W.A.T.C.H.I.N.G was created to provide information and support for anyone suffering from autoimmune conditions.
I have Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, PBC-AIH Overlap Syndrome, Lichen Sclerosis, Eczema and Psoriasis. I have a young daughter who has a very good chance of also having PBC and celiac disease. I don't want her to have such a diagnosis without having a good plan of attack.
This is my mission, and I hope to help others with the information I gather on my journey.
First, my apologies for being MIA for so long. It has truly been a rough time recently, but not all bad. Just super busy.
Just right out of the gate I'd like to say I feel a bit better. Some days are better than others, but all in all, I do see some improvement.
I'd like to think that improvement will continue...
I'd like to talk about this year as it has been quite a year indeed.
First I graduated with a 4.0 from my Masters program! There were some close calls on getting a B, but I finally made it! Whew! :) When I told my daughter, Z, that I was finished she said "So you don't have to go to work anymore?!". Poor kid, I'd been in school since she turned 3, and I'd gone back to work at the same time too- so I guess she couldn't separate the two. But, at least there was less homework!
Then of course I got married! Lucky me, I got to find this sweet, strong, supportive man- and then I got to marry him! As a testament to our love for each other - we are still married, and this was a crazy year! Not even home from our honeymoon and his ex (seeing our happy wedding pictures) decided to start a war over the kids. It has been nothing short of heart breaking. More than about $12K (so far) later and almost the whole year, we finally have (mostly) resolved this. It won't ever be 'good' I suspect, but at least it's law now.
One very good thing has been Z's dad. In the past we hadn't gotten along either, but things have really turned around for us. We've been able to work together on various things for Z in such a way that is truly a gift for her. He and his wife have been really great this year, through all these difficulties.
Then, as part of his effort to maximize his time with his girls, my husband, W, quit all his extra jobs and changed his primary job to one that is less stress and less hours. No more overtime, and when he is with family he can really be present - not stressing over work. Truly a great change.
Around the end of August I got some bad news. My company has decided to close their office here. They gave us the option of moving to their HQ office, at their expense or giving us severance otherwise. I cannot move, so I will be taking the severance package. The office officially closes at the end of February. Then I'll be working from home until the end of September. A year notice is more than I could have asked for! But then I'm out of work.
I have some ideas.
For one, I have tech skills that are highly sought after (I'm a DevOps Engineer), so finding a job isn't the hard part. Right now I have companies calling me daily. But I feel like the right thing to do would be to work with my current company and help them through the transition to the new team. They offered great packages to promote a smooth transition, I do not want to burn any bridges.
Two, my position always has a (albeit small) chance of continuing on- if that could happen, I would be thrilled as I really do like my company.
And three, I may change career fields all together. Despite everything else going on, W and I managed to start a new company. We joined local networks here for support and guidance and we plan to move full force into our new venture. I am back in school (again)! for my license so that I might have multiple streams of income possibilities. The idea of losing my job terrifies me, so I am trying my best to cover all my bases.
And among all that has gone on this year, I have not felt great. I did go to the functional medicine doctor in September and I ended up doing quite a lot of tests. I had very high levels of E Coli, 3 types of strep and Candida in my GI tract. And my immune system measured low normal in that area. My doctor explained to me that it basically means my body gave up fighting these things off. But he said that this is all good news. These particular problems are known for causing joint pain and fatigue. It's as close to a smoking gun as we could ever have hoped for.
So I had to do a Vitamin C flush, and then maint doses (that pretty make you flush too), taking Candidastat and high levels of Probiotics and I am on a special diet for 10 weeks. Yep, right through the holidays I could have no vinegar or anything fermented, no dairy, no high sugar fruits, no potatoes or other starches (except sweet potatoes), nothing smoked/cured/dried, no sugar of any kind, not coffee or chocolate. Right through the holidays....But I survived. I've even lost 12 pounds (pretty much all I gained since I got married). This is my last week. And I do feel some improvement. I've been able to workout again, which is nice. I have been feeling very tired that last week or so, not sure what's going on there. Maybe just getting a bit of a winter bug, I hope anyway.
I also managed to create some really awesome sugar/dairy/grain free delights. I will be posting some recipes shortly. I use Pyure (a stevia mix) and Xylitol (true birch sugar). The xylitol actually helps make your GI tract more alkaline, which Candida hates. And I did not want any artificial sweeteners at all in my food. A mixture of these two has worked well for me.
At thanksgiving I was able to make stuffing, gravy and even candied sweet potatoes.
Throughout the holiday season I made muffins, breads and even a PoppyCock (toffee popcorn) knock off. W made wonderful dinners like Korma Chicken, Saag and a seafood bisque type soup. All sugar, dairy and grain free.
I have purposely not gone to get my numbers yet. I worry that this protocol does put stress on my body while it's killing all this off. I don't need my Liver Doc worrying about it just yet. Once my 10 weeks are up, I will probably go for another test. But I'm guessing I actually need more than 10 weeks, probably for the most part, much of this diet will just be my new normal.
I hope to continue improving, and I hope that my info (and recipes!) might help even one person out there feel better!
Here's to WATCHING your health and having a great 2016!