I have promised to write about my experiences with Dr. Riesman at the MindBody Medical Center in Brentwood, TN. I encourage you to read all parts of this series, including the prelude, Shelling out the BIG bucks for the sake of HEALTH. This is Part 1: Eaten Alive with Candida. Next will come Part 2: Natural Remedies For Anxiety and Part 3: The One & Only Detox/ Cleanse You Should Be Doing
This my friends, is what a candida overgrowth, hell a candida infestation, in your gut looks like! In my case I had a widespread candida infection. And these are the results that I achieved after just a few weeks of taking supplements to combat the candida. I wasn’t doing extra exercises, I wasn’t dieting…the only changes I made were taking the supplements as directed by Dr. Riesman.
So lets start from the beginning. What is candida? Candida is yeast, a fungus, and it is in all of us. But you can get an overgrowth for many reasons. Maybe your diet is too high in sugar or carbohydrates, the alcohol you drink on the weekends is causing an imbalance of bacteria, or the oral contraceptives you take, or those antibiotics you had to take when you were sick… When most of us think candida or yeast, we think of a feminine yeast infection or athletes foot or a diaper rash, but there’s a lot more to a candida overgrowth than that.
Candida may manifest itself as:
- Feeling tired, lack of energy
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections or urinary tract infections
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and carbohydrate cravings
Everything underlined above were symptoms I had. And who would have known? I mean my itchy ears have bothered me for quite some time now, and it was so annoying that sometimes I would sit around at home just twirling a q-tip around inside my ears for relief. But it just seemed like one of those things, and I never thought of it as being a health concern that would make me research why my ears were itchy. In fact, when Dr. Riesman specifically asked me if my ears were itchy, my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head. How in the world would he have guessed that my ears itched! HA!
But I was undeniably bloated. And although I could see and feel it, I didn’t realize just how bloated I was until I saw my own before and after photos. The candida overgrowth was causing a slew of symptoms. I couldn’t get rid of yeast infections because the problem was in my gut…that was home for the yeast, and it was going to keep reoccurring again and again until I destroyed the root cause, until the yeast didn’t have a place to call home anymore.
Looking back now I can also clearly see that my cravings for sugar and carbs was higher than it had ever been before. It was a slow process, little by little I craved more and more. And again this is one of those things I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I didn’t have those intense cravings anymore. I’m not saying that I don’t love eating sugar and carbs now. I’m just saying that before I had intense cravings, and it was a fight to resist them, and at some point a long the way those cravings became what I thought was a normal amount of cravings to have.
A portion of my digestive distress I was having was caused by the overgrowth. The other portion was because I no longer had my gallbladder and my body could no longer make the necessary digestive enzymes (Shout out to the medical team who thought it was necessary to remove my perfectly healthy gallbladder, read about that here.) Dr. Riesman started me on 3 supplements to combat the candida and a digestive enzyme. I had to take 2-3 capsules of each of these twice daily, some with food and some on an empty stomach. I was actually taking 9 different supplements total, and to keep track of everything I used a sharpie on the cap to know when and how many and how often to take everything. “3, 2x, empty” or 2, 2x, food”.
“Is it too hopeful to think that I will be doing significantly better in time for my wedding and honeymoon this fall?”
During my first appointment with Dr. Riesman in mid June I asked, “Is it too hopeful to think that I will be doing significantly better in time for my wedding and honeymoon this fall?” I was still scared of being confined to a bathroom in cold sweats and in pain on my wedding day or not being able to enjoy the food and beach on my all inclusive honeymoon. He looked at me strangely and said, “I would be surprised if you hadn’t started seeing improvements within a week”.
Kyle and I made the 3 hour journey back home, with some unfortunate stops. I hadn’t eaten a single bite that entire morning or afternoon because I knew I would get sick, and I absolutely had to make my appointment. To go off on a little tangent, the week prior, I had a turkey sandwich at home about an hour before my dentist appointment. I hadn’t but just swallowed the last bite of my sandwich when I started getting cramps. They built up, I started sweating, I couldn’t breathe, and I ran to the bathroom. Feeling a bit better and hoping that would be the end of it, I got in the car and drove to my appointment about 30 minutes away. I had just sat down in the waiting room when the second wave hit me. This time the nausea came with it. To the bathroom again, and god do I hate using public bathrooms. As if the next hour and a half wasn’t going to be bad enough just getting a cavity filled, but I laid in that chair, trying to meditate with every ounce of my power. I kept saying “It’s going to be okay. Keep breathing. You are going to get through this. You aren’t going to need to use the bathroom anymore.” But those thoughts were overpowered with the thought of having to burst out of the chair in the middle of having my tooth drilled, with gadgets in my mouth, to run to the toilet. Or getting so nauseous that I would throw up on my dentist. And I kept thinking, “Why didn’t I stay home?” Somehow I miraculously made it through that appointment and got home, avoiding any disasters. However, getting back to my original story, on my way home from my first appointment with Dr. Riesman, I was to have the worst car ride of my life.
It was 6PM and Kyle stopped at a Zaxby’s for dinner. I was starving as well because I hadn’t eaten a single thing all day. I didn’t order anything, but I had a few bites of his chicken, a bite of toast, and maybe 2 fries. We had just gotten back into the car when my stomach started rumbling. “We can’t go yet.” I had to run back into the restaurant. On what was remaining of the drive home (about 2 hours), we had to pull over two more times. I was in tears. Tired of feeling sick. Tired of not even being able to make a car ride home. Tired of not being able to eat. Tired of the humiliation.
But I have been doing much better. And if my words aren’t proof enough for you, then those photos should be evidence enough.
I also want to include in this post a list of foods that cause inflammation that my doctor said I should limit:
If you know me, I eat just about everything, and my general way of thinking is that everything is okay in moderation. Perhaps if I never ate any of these foods, I wouldn’t have any problems, but pulled pork is my favorite food (I’m serving it at both of my wedding receptions!), followed by shrimp, I love everything dairy, and I eat wheat and everything else on this list, and corn is an ingredient in it seems like EVERYTHING! HA! But I do try to be more aware, and if given the option to order one thing over another, I try to be mindful of what the better option for me is. But despite not “avoiding” these foods, and really not even “limiting” them from my diet, I am steadily improving.
And having less anxiety has made me a new person…but that’s for next time!