It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Two weekends ago I had as close as I’ve ever come to a total breakdown. My bladder symptoms were flaring, and new ones were popping up as well. I had to cancel my plans for the day and I pretty much lost it. I became so frustrated that I’ve been working so hard to restore my health, and it seems like whatever I try I can’t get better. Some days you just get so tired of fighting.
However, in the midst of all the pain and frustration, I had a bit of a breakthrough. A few days before, I had reached out to a practitioner for help, and she had responded with some information for me to go through. I had read most of it before but I stumbled upon a comment on one of the links that led me to a website. The website was all about healing holistically from chronic bladder problems. I started obsessively reading through the whole website, one page at a time. One post particularly struck me as it described exactly what I’ve been going through. And then this one illuminated a connection between bladder problems and candiasis, a systemic yeast overgrowth in the gut that irritates the bladder in some people. Candida overgrowth was something I have suspected for a long time, but I never had enough evidence or a good enough explanation for why it would result in my symptoms. After I had thoroughly read the website, it really started to make sense. I also joined the Facebook support group, where literally THOUSANDS of people receive support for the same issues that I am facing.
While I don’t agree with everything that is recommended, and many of the claims lack a scientific basis, I have no doubt that the author is on to something here. And I have to say that after two years of feeling like I was the only one struggling with this, it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to know that there are many others going through the same thing, and now I have a way to reach out to them.
After processing everything that I had read, I came to a couple of conclusions.
- I have been doing everything right so far. By following the GAPS diet, I have been healing my gut, which is paving the way to heal my bladder in time. Without healing the gut first, any progress that I make with my bladder will not be lasting. Although the website author claims that by following the protocols she describes, you can be free of candida and healthy in less than a month, I know better by now. Doctor Natasha, the creator of GAPS, writes on the FAQs section of her website,
Candida is not alone in the gut, it lives alongside thousands of other species of microbes, which affect each other, control each other and communicate with each other. GAPS Programme does not just deal with candida, it restores the microbial balance in the gut; and it is that balance that brings candida under control.For long term success, it’s all about bringing things into balance. And balance takes time.
- Maybe the pain/extra symptoms I’ve been having should be taken as a sign of progress. There is a concept called “die off” in the chronic illness/gut dysbiosis community. It means that when you finally start to make progress towards healing, and your body is starting to re-balance itself, you are going to feel it! Most of us that are chronically ill are seriously out of balance when it comes to bacteria and yeast populations, and there is a lot of bad stuff to be gotten rid of in order to regain health. As the bacteria and yeast are killed off, they release toxins in the body, and it can at times be too much for the body to handle. This results in symptoms that sometimes make it feel like you’re going backwards. The urinary system is one of the biggest detox pathways the body has, so increased bladder symptoms make sense in this context.
Interpreted this way, rather than being just an annoyance, I am looking at my current batch of symptoms as my body telling me it’s time to push. By following the GAPS diet for the past 5 months (as well as doing everything else I’ve done over the past two years), I’ve strengthened my immune system and digestion to the point where it’s trying to re-balance and heal itself on its own. It’s a lot to manage so I’m having symptoms when my body is killing microbes faster than it can clear them. To help my body through this process I’m going to start an herbal regimen to help kill off the candida. I had been holding off on doing this because even though herbs are a gentler alternative to antimicrobial/antibiotic drugs, they still have some side effects and can kill good bacteria as well. However, after supporting my body so well for a while now, and carefully listening to what my body is telling me, I think this is the right choice for right now.
It’s exciting to finally be at this point where I can start to see how I’m going to get to the finish line of all of this! I’m not kidding myself that it’s going to be easy and symptom-free from here on out, because if I’ve learned anything from this chronic illness experience, it’s that healing does not happen in a straight line. However, I feel newly confident that as long as I continue to support my body with the GAPS diet, ensure proper digestion and detox, and start to disable the candida with natural supplements and herbs, I am going to get my health back – 100%.
I’m so proud of my body for how strong it has become, and everything it does every day to get me back into shape. I’m also proud of myself for having the dedication to stick to this course, and prioritize my gut for this length of time. I love that I have become so in tune with my body, and know that this connection will serve me for the rest of this journey.
Time to push!