digesting food. Leaky Gut Syndrome still left me weak and incapable of feeling my food and translating it into energy. Also, since the gut and the brain are so connected, I became extremely depressed and anxious.
I began Ozone shots with the intention that they would speed up my healing and give me the strength and energy I needed to function again. After receiving the shot, I became extremely tired and fatigued, but within a few days, the shot began to kick in (I found that this is just how the shots worked).
I began to receive shots weekly. They took a few days to kick in, but only lasted 3-5 days. Nonetheless, with each shot, I gained a bit more strength and energy. When each shot wore off, I became disheartened and my anxiety rose. It was clear that the Ozone therapy was working, but the shots were not the most effective method of treatment. My Mom decided to invest in an Ozone machine so that I could begin Ozone insufflation treatment and drink Ozinated water. I began the therapy once a day, and the doctor eventually recommended that I do it twice each day, and to this day, I continue Ozone therapy. The doctor also added supplements such as, GI-Synergy pills, RepairVite, Galt Fortifier, Digest Gold (to promote digestion of my food), and Drainage Milieu. I also finally got to discontinue all of my parasite supplements!
My last resort to helping treat Leaky Gut has been fasting- painful, but extremely effective. Leaky Gut Syndrome leaves your stomach so hyper-inflamed, that anything consumed that has to be digested adds to the inflammation. To lessen the inflammation, try going a day with just drinking mostly translucent fluids such as bone broth and Kombucha.
Healing Leaky Gut and the Slow but Steady Return to Normality:
As of April, 2017, I see the light at the end of the tunnel! Not everyday is good, but each bad day becomes better than the previous one. I am slowly returning to being capable of functioning normally. I notice that I no longer crave as much sugar or add as much salt on my food (parasites have a tendency to cause you to put additional, heaping amounts of salt on EVERYTHING). There was actually a spot on my gum that had completely disappeared; my body began exhibiting catabolic reactions and literally eating itself when the parasites had nothing left to feed on. Anyways, my gum has almost completely regrown. My head feels clearer, and I am becoming capable of problem-solving and focusing again- it literally feels like a cloud has been lifted from inside my head. I am sleeping at a level deep enough to where I have started dreaming again, and I am able to sleep through the night without Gaba and only one or no Melatonin pills. I feel that I am digesting my food, rather than it just sitting in my stomach. Also, the white specks have started to dissipate and less are growing in. It is amazing what we take for granted.
This whole experience has really forced me to listen to my body, as it is still very frail. For those struggling with similar issues, it will be difficult and inconvenient, but you really have to almost “baby” yourself. Sleep is so, so important. I try to get at least 8 hours (it is hard), but sleep makes a world of a difference and is so important in order to heal and stay healthy. If I don’t get at least 8 hours, I make sure to take a nap during the day. I follow an extremely strict supplement regimen and diet (I will make a post on how to make the most of the strict diet and curb sugar cravings), and I am working on how to overcome the mental instabilities that comes along with Leaky Gut Syndrome and the trauma from the parasites (it is much more difficult than I had ever imagined). All in all, I am so thankful for all of the sacrifices my Mother and Doctor made, and the support they provide in order to help me heal. Both my ballet and school instructors were so accommodating and supportive as well. This experience has taught me to take nothing for granted in life, and I really feel that I have changed with the experience. In the end, I have a ways to go, but the progress I have made is absolutely unbelievable.
All in all, I hope that I can help others with this blog and offer guidance and insight, along with further details for healing healthily. Stay tuned for additional progress and posts!