Monday, July 13, 2009

taking it easy

The past few months I have been feeling very sick. I am so weary of it. I think that I'm a reasonably healthy person... no smoking, drugs, caffeine or glucosey drinks, only a glass of red wine every so often. Drink lots of fresh lemon water and herbal teas. Eat loads of organic fruits and veggies, rarely meat and when do it's almost always good quality local and organic. Eat lots of whole grains. Walk or hike every day, of course but I could get more exercise - am working on that. Could get better sleep but what mama couldn't? So what's my problem? Why have I been sick so often the past while? Why do I look and feel like I am 5 months pregnant all the time? It is very annoying.

My doctor finally diagnosed me with having a stomach infection due to having contracted Helicobacter pylori bacteria - which apparently is pretty common although I had never heard of it. Despite years of stomach problems, I was so surprised at this - I had thought that I was either really run down, pregnant, anemic or had some sort of thyroid issue - so I didn't really think of or research this bacteria and now suddenly I'm on a rather rigorous antibiotical treatment. Eight huge pills a day, leaving me dizzy, exhausted, and with a going-on-day-seven severe migraine. And a weird rash all over most of my body. I am thankful that I am still nursing Adelaide, because we've been spending a lot of time lately, lying together in the dark.

But, today is my last day of the awful pills! I can only hope that it worked and the bacteria is gone. My god, I hope so. So I can move on and work on building up my stomach with good things.

I am posting this not to simply to whine or for pity, but because I am looking for answers. I am hoping that someone out there might have a little advice on these things. Have you ever had this type of problem? Do you know anything about stomach bacteria, good and bad? Have you ever taken and can recommend a type of probiotic? Where do I go from here?

ps. oh, and! appologies to everyone of my past customers who have entered my giveaway for the card sets. It is so nice to hear from all of you! I haven't forgotten, and will select some winners in the next few days or so. Thank-you for your patience and understanding. xo sharilyn

42 comments:

Heather said...

This sounds horrible. I don't have any knowledge or advice other than to just take it easy. I feel for you with the migraine my husband get them every so often but luckily for him they only las a day or two. Hang in there.

LobotoME said...

gosh, feel better soon!

jennifer said...

much warmth to you sharilyn - wishing you better days and a healthy horizon!
xoxo

Whitney said...

I've had h. pylori several times. Once I was treated unsuccessfully for it (it was awful - the medication left a horrible taste in my mouth all the time) and the second time, it worked.

It's not uncommon, but hang in there. It's worth it. You'll make it! And you have such a beautiful daughter to enjoy on the darker days...

Tracey said...

I hope that you feel better really soon Sharilyn! I don't have any knowledge of your condition so I am not sure if this would be appropriate for you or not. My daughter has/had a lot of stomach/GI issues since she was born and the one thing that has helped was putting her on a daily probiotic. I have also been taking one since we are still nursing as well and I have seen a big change. Feel better :)

Mia said...

h pylori is the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. no big deal to treat it usually with a prevpac. most of the time people experience all kinds of crappy symptoms like you did before they realize they have a problem. the worst is over (as long as the antibiotics wiped it out). hang in there.

1stdaughter said...

I've also had H.Pylori multiple times and am actually considering the possibility that I have it again. You feel horrible and its just so hard to want to get out. And unfortunately the medication is almost worse than the illness itself, which is maybe why I haven't seen the doctor yet. But it does help in the end and you'll be feeling better much soon, I promise.

Thank goodness you have great company and you're almost to the end. I have heard that taking probiotics helps some people, so you may try that. Feel better soon!

bebojo said...

My father has stomach ulcers and was checked for this. It is so important to boost your probiotics after your meds are finished. BioK is a fermented milk based product (they also come in soy) that tastes like a yogurt drink. It is used theraputically in hospitals and is one of the few probiotics out there that have been tested to survive stomach acids and actually work. I give it to my young kids too. It is not cheap but it's healthy and worth every penny!

I hope you are feeling better soon.

On a side note, your breast milk most likely protected your lovely daughter rather than infected her - it is pretty amazing what our bodies can do.

mon ami said...

I just have a few suggestions that will hopefully help heal your tummy.

A couple years ago I cam back from India with a parasite (I know this is different from the bacteria you are fighting) that made me very ill and exhausted. The medicine I was prescribed made me feel even worse.

I ended up going to see a naturopath (at Gaia Gardens in Vancouver) who prescribed me some herbal tinctures and I gave up wheat and dairy for 3 months. This got my tummy back on track and helped a lot.

As well, I recommend the Bio-K (which you can get at most health food stores and Choices) to help balance your good flora.

I hope you feel better soon.
xo

andrea said...

hi sharilyn
Dr Natalie Mazurin, a naturopath, would help you tons and love to hear that you knew Alexis!
Email me if you want her contact info!

Hope you feel better soon, andrea

RosaMaría said...

hope you feel well soon!!

Cassandra said...

So sorry you have not been feeling well!!! I hope that you get better soon!

Annie said...

Wow! I'm so glad you now know what was hurting you! I wish you found out sooner. Stomach issues can be so horrible.

I'm crossing my fingers that you are going to be on the mend in a couple days!

stephanie said...

I'm so sorry that you have been feeling so ill. I wish I had some advice that could help you, but I don't.

Take care and rest up. It's good that you can snuggle and rest with your sweet daughter.

Feel better soon!

debqep said...

I hope you feel better soon!

pebbledash said...

Hope you feel better soon. Don't take probiotics until the antibiotics have finished (antis cancel out the pros, so to speak)...then go for it. And keep all probiotics in the fridge.

And 'active' yogurt is good too, pref. goats or sheeps.

Warm wishes,
Diana x

teresa said...

I work in gastric cancer research so know a little bit about H. pylori. Like everyone else has said, it's fairly common and as long as you get it eradicated it's nothing to worry about. You might want to think about getting the rest of your family checked out, too, if they aren't feeling good as it's fairly common to catch it from others in close quarters. My mum's had it before, the treatment's no fun, huh!

The reason you don't take probiotics while you're on antibiotics is because they kill bacteria, so it's a waste of money...

Good luck!

Montse PB said...

I also had helicobacter and had a terrible migraine during the whole time I was taking the medication to cure it. The last day I read all 3 antibiotics prescripted could give you migraine! Never had it anymore but it's very easy to catch it. Hang on, it will get better!

cindy : quaint said...

i'm so sorry you've been sick. hope you start to turn the corner, soon.

MamaAngel said...

So sorry you've been feeling bad, but thank goodness they figured it out! I hope you are on the mend soon.

firstgood said...

I would love to know what other symptoms you had and what kind of doctor caught it. I have similar issues. Hate eating feel full and slugish. Always feel prego in that region. Thanks.

Siew said...

Oh you poor thing. Udo's Choice probiotics are a good one. Get you back on track after such a full on "cleansing". Sounds like you already do all the right things dietwise so you'll be on your way in no time. What a relief to find out it is actually something specific and relatively easy to deal with.

Siew said...

Oh you poor thing. Udo's Choice probiotics are a good one. Get you back on track after such a full on "cleansing". Sounds like you already do all the right things dietwise so you'll be on your way in no time. What a relief to find out it is actually something specific and relatively easy to deal with.

Letterpress said...

Sorry you're not feeling well--it's a total bummer to be sick all the time. I hope you find the answers/pill/meds/rest/help you need to overcome.

Love your blog and your designs--

Anonymous said...

hope you feel much better soon, go with a probiotic with high number of organisms, at least a billion.

Kathe said...

I have had that nasty bacteria several times! It is common, but sure does make you miserable. I had it in my thirties, 20 years ago, and after a few bouts never again! I understand that it (that bacteria) is even in water. I guess some people are heartier than others. I had been nursing babies total for four years and under a lot of stress, who knows? Glad you are on the mend.

Rachel@BenignObjects said...

Hiya,

I've had stomach issues for most of my life. One of the best things I've done is to follow the sort of diet you already seem to be on (no caffeine, lots of organic veggies, etc.). I started taking a daily probiotic a year ago and it's done wonders for me in terms of getting rid of excessive bloating, gas and indigestion. I usually just pick up Culturelle in the drug store or grcoery store, but I've used a probiotic by Dr. Mercola (www.mercola.com), too. Here's one other thing I've been doing over the past six months, but I don't know if it's an option for you. I make sure to get at least two cloves of freshly chopped or pressed garlic a day. It's super stinky, but I swear it has done wonders for my stomach and general health. Just something to consider. :)

Anonymous said...

Like the previous poster, I really recommend a gluten-free diet - or at least wheat free. it sounds bad but it is totally easy to just avoid it - rice and corn will become your best friends.

My hub started getting bad GI issues in his 20s. He went wheat free on the recommendation of our herbalist and it has changed his life. If you don't feel better after trying probiotics, you should really consider it.

Good luck!
Susan

kgbubble said...

having similar issues. been thinking it might be a lingering ear infection from an old cold? ugg

anyway, I'm thinking that if wheat and dairy agrivate this kind of thing, and generally yogurt is recommended after a round of antibiotics, that it might be the stuff produced by the fermentation process? Isn't that why yogurt is so "good" for us? so if you want to avoid dairy, and need something fermented..... kim chi and/or sauer kraut. I'd get them at a health food store to make sure there's no sugar added, which I think can also stir the pot. and isn't tempe fermented, too? I don't think it could hurt.

Eliane Zimmermann said...

Just came from Evie's blog (I won a bunting from her)and read about your helicobacter issue.
I am an German aromatherapist and book author living in Ireland. We aromatherapists strongly recommend the oil of seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), I don't know whether you can buy it in the US. You just take 10 to 20 drops of the oily and deep orange fluid together with ceareals, yoghurt etc. It covers the lining of your stomach with a kind of a lining which protects it from building any kind of "wrinkles", cavities and even ulcers, which harbor the evil bacteria (which are even thought to be able to cause stomach cancer). This precious oils also contains many cell protecting vitamins like A, E and even B12 which is very rare in vegetarian sources.
Besides we also recommend some very relaxing essential oils like lavender and tangerine, to keep stomach issue sufferers relaxed and confident. As you write you are trying "hard" to be a good mother, maybe you are trying to be "too perfect". Which is not necessary as you are sure a very loving mom. Just love your child and the rest will sort out!
By the way: I love your paper dots, they could look very nice in some sort of tall glass cylinder or in two glasses tucked into each other (one smaller than the other) and the cavity between them filled with your dots. Place a candle in the smaller glass and here you go - a nice party decoration! Cheers from sunny Ireland Eliane

Anonymous said...

I'm another person who went gluten free after I saw how much better my husband felt -- The biggest result I've noticed is that my mood is much more stable and negative thoughts don't linger. (I know that sounds crazy but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that with certain body types gluten can cause depression.)

Anyways....I've also just been diagnosed with H. Pylori and I've looked in to a lot of natural treatements online. What I've gleaned through looking hard and reading a lot is that pure cranberry juice shows a lot of promise in helping H. Pylori sufferers. Also Oil of Oregano and Aloe Vera Juice. There is also some evidence that Olive oil helps too. I've been experimenting with cranberry juice and I do notice it helps my stomach a lot. I'm hesitant to take the antibiodics right now because we're trying to get pregnant. Anyways, hope this helps and I hope you feel great soon!

Making of a Montessori Mum said...

Yucko! Hope feel better soon, and dont forget to have lots of good quality pure accidophlous (sp?) etc after those antibiotics.
(:

April G. said...

Thank you for sharing your story. My twin sister has had problems with her stomach as long as we can remember and no dr. has ever given her an answer - I'm passing this onto her in hopes that maybe it can help! Thanks and hope you are feeling better soon!

Anonymous said...

My dad had terrible stomach problems for about 20 years before being diagnosed with helicobater pylori. He took the antibiotic treatment about 10 years and has been problem free ever since.
I hope you feel better soon.
Ilona

Tanya said...

So many people have had H. pylori! I remember, when I had it, the heaviness you always feel on your organs, like something is resting on your lungs and you can't get enough air. The antibiotics were gross but cured it. I actually started getting the worst heartburn I've ever had after that, and took Prevacid to heal some of the damage. I've been much better ever since. Don't know if it was related or not. It's hard being a mom when you're not feeling like yourself, isn't it? Hope you feel better very soon.

gaia said...

I don't know anything about stomach bacteria, but the symptoms you're describing also sound like a gluten or wheat allergy/intolerance. That might be something to look into?...Hope you feel better soon!

Our Green Nest said...

I'm so sorry. I highly recommend New Chapter Organic's All Flora...it's not grown on milk like many probiotics are. Definitely start probiotics though!

Linda said...

Just read this post and it's not first so I'm not sure if you'll read this comment ... but do take probiotics. Look for refrigerated ones as those are probably the most reliable - I like the Jarro brand. But more importantly, make sure your sweet little one takes some. Your post said you were still nursing and antibiotics pass through breast milk. Probiotics do pass through breast milk too but there are liquid forms that are easy to give or you can even put powder on your nipples before nursing and it will go directly into her system. Hope you are feeling better!

Laura said...

Sharilyn, I had (what my gastroenterologist thinks is) a heliobacter infection, and it's made me sick for the past four years! I can't even imagine what I'd do if I had to deal with all of my stomach issues AND raise a little girl, as you are doing.

That being said, my GI doc recommends a probiotic called Digestive Advantage. It's available at many drug stores here in the US- I don't know about Canada. Here in stupid America, I have to pay thousands of dollars each year for all of my doctors' visits, tests, medications, etc... so count yourself lucky in that respect!

I also take a drug called Xifaxan every few months. It's an antibiotic that stays in your gut, so you don't have to worry about your body building up a resistance to it.

Thinking of you! xoxo

happyd said...

hi sharilyn,

i'm so late in writing a comment, but for years i was having stomach problems that would end with me having to go to the bathroom.

it became so bad that 2 years ago, every single weekend in the summer, i had to cancel plans with friends because of this problem.

my family doctor didn't really have any solutions and i was tired of taking pills, so i went to see an acupuncturist.

she basically saved my stomach!! she taught me the types of foods to eat and needled me to health.

i still need to watch what i eat (avoid dairy, mangoes and some other food when possible, eat veggies from the 'warm' category and avoid processed food), but i'm feeling much better now!

she thought i might have helicobacter pylori as well, but i didn't. i just was consuming the wrong types of foods for my sensitive stomach.

good luck!!

oh and right now i'm seeing a naturopath for some other health issues and she has homeopathic solutions and if i didn't already have an acupuncturist, she would be doing that with me too!

Beth said...

Have you been tested for Celiac Disease? It is very common, and often doctors do not think to test for it as it is still considered "rare".

Silvia Falqueto said...

Hi, Sharilyn!

don't worry, my father had stomach problems for years, and he took a lot of time to look for a treatment for the constant acidity he felt. He had to take a lot of antibiotics too, but after the treatment, I never saw him complaining about his stomach anymore. And he used to complain a lot... Good luck, I'm sure the treatment will work well on you. : )