SO sorry: it has been ages since my last confession. Well, update anyway. I last did a proper progress report in February, then told you the good news about my adrenals in March, then here we are in May! My only excuse is busyness: Spring is traditionally my busiest time of year clinic-wise.
Anyway, lots to report on for you, so here goes if you are interested (I find doing this actually helps give me a written progress record so I do it anyway ;))…
In Feb, I had dropped to 24 – the elusive under 25 score (remember 0 is good, over 200, where I was originally, is baaad). Sadly, it didn’t last and March increased to 33 and carried on increasing in April to a very displeasing
The reason: the ubiquitous gum problem, which began again right on the 1st March and is still going on (grr), hence the higher scores recently. It’s been at a low level most of the time but has caused sinus pain and headaches on and off as well as the usual not being able to eat very much (this is great for my figure at least!).
In a bid to get to the bottom of it, I had a dental swab test done by a lab in Germany. Why oh why these tests are not done in the UK beats me when they are de rigeur in Germany. Suffice to say, it was really worthwhile having done and I will be adding it to the test menu as soon as I can get it sorted.
Basically, the test looks for any sign of bacteria – things you expect to be there in periodontal disease/mouth problems – as well as nastier types, super (resistant) infections and fungal problems. Mine came back showing some normal and nasty bacteria (15 types in all) but thankfully no super strains and no fungals. At least I now know what I am dealing with.
I was really pleased too that the lab had also given a suggested treatment strategy and recommended both antibiotic and naturopathic regimens. We had a right laugh trying to get the German translations worked out, but are getting there gradually.
I am currently working out TGF safe versions of the things recommended and a German company that the lab refers you to has already made me some essential oil suppositories and mouth treatment to add on top of the suggested antibiotics so I can blast it with both types of prescription at the same time. I think I have even found a safe antibiotic; I will let you know. I am determined to beat it as I really think it is at the heart now of my continued sensitivity. I notice a definite increase in sensitivity after each episode.
I don’t think, though, that it is all caused by the bacterial infection. I think the mouth problem is a combination of infection and gluten damage. We know that gum tissue – a mucosal tissue – is a target for gluten damage and inflammation and I reckon there is a vicious circle going on whereby the gum is attacked, becomes more permeable, reacts to substances, lowers the immunity and bacteria have a field day.
So, treatment involves knocking out the bacteria and repairing the mucosal barrier as usual. Part of that will involve Vitamin C, which I don’t seem to be able to tolerate, even the cassava ones, which may in fact be the whole reason for having the mouth problem in the first place, or at least exacerbating it. Just today I have got some pure squeezed acerola cherry juice to try instead as it is extremely high in Vitamin C and people use it as a Vitamin C supplement at a couple of tablespoons a day. We’ll see: another new thing to try, arrggh…! Will let you know.
Good news here in that I have found a possible OK painkiller we don’t have to stick up our bums :). About a year ago, when the mouth infection was causing excruciating jaw bone pain, I presented myself at my GP’s on a Saturday morning and she was so shocked at the state of me (I was shaking with the pain and about to pass out), she gave me some morphine and some Co-Codamol.
When it had calmed down and I came down off the morphine (!), I went to the pharmacy to get the Co-Codamol. It was corny so I asked for the Rx to be changed to an effervescent version which I thought would be less problematic, if not perfect. Thankfully, I never had to use them.
A few weeks ago, though, that pain returned and, in desperation, I got them out and took one. Within four minutes, the pain had subsided enough to cope with and I gingerly waited for the migraine to start. It never did! Apart from having an upset stomach, feeling spaced out (not used to strong drugs) and actually having nightmares that night, they have been fine. Halleflippinlujah. I don’t want to have to use them, but actually knowing there is something there if I am in unbearable pain is SUCH a relief. Also, it means I can take some if I am out or away somewhere without having to lie on my right side for 45 minutes to keep the bum drug in long enough to work! Too much information there again…?! (I say it though only as it is useful for others to learn these things, promise.)
Anyway, they are Co-Codamol 30/500mg Effervescent Tablets. They contain 500mg paracetamol with 30mg of codeine. Click on the link to see the full patient leaflet. You will see it does contain citric acid and sorbitol so I would have expected my normal grainy reaction, but not so far – and you know how hyper-sensitive I am! You may not be the same, so please consider carefully.
Migraines 1 down, 1 to go
Some more good news is that I seem to have cracked the monthly period migraine. I am SO pleased with this. As you may recall, I tend to get two main migraines a month: one related to my period and one where I have reacted to something. Obviously they can be more often than that but that’s my average nowadays. They last 2 days as opposed to the 5 days they used to, thank goodness.
I ordered some customised cloth pads (with much trepidation and after much research) and used them from March onward instead of the usual sanitary wear. Result: no absorption of corn from the usual stuff and no period migraine for the last 3 months! I will do a special post on the pads etc shortly as there might be a bit too much info here for our male readers maybe! Suffice to say, they are cuter and much easier to use than I imagined, but I’ll leave it there…
Skin and Creams
One of my on and off sensitivity reactions in sore skin – like eczema but I’ve never had it diagnosed. It comes and goes but, for the life of me, I haven’t yet worked out what it is. At the beginning of the year, I think I mentioned that I was feeling ‘buggy’, just not myself: low grade headaches, aching etc. At the same time, my skin started being more consistently sore.
I worked out that I was feeling OK when I got up in the morning, but by mid morning, I was feeling rubbish again. I put it down to breakfast, but lots of changes made no difference, so I turned to what else I was doing every morning. The first thing I checked out was my moisturising cream from NHR. I have used this happily for years.
Just to be sure, I looked up the ingredients on line and – whoa – the ingredients list on the website and those on my label were totally different! The new ingredients list contained alcohol and other possibly grain-derived ingredients that weren’t there before. I stopped it immediately and within 3 days felt tons better.
I called NHR to ask what was going on. They explained that they had changed the formulation a few months ago but had not yet had new labels in and were working through their old ones. I had had a new order in and started using it just before the malaise started. To say I was annoyed would be a massive understatement. I felt let down by a company I have held in good regard and recommended for years. I complained in writing to discourage such a stupid, ignorant labelling practice and to save others falling into the same trap.
Anyway, the upshot is that I am now trying to find a good cream replacement. I am clearly reacting to sunflower via my skin now, and probably using it for weeks on end didn’t help. If I absorb an allergen via my skin, I get much milder reactions than if I ate or drank it, but they are still reactions and I suspect the skin soreness is part of that. Just in case, I have switched to very pure skincare stuff and am planning to confirm the sunflower issue shortly (some pure sunflower oil arrived this morning for just such a trial!). I hope it’s not that – have you ever noticed how sunflower is in everything when you start looking?!
A lot of my time is now going on testing skincare and toiletry items – is this causing the gum reactions? Maybe. Definitely had a reaction to beeswax on my skin. Why, I wondered? Then I read that in bad Winters, beekeepers have to give extra feed to their bees and that is often fructose derived from corn. This isn’t the case in the UK mostly, apparently, but I have yet to find any UK beeswax to test this theory out. The one I used was from Neals Yard and is Argentinian, I believe.
Adrenal results came back in April as I said, and I was so pleased to see they are now normal. This has really taken some doing – about two years post grain removal, I reckon it has taken to get them to recover. They were so flat, I was actually shocked when I looked again at my results from 3 years ago. No wonder I had chronic fatigue. You can read more about the adrenal results here, if you like.
So, in essence: some good, some not so good progress. Migraines and adrenals much improved. Gums and skin not so good. That said, in naturopathic terms, we were always taught to look for healing going from within to without. In other words, as deeper problems in organs, glands, cells etc improve, you often get a more surface problem pop up or worsen – and that’s skin. So, let’s hope I can take the changes as a good sign of healing. I just wish it would hurry up ;).
Bared my soul again for you there in case it sparks a lightbulb moment for any of you. I hope you are all inching, or preferably leaping, forward too.