I can’t believe that it has been almost a year since I last updated via a blog post! So much has transpired that I am not even going to attempt to recap it all. Instead, from a hindsight perspective, I am going to attempt to share some of what I have uncovered as I have peeled the “layers of the onion” to restore my health.
I really wanted to title this post “There’s a Fungus Among Us”, and I wanted to post lots of links to all the research I have done, but I knew if I waited until I had a large enough chunk of time for that, it might be another 6 months before I would be able to write. Even though it may seem long winded, I am giving you the “in a nutshell” version, leaving out lots of details. Hopefully it will give you enough info to encourage you to do some of your own research.
I also wish that I was writing in total hindsight…as in, from the perspective of one who has 100% restored their health. I do, however, feel like I am making headway, and I have a sense of victory just being able to pinpoint how it all started, and have a relatively clear diagnosis. I tend to be one of those analytical people who tries to figure out all the “whys” and “hows”, especially when it comes to health. As I battled with cancer last year I never doubted that I would win, but I was continually questioning how, and what was the catalyst. I recently had a light bulb moment, and have since assembled all the pieces of the puzzle. Before, I felt as if I was trying to feel my way through in the dark, and though my solutions were all natural, I felt as if I was chasing symptoms with remedies instead of getting to the root. Our health journey can easily be compared to gardening. If you want to completely get rid of the weeds, you have to remove the roots, not just the visible plant. I knew that eradicating the visible/clinical signs was falling short, but life has a way of distracting us. Being tunnel vision focused on self-care is a time consuming, bank account draining chore. So, once the diagnostics indicated minimal reasons for concern, and the initial course of action seemed to have “done the trick”, it was not long before I let life take control again. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just totally “fall off the wagon”. I am still considered a health nut by those who are around me. I still skip many functions simply because I know that the food choices available won’t work for me, or because it would create an awkward conversation that I would just as soon avoid. But, I did give up the almost 2 hour daily self-care rituals of juicing and the plethora of supplements. And for a minute, life seemed good.
Since I never dug up and got rid of the root, in just a few short months I found myself battling again, and this time I was losing miserably. I have an incredibly high tolerance for pain. (Having 14 babies will do that for ya!) On the other hand, I have no patience with, or tolerance for, itching. I have had some horrific cases of poison ivy over the years, and what I was fighting made those pale in comparison. Nothing I tried helped. My legs began to look like I had chemical burns, and the itching was insanely intense. I wasn’t sleeping. Skinny Dip baths would offer short term relief. I continued to diag-guess. It would seem to subside just enough for me to be fooled into thinking I was on the right track, and then it would flare again. This went on from October until February. During this time my mom had 2 strokes and 3 hospital stays (with me being the sole caregiver) so finding time to focus on me was a challenge. When it spread to my arms in February I finally caved and went back in to the ND for more diagnostics. What we uncovered was that my root was fungal. I quickly discovered that there is woefully little research regarding systemic fungal infections unless you count candida. Since candida is *normally* a part of the microbiome, I can’t put it in the same classification as fungi. I wasted an entire month trying to tackle it with homeopathics. I grew desperate for some relief…. so much so that I was applying scalding hot oatmeal because I remembered getting relief that way when I had poison ivy. As I grasped for straws, a dear friend mentioned using copper sulfate crystals successfully on a topical fungal infection. Game on!! (NOTE: this was off-label use and I am not recommending anyone else try it!) While it did grant a bit of a reprieve, it was at this point that I realized just how systemic it was, and that copper sulfate wasn’t going to be enough. The fungal network that rose to the surface of my skin was unnerving! I freaked out more than just a little bit. I still shutter when I think about it, and that scene in Pirates of the Caribbean where Bootstrap Bill emerges from the wall of the ship continues to haunt me as I think about my entire body being more fungi than host. I ditched the homeopathics and decided that augmenting with essential oils (topically and internally) wasn’t enough. I was ready for more ammo! After another consult with my herbal guru friend, I added black walnut tincture, berberine, cinnamon, clove (the spices, not the oils), Dr Christopher’s Lower Bowel formula, Aloe (internally), probiotics along with copious amounts of Kombucha, and kefir. I also continued using some anti-fungal essential oils internally, and slathering my body in a body butter infused with anti-fungal EOs and EOs known for their healing properties. It didn’t take too long (relatively speaking) to start seeing some results. It has been less than a month, and my arms and back have completely healed. The legs are almost there. Itching is negligible. Thanks to the body butter I made, it doesn’t look like it will scar. (Honestly I was worried… it looked like 2nd degree burns! Two layers of skin peeled off as it began to heal. )
It wasn’t until the healing started taking place that I had my light bulb eureka moment and I saw the full picture clearly enough to piece together the puzzle. In April of 2014 I almost died. I had a traumatic miscarriage and hemorrhaged to the point of passing out, followed by an out of body experience. Although I felt like I recovered quickly, I had no idea what the blood loss had done to my internal organs. Being the avoid hospitals and doctors at all cost person that I am, I just based my recovery on how I felt. By August it was catching up with me. I did a 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge in an attempt to regain my health. The pain that had me begging God to let me die at age 30 was finding its way back into my body despite all my efforts. Fast forward to December of 2014 where I took a fall and had a small circular wound on my leg. Enter stealth fungal enemy. Again, I was clueless. I didn’t understand why my leg took almost 3 months to heal, nor did I ever figure out the injury looked so strange. It didn’t bleed. It didn’t bruise. It was black. It never had a scab. The scar was a faded black and was pitted like a smallpox vaccine scar. 2015 was the year I invented Skinny Dipping. I spent the entire year detoxing, but I was barely managing to keep the pain level tolerable. I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t place it. 2016 was more of the same. My detoxing efforts became more intense, and I wrote the DetoxU program. I started seeing some outward benefits from detoxing, but wasn’t making much headway. Enter breast cancer diagnosis. But remember – Cancer is still just a symptom of something else not working right. We all encounter thousands of cancerous cells every single day. When the body is functioning properly the immune system successfully destroys them, and life is good. 2016 I peeled back the cancer layer of the onion, but I didn’t stick with the plan that helped me do that. I slacked off. Add in stress, and set the stage for another full blown attack because the fungal root is still alive and well.
I know you think I have forgotten the eureka moment. I haven’t – just had to give you enough background to help you make the connection too. As the fungus began to clear, and my legs began to heal so did the scar. It was smack in the middle of the worst place on my leg. I was rubbing body butter on it one night after the chemical burn look had started to fade, and I realized the scar was same color as the rest of my skin. Even the crater didn’t seem to be as deep. It was as if I now had the full picture and piecing the puzzle together became easy. Here is where I would encourage you to do some research. I have often read that there is a fungal connection to cancer. Some doctors even are so bold to say cancers start as a fungus. I can remember one of my adult children in utter disbelief asking, “How can this happen to you? You are the healthiest person I know. If this is happening to you, we are all doomed.” It ripped my heart out. I didn’t have an answer. Now I do!
I wish I could say that when I close the door to this chapter of my health journey I’ll be done peeling the onion. I would like to think that when I clear this fungi every thing will be hunky-dory. I can hope, but I am not counting on it. I am just glad to have the upper hand, happy that the itching has subsided, thankful for friends who help me sort out solutions and who are long suffering with me when I don’t stay the course, and blessed to have the wisdom to seek out natural solutions.
Somehow I am going to figure out how to separate all my health blog posts from the Skinny Dipping ones. But, I am going to save that for another night!