Tuesday, April 3, 2012

3 Guru Role Models

In regard to my candida, there are three people who have been guru models in shaping my decisions about how eagerly to pursue full recovery. One is my younger bro (Bro), another is a church member with Multiple Sclerosis (JB), and the last is a close family friend with Rheumatoid Arthritis (SC).


Bro got very sick many years ago in his early 20s. I wasn't around at the time so didn't see his bouts with anaphylactic shock when eating peppers of any kind, difficulties breathing when eating other things, difficulty with reflux and I really have no idea of his problems. He was having so many severe reactions to food that of course he would eliminate from his diet all those foods he had eaten in the meal. Pretty soon, he had only about a list of 20 items: apples, oats, a few green leafies and not much else. He had even eliminated garlic and onions because they were in a meal he had a severe reaction to. He was so sick and could hardly perform his job, so took some time off and went to a lifestyle center in Battle Creek, MI that unfortunately is no longer open, and got amazing help.

His body was choked with mercury and toxins because he couldn't sweat, and he went through intensive regimens of therapies throughout the day and even wore charcoal packs around his waist at night to rid his body of pollutants trapped in the skin, intestines, lymph system, everywhere. The kitchen workers cooked special meals for him - fresh ground grains that had no time to mold (wheat was included without reaction) and made many dishes using specially cleaned cutting boards and kitchen equipment because of his huge issues with cross-contamination. He came out of that lifestyle center two weeks later able to eat quite a lot! The docs even convinced him to eat a small slice of pepper, which instead of giving him anaphylactic shock only gave him a mild skin rash. No sugar of any kind, freshly ground grains, tons of fresh fruits and even more tons of fresh vegies, a careful selection of herbs and spices, and only specific oils were the backbone of his no-deviation vegan diet. What a comeback!

Maintaining such a strict diet would keep a person in the kitchen all day, so he's back to having anaphylactic shock with peppers, reflux and other problems ... but no where nearly as bad as before. After 15 years he started eating pure chocolate (absolutely without dairy contaminants), imagine the cravings, and other sweets. But he's been on a gluten-free vegan diet (except last 3-4 years he added some free-range eggs) that is carefully regimented to avoid all those hidden food allergens other people tolerate quite well but which crash his system. BTW, he hasn't been able to eat in a restaurant for most of those 20 years, so when I go home, I try to plan "exotic" meals that he just doesn't have time to fix. I blend herbs and spices I know he can have to create recipes I've experienced in foreign countries or seen online.

So when I got sick almost three years ago, adjusting to a carefully monitored diet wasn't that difficult. We packed lunches for Bro's working days, and carry snack or energy foods with us when going somewhere. So for me to pack and carry a lunch is kind of normal. Bro loves going into restaurants with people (provided there's not a lot of pepper cooking) and he "eats with his eyes", then goes home and tries to replicate. Over the years he role modeled "eating with his eyes" and since I've gotten sick too, my taste buds and senses to mixing foods with herbs and spices has gotten much keener. Bro is absolutely INCREDIBLE! He doesn't whine about his food limitations and cramped lifestyle because of it. He works with it, and leads a pretty active life. He is so AMAZING, and he's one of my biggest role models in life!!!


JB was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was about 60 years old. I also wasn't around at the time but heard that she was fighting for her health and sanity. Before she could get treatment, help and maybe even diagnosis, the disease blinded her in one eye and really compromised one side of her body. Her MRI of her spinal cord showed heavy plaque and prognosis was to be soon confined in a wheelchair.

Our Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches a lifestyle that we often refer to as "the health message". Longevity reports come out of Loma Linda, California attesting to this healthy lifestyle. Therefore, believing that nutrition and healing go hand-in-hand, she decided to go to the Black Hills Health and Education Center located in South Dakota, and for some reason, she and her husband ended up staying and working there for the next six years.

At first her system was so run-down that she told me years later, she only could eat lightly boiled spinach to nourish her body as raw vegies were just too hard for her body to deal with. We didn't hear much from she or her husband for about six years when they moved back and again were attending our church. She was ecstatic! Her most recent MRI had shown absolutely no plaque anywhere on the spinal cord, and she had been symptom free for quite a while. They attended our church regularly, joining us in our vegetarian potlucks that did have cheese and other dairy, wheat, unknown cooking oils and sugars. I'm not sure if she maintained the gluten-free, vegan lifestyle of the Black Hills Center at home but after eight months she was experiencing the by-now familiar symptoms of ... Multiple Sclerosis.

She went back to her strict diet and the symptoms were well managed. She had heard that once a person has an auto-immune disease that it is for life. Hers evidently is. So now we're both watching how my health problems are going to ultimately work out. Will I be able to lick the candida problem? Or has it already rewritten my DNA and I will fight this for life? I'm still hoping for the complete cure ... and no, I don't plan to go back to my former diet, not that I wouldn't like to indulge upon occasion in some foods not permitted at the moment. But if I ever recover, knowing what she taught me through experience will be big incentive to keep on enjoying the great foods I'm eating now!

BTW, I have a colleague, about age 50, who had systemic candida so badly as a child that she hardly had an elementary school education for spending so much time at home sick or in the hospital. In her mid-twenties she did the candida diet - months and months of it. She doesn't have much recall of what she did but she does remember having to slug down 4 ounces of some kind of nasty oil at one time in order to coat her GI track to fight the bad bacteria. She's been fine ever since .... so there is hope of full recovery! I'm still clinging to that hope.


The last person who is my role model is very unfortunate. He was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about 25 years ago, and has been in such pain from serious connective tissues damage that it is evident in the way he walks, from mangled ears and droopy eyes, and from the twisting of his fingers which now are almost perpendicular to their original joints. For a few years he staunchly refused to take any meds, although he occasionally broke down and took some NSAIDS, but finally the pain was too great, and to stay out of a wheelchair he started steroids. He now heavily relies on steroids, refuses any kind of verbal or other help - claiming he's as tough as he always was - disallows that diet can help, and eats out every day and then goes home to eat ice cream, "a treat" for his old age. He's now in his early 80s.

Every once in a while he and his wife (with brittle diabetes) will stop in and eat with us, gorging themselves silly. We're so happy to give them a good meal because they obviously have little other happiness in their lives from their few moments at the same restaurant every day before they go back to their lonely house with overly loud TV.

One day we planned a massive vegetable quiche meal with tons of vegies on the side. I did the cooking - gluten-free, vegan except for the eggs, lots of greens for toxin removal. I wanted them to feel good when they went home ... and wow did they dive into that food! They ate so much, and then dad and SC started talking about the ice cream at home in SC's freezer and how that was his treat almost every day. I was a bit horrified as I know the effects of dairy plus sugar (the devil's mixture) on Rheumatoid Arthritis, or for anyone's system for that matter. Well, mom piped up that we had some nutty buddy chocolate cones in the basement and went down and brought one up for everyone except Bro and myself.

And then I watched the transformation, and it was horrible! SC became louder, perhaps it could be said aggressively so. Ah, speech changes! Behavior changes! His eyes became even more inflamed and very watery. He was constantly blinking them which reminded me of when mine were so inflamed to the point of being dry-painful. I looked over at dad enjoying his cone and his hands were trembling more from his Parkinson's. And, rude though I might appear, I just couldn't help myself. I started asking SC how he felt - a question he hates! I asked him if his eyes were stinging. Well, a bit. I wanted to know if he felt better before he ate that ice cream. He admitted to feeling better. Then I asked him if he thought the ice cream was making him feel badly, and if he always felt this way after he ate his ice cream every day. Well, hem, haw, well, yeah, I guess it does bother me a bit.

I didn't press it, but I wanted mom to see the results of dairy on the system. Bro has an immediate reaction of what feels like sharp nails piercing his stomach and intestines. From milk, I've had mild but gross reflux most of my life and just refused to drink it as a child, much to her frustration because at the time, milk was "known", and oh so falsely advertised, to be healthy. Most people have subtle reactions but obvious if a person knows how to spot them. Anyway, I asked mom afterwards, "WHY did you give SC ice cream when you know that people with Rheumatoid Arthritis shouldn't have it?!" And then I more clearly pointed out the speech changes, behavior changes, the obvious inflammation which she hadn't noticed at all till I pointed the reactions out ... and dad's out.

Well, I know that SC will probably enjoy ice cream and probably every day until he dies. But success was made that day because mom no longer keeps a stock of ice cream cones in the freezer for dad to prevent him from losing weight.
SC is my sad guru. In his miserable old age he's just looking for something to make part of his day better, but even though now he's aware that "that something" is toxic to his system, it's his crutch. Everybody has crutches. Me too, but I’m trying to be like my brother who has learned to “eat with his eyes” and to think of my friend JB who is eating to maintain long-term health while leading an active life. And then when I think of my brother eating oh-so-strictly for over 15 years and JB who must in order to have that pain-free life, the one to two years more of super strict eating seem rather insignificant.

No comments:

Post a Comment