Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 ~ Day 234
Bye-Bye, Bad Bugs

Tonight around 8:45pm our telephone rang unexpectedly.

It's pretty rare that we get any calls past 7 or 7:30 as our families both know that we put the kids to bed around 8pm and our friends are typically busy putting their own children to sleep.

Glancing at Caller ID as I answered, I saw that it was my rheumatologist calling. "That's odd," I thought -

"I am not expecting any news or results. I wonder why the clinic is calling me..."

Yet it wasn't truly that out of character because my rheumatologist and his staff are the most committed, dedicated, hard-working and kind people I've ever come across in the field of medicine. They work such long hours, and they have saved the health and quality of life of so many people I personally know.

This wasn't their first after hours call just to check on me, or give me information.


"Hello, this is Dr. Garcia* calling."

"Hi Dr. Garcia! How are you?"

"I'm quite well, thank you. I wanted to let you know that we just got back your labs today for the Yersinia Enterocolitica."

"Oh? How were they?"

"Extremely high. You have a very high positive antibody titer to the bacteria."

"Really! That's great news... I mean, that's exactly what I suspected."

"Yersinia Enterocolitica is known to cause Reactive Arthritis and is associated with many other autoimmune type problems."

"Yes, I believe you were testing me for it due to my Hashimoto's thyroiditis. We had discussed all of the studies I had read correlating thyroid disease to Yersinia Enterocolitica. Will it change my antibiotic protocol?"

"No, not for now. We can discuss it further at our next appointment in September."

"Okay then... well, thanks so much for calling!"

* * * * * * *

When I got off the telephone, I whooped with joy.

"I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I ran to tell my husband the news. One more piece of my puzzle has fallen into place.

You see, for me the last 18 months -- especially the past year -- have been like walking one long and winding path looking for clues.

The journey that started with such fear and apprehension about a "mysterious" and "incurable" autoimmune disease has led me to SO MANY ANSWERS about environmental toxins, genetics and bacteria. All I can say at this point - and excuse the graphic language - is:

Autoimmunity my ass!

Here are the list of bacterial infections I have tested positive for this year:

Mycoplasma pneumoniae
Borrelia Burgdorferi (lyme disease)
Babesia Microti
Extreme overgrowth of Group B Strep
Yersinia Enterocolitica

and I have also learned that adrenal function is severely compromised by exposure to heavy metals such as mercury - which unfortunately, I know for a fact that I have had more than a small share of in the past 3 years.

A word to the wise -

If you happen to break an old-school mercury thermometer in your bathroom, DO NOT CLEAN IT UP WITH YOUR BARE HANDS AND A SPONGE. That plus an adult flu vaccine with thimerosol really sent me over the edge.

Anyway here we are...

It's a year after all of the worst moments - I feel GREAT, I'm looking better, I have energy, I'm getting my LIFE BACK.

Why? Well, I'm on antibiotics. I'm chelating heavy metals. I'm detoxing in saunas. I'm working on eating better and exercising more. I'm gluten free.

I'm 100% healthier than I was last July when I first learned about the esophagus problem and I couldn't eat for 5 weeks.

And I'm here to say that ANYTHING CAN BE CURED IF YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LOOK FOR THE ROOT OF IT, rather than just masking your symptoms.

My friend Jen that I wrote about in this post a few months back is in the midst of making a remarkable recovery from cancer AFTER having cured herself of scleroderma. Truly a staggering comeback. She's writing a book about it as she goes, and I cannot wait to buy that book. She is such an inspiring, committed, incredible person.

I don't mean to sound like I'm shouting from a rooftop here -

...but I'm shouting from a rooftop here!

I'm so excited to continue uncovering proof through scores of studies on PubMed that there are real, documented CAUSES for mysterious autoimmune illnesses - and real, well-traveled pathways to wellness.

My mother asked me tonight if I have any idea how I got this Yersinia infection, which is relatively uncommon in the United States. They diagnose about 1 in 170,000 people with it each year in our country. (My husband points out that they probably just don't think to look for it in most of the cases... since it is often a self-limited infection.)

From what I've read it comes from eating pork that is not cooked well enough, or drinking unrefrigerated dairy products. It is more common in Europe than in the United States.

So here's what I think. When I was 19 years old and living in Italy - where we ate lots of sausage and the milk was never refrigerated, I got terribly ill - felt like I was dying - with food poisoning. I remember calling my mother and bawling my eyes out long distance, to be so very ill and so very far away from her.

This could be a root. My doctor has told me that bacteria often lives in a body for years without causing problems and then when a woman goes through pregnancy or experiences extreme stress or trauma (e.g. the death of a loved one) the bacteria take advantage of physical vulnerability and have a field day.

Of course, it also could have been any number of other times when I ate bacon for breakfast and then thought I'd gotten a stomach flu. Who knows. At this point, who cares?

I may have carried a lot of these "bad bugs" for 15 years or more.

But boy howdy... I know NOW that they're there and I'm not going to make them feel too comfortable :-) If it's got to be me or them... it's going to be THEM.

I'm sticking around this joint, and I'm going to BE here to spend long years watching with pride as my darling, exciting children grow up.

WOO HOO!!!!!!!

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the party in question.

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