For those of you who listen to my podcast, you’ll know that I haven’t been feeling well for several months now and have been digging to find out what exactly is at the root of my health issues. Two days ago, I finally got the answer I’ve been digging for and want to share my story with you.
This story starts 10 months ago and, if you know me, I’m quite the chatterbox and when my fingers get typing, they never want to stop. So it goes without saying, this story isn’t short LOL, but I wanted to share the journey I’ve been through for a few reasons:
- I believe writing is therapy. These past few months have been quite emotional, frustrating, and everything in between; I know that by writing out my story, I will feel that much better mentally and it will also help me learn from the journey I’m on.
- There’s a lot of information available on the internet and there are a lot of scary parasite stories as well as a ton of conflicting information about parasites and recovery protocols; so I want to share my version with you with hopes that I can help at least one person out there because I know how confusing, overwhelming, and lonely it can be when you receive any type of diagnosis.
- Lastly, by sharing my story, it helps me put the pieces of my health struggles together and make sense of the issues I’ve been experiencing for the past 10 months.
So, that means this all started back in October 2015…
I just returned from visiting Shawn in Boulder, CO and being a bridesmaid for my friend in Omaha, NE. I was gone for over two weeks and, although I had the time of my life with two of my best friends, I was happy to be back at home in Saskatoon, SK with my boyfriend. Our idea of a “special night” is to make a nice dinner at home (usually a new recipe or an old fav) and watch a movie. So, when I was finally back at home from my travels, we bought a big piece of salmon for our “date night meal”. We made a delicious meal together – salmon topped with homemade lemon caper aioli (a new recipe I created that eve) and oven roasted zucchini, carrots, and beets. I was so happy to be back at home, but soon after eating dinner I started to feel nauseous, which was followed by an entire evening of diarrhea and vomiting.
Since I got sick quite soon after eating dinner, I chalked it up as food poisoning – despite my boyfriend not being sick and having eaten the exact same thing as I did.
The following day, I continued to feel unwell. The diarrhea had stopped, but I was still nauseous and throwing up. My Mom called, as she knew I was sick, and said she didn’t think it was food poisoning and was concerned I had a parasite from the salmon. I thought that was a bit extreme, so shrugged it off.
Two days after eating the salmon, I began to feel better and forgot about being sick… until November… when I got sick again. I thought it was weird to be sick again as this was not usual for me whatsoever, but blamed it on my dinner. I had fish (not salmon) and had the same explosive diarrhea and vomiting I experienced the month prior. I suspected a seafood/fish sensitivity, but wasn’t convinced because I had seafood multiple times between then and the last time this happened, so it just didn’t make sense to me.
The next month, December, I was sitting at my boyfriends parents’ house on the eve of Christmas Eve, visiting with new friends and relatives and was suddenly hit with sweats and chills. I turned white and my boyfriends mom told me that I “didn’t look good”. I quickly ran to the washroom, had explosive diarrhea, and vomiting again.
This time, I didn’t blame it on the food I ate prior because it was nearly midnight and it had been quite a few hours since I last ate. Instead, my boyfriend and I both agreed that I caught his cold. He was sick as well, so it just made sense that I finally caught whatever bug he had.
All Christmas Eve I lied in bed, until it was time to go to my boyfriends’ grandparents’ house for dinner. I was finally feeling a bit better after taking a few shots of oregano essential oil (and resting a lot).
January came and went and then after finishing a big project in February, my boyfriend and I went out for dinner to celebrate! We just got to our car in the parking lot after eating our meal and I said to my boyfriend, “we need to go home, I’m going to be sick!” I was sweaty, chilled, and threw up the minute we got home and it continued for the entire night. Food poisoning! Yet again, I blamed it on food poisoning. And a few days after eating at that restaurant, I learnt from a friend that she heard about a few other cases of food poisoning from the exact same place! So, I was confident that I had food poisoning that night. (PS I had chicken, not fish, on that particular night if any of you were wondering)
March was an exciting month. On the 18th, we were leaving for our 2-week Barbados trip, so that was really all I could think of for the entire first half of the month. Unfortunately, this entire month was plagued with stomach pains, which got even worse the night before we left for our trip. I was throwing up again and was so worried I’d be sick during my holidays.
Luckily, the two weeks we spent in Barbados were nothing shy of perfect. I felt great the entire time we were there (and the weather was everything we wanted it to be! 30 degrees C (86 F) or higher every single day).
Since I felt so good the entire time we were in Barbados, I began to get really curious about what could be wrong with me – seeing as how I pretty much spent the entire month up until Barbados quite sick.
After reflecting back on all of the times I had been sick since October, I realized that there was a pattern – I was always in Saskatoon every time I got sick (minus the one time we were at my boyfriends’ parents’ house in December, but I was sure I had the flu that time!)
So, I decided to be extremely aware of how I felt when I got back from Barbados. If I got back home and felt sick again, I was going to start expecting that I was dealing with a mold issue in our home in Saskatoon.
When I got home after spending two weeks in Barbados, I was hit with the most extreme fatigue I had ever experienced in my entire life. Of course it could have been jet lag, but that would have only been a reasonable conclusion if my fatigue lasted a couple of days (besides, we only went through a 2 hour time change!) This fatigue that had hit me lasted for what seemed to be forever.
We returned from Barbados April 4th and for the entire month I slept at least 9 hours every single night, waking up feeling as though I hadn’t slept in weeks. Furthermore, I couldn’t even do my usual workouts. In fact, I couldn’t workout at all. I walked around my neighbourhood, if I could, but on most days I stayed at home, never leaving, because I was so fatigued.
At this point, I was sure I was dealing with mold toxicity. So, we had our home inspected and I booked my first appointment (ever) with a naturopath. I was determined to get to the bottom of my health issues, finally.
To my surprise, our air quality test came back perfect. There was nothing mold-related to be concerned about. This was great news on one hand, but not-so-great-news on the other because it meant I still didn’t have any answers to my list of health issues that seemed to be always getting longer.
At this point, my symptoms were:
– Extreme fatigue
– Abdominal cramps
– Blurred vision
– Diarrhea alternating with constipation
– Extreme hunger alternating with periods of no appetite at all
– Night sweats
– Joint pain
– Lowered immunity/reoccurring infections
– Brain fog
– Hormone imbalances
Since it was confirmed that I wasn’t dealing with mold toxicity, I began to explore other reasons why I could be so sick and dealing with all of the issues I had been experiencing on and off for 7 months at this point.
I ran blood work and the two areas that concerned me most were my liver enzymes (out of range high) and my white blood cell count (out of range low). It was clear my body was fighting something – but what? My medical doctor didn’t seem interested in digging into this with me, so I ran some tests for myself. I completed an adrenal hormone panel as I was sure I had stage 3 adrenal fatigue based on the extreme fatigue I was experiencing and I did a GI stool analysis, hoping for a parasite to show up.
When my results from the two tests came back in early May, I was very disappointed. My cortisol levels were not low and didn’t explain the extreme fatigue I was feeling, but the night time spike or “high” that was presented, further confirmed that my immune system was “battling something” – but what? (the reason I say this is because if your cortisol is high at night, it is likely immune system related as our immune system is most active in the evening)
The GI stool analysis also didn’t provide me with many answers. I didn’t have any bacterial or fungal overgrowth. Nor did it detect a parasite. I felt like I was back at square one again because I was almost convinced at this point that I had a parasite.
In May, June, and July my list of symptoms continued to grow, some of which I had never experienced in my life before – my abdomen was distended to the point of pain (if you didn’t know, you would have thought I was pregnant – I even have stretch marks on my belly to prove it!), I got an eye infection (further proof that my immune system was shot), my stools floated and were covered in mucus, and my vagina and anus started to itch. I knew I had a parasite.
So, I did my second stool test, knowing that parasites are difficult to detect and it often takes more than one stool test to find the bug living inside of you.
On August 2nd I got the news I have been waiting for – I have a parasite. Blastocystis Hominis, to be exact. Finally the answer to (hopefully) all of my health issues since October. For the past few months, I had a gut feeling it was a parasite, but it feels like such a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I have confirmation. It’s weird to be happy about knowing I have a parasite living inside of me, but I can’t even tell you how happy I am just to have an answer. Now I can begin addressing the root cause and regaining my health again!
If you stuck with me throughout this entire story, thank you. It was really therapeutic writing this piece and I hope you can take something away from it. I’m not finished talking about parasites, yet, though. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. I’d be happy to answer your questions! I also plan to share my anti-parasite protocol with you as well as other information I gather along the way!
I know this experience is only allowing me to better myself as a nutritionist and help more people!