Why is Jeff on the boat and Zia in Colorado?
30 March 2013 | Belize and Colorado
We are both being asked this. Zia writes the following:
I have chosen, for health reasons to stay in a place where I can take care of my body the best way I can, where there is access to doctors, nutritionists and the kind of food I need to eat to heal. Jeff has chosen to sail some during my recovery time, and I'm happy for him to do that.
ÊÊÊÊSo the whole story, it's graphical so sensitive stomachs and people eating might want to stop here. Most likely I have the genes for gluten sensitivities. I have an Aunt who almost died of celiacs before it was diagnosed. Much of my life I've had an uncooperative gut, however my gut really rebelled six years ago after traveling to Africa. I didn't get sick while there, thank god, but a few days after my return, I had a severe episode of staying on the toilet for a few days. And weeks of off and on desperate runs to find a bathroom. Incidentally, managing to work an outdoor landscaping job and deal with urgent and frequent bathroom breaks was not fun. After taking probiotics and herbs for parasites for a few months with no resolution, I took Flagyl. I got better, but not completely. the episodes were milder and less frequent. I thought I was completely better though and continued to eat gluten products occasionally. ÊÊÊÊThen Jeff and I started dating. He makes great bread and great beer, both gluten foods, did I mention the great pasta he makes? Oh, and the Chocolate Christmas Cake? I was indulging in these types of food on a daily basis. My body rebelled with intense gas, bloating, frequent bathroom trips and painful swelling of my joints. My doc said, "No more gluten"! Ok, ok, got it. I stopped eating gluten, my body calmed down quite a bit. ÊÊÊÊÊThe last few years Jeff and I have traveled extensively. Finding and searching out places to eat gluten free is a challenge, even in places like Europe, let alone places like Chile where we do not even speak the language. It's an added burden for me, and frankly, I get tired of it. I just want to know I can get food that's not going to make me feel lousy. ÊÊÊÊÊÊOur last big trip was Patagonia to Galapagos to Panama. I accidentally ate gluten a few times in Chile, ugh, even though I was avoiding it like the plague. Then on the Galapagos I got something...E. coli, salmonella? High fever, in the tropics with no air conditioning on the boat. It was miserable, the rocking and constant motion, the close stuffy hot quarters, everyone trying to get me to go see and island when I could barely hold my head up. And the toilets, in the head is really really really far away when you have the runs. The first three days I didn't make it once off the bed, down the three steps, through the head door, a couple of more steps, and to sit on a moving target so to speak.....nope not once. Jeff was sweet enough to clean up every mess i made with bleach water. The doctors, who only speak Spanish, there gave me two heavy duty antibiotics, one of which was administered by shot to my butt. My daughter, Kati, kindly offered to provide these daily injecti ons as we were leaving the marina, civilization, to sail into the park, nature in her wild glory w/o doctors, groceries, etc, for five days. Shit! And lots of it. I didn't care I was so weak and miserable. I didn't even care when it was time for Kati to shoot me, an inexperienced shot giver, on a rocking boat, in the middle of nowhere, in the hot muggy damp with sheets sticking to me, I just laid there bare butt ready for it. I must say, Kati did a fine job giving shots in those circumstances, and even though she could have paid me back for all the mistakes I made as a mother through the years, she didn't. I ran out of electrolytes and thought I was having a heart attack and dying, and honestly, at that point I wouldn't have cared. We didn't have electrolytes on the boat....nada! A basic necessity, a life saving necessity. Clearly I need more training on basic health care and emergency health before I go sailing again. ÊÊÊÊAfter about five days, I could manage the trips to the bathroom without cleanup help, but my gut was not happy. I've been on the journey to 100% complete GI health since then, almost a year ago. And it has been a journey.
ÊÊÊÊOur return to land, so long longed for by me, wasn't what we expected or hoped for. Our condo had burned while we were away, which left us without a place to stay in Fort Collins. We VRBOed (short term rentals) from this place to that. We also had to process five storage units of stuff that was salvaged from the fire, make sure it was really salvageable and make sure it was ours. Then we had to sort through the insurance papers making sure they accurately listed items and their true cost. It was a real mess. Then Nap died, unexpectedly and at a way too young age. And then we found out Steve's cancer was stage four melanoma. And then the High Park fire started, and many days in Fort Collins were thick with ash. We bought a house, one that was available, not one we love, and moved in, someplace to unpack at least. I wasn't sleeping at night, having hot flashes, my stomach bunched up into a tight ball whenever I ate, my gut was always rumbling. My doc did testes that showed practically no good bacteria in my gut, but there were some nasties; canadida, Blastocystis hominus, and Heliobacter pylori. My body was low on several important minerals, including zinc which helps fight off infections. No wonder i was feeling lousy! That was the first month and a half. ÊÊÊÊH. Pylori is in all of us, and is only a problem when it becomes overpopulated. In the stomach, it can cause ulcers, gastric reflux and its overgrowth has even been linked to an increased risk for heart attacks. Mine was not causing me any noticeable symptoms, for now. The blastocysts were another story, still keeping me within a ten step radius of a toilet. This severely limits ones activities. Working with a Nutrionist, I started a regime of several heavy-hitter herb capsules a day, some gut healing fiber shake mix, a powerful probiotic, a limited anti inflammatory diet, no sugars including no fruit, no alcohol, no dairy, no nuts, no nightshades, no chocolate. She told me that IF I wanted to get my gut healed naturally, then I needed to follow the diet strictly, NO CHEATING, for six months. That didn't happen. I have very little self control around chocolate, and Jeff is a chocolate pusher, which doesn't help either. And part of his mission of being on land was to have once a week family dinners, with the garage door in our new living room opened wide. Lots of flies and lots of food that was on my off-limits list. ÊÊÊÊMore sadness followed us. Steve passed away right before Thanksgiving. We attended his funeral in Jacksonville, Illinois and spent some time with the Lebesch family. ÊSearching for healthy foods in the middle section of the USA, Jeff and I found the GNC and the Walmart which both carry organic foods. GNCs food comes mostly in pills and bottles. ÊÊÊÊIn spite of cheating some these last few months, my last test showed some good news......the candida is knocked back!! The good bacteria are making a healthy comeback!, my pancreas is functioning better!, I'm sleeping at night with no hot flashes, I feel better as long as I avoid the DON'T EAT LIST OF FOODS. The bad news; both B. hominis and H. Pylori increased, slightly, whew. Also something is still inflaming my gut as if I were eating gluten. The nutritionist gave me another long list of DON'T EAT THESE FOODS! As they cross react with gluten protein. Man oh man, this sucks! At this point you may be wondering what do I eat? Any meat, preferably grass fed organic, any wild caught fish, lots of green veggies, some orange veggies, herbal tea, plain gelatin, broth. It's not as bad as you might think, as long as the natural grocer, farmers market and whole foods are right around the corner! Traveling feels a little overwhelming to me, though. And even though Jeff is in prime fish catching oceans, so far he hasn't caught a single one, which means there is no guarantee of getting fish whilst sailing. Don't even THINK about finding grassfed meats in remote areas! ÊÊÊÊMany have asked, why not take the heavy duty antibiotics? Wipe those suckers out! I'm thinking if the double doses of heavy hitters in the Galapagos didn't do it, what will? And it will kill off the good guys I'm just now getting back, and lots of people have done the antibiotic route for years of misery! Why? Why not balance my system slowly, but once and for all? Why not take care of this God given body that has been entrusted to me? It comes down to choosing a way of living that is sustainable for me. I need to go slower and less places than Jeff does. I need more home, less travel, less excitement, more peace, more quiet. My way isn't for everyone, I'm not suggesting that, I'm just noticing and practicing what works for me. Sure I wish Jeff could join me more while I'm on land, jut as he wishes I could join him more on the ocean. It's a balance we are exploring and working on. I'm grateful for electronic communication, otherwise the space between us would be too far f or so long.