I didn't have anything to lose. Or at least that's the way I felt. I'd been sick for so very long.
So experimenting with probiotics was something I was willing to do. The experiment was a success and because of it I want to share what I did, and why, in hopes that others might benefit.
If you want to jump directly to my protocol, click here.
If you want to learn how I reached this point, continue reading.
I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease at age 8. They thought I had rheumatoid arthritis. By age 12, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and pre-diabetes were added to the diagnosis. As the years went by I struggled on and off with a variety of other illnesses. I had periods of good health and other times when I was completely bedridden.
By the time I lost my job of 18 years due to my illness, I was still diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and diabetes, but also struggled with psoriasis, restless leg syndrome, depression, brain fog, the inability to speak properly and form sentences, zero short term memory, balance problems, lost time, low grade fevers, heat intolerance, and on and on. If I exercised I could find myself in bed for days and sometimes even weeks. I craved carbs a lot and was a good 20 pounds overweight. I had MRI evidence of mini strokes, brain lesions and a small brain tumor, blah, blah blah. I was on eight prescription drugs, two of those were antidepressants. That doesn't count the psoriasis creams.
The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis no longer held up because blood tests were developed and I didn't have the necessary RH factor to hold on to that label. The new labels were atypical MS and/or ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome depending on the doctor. I have MS lesions, but not many of the other classic signs of MS so one label was atypical MS. Others specialists felt the symptoms jived more with ME/CFS despite MRI evidence of MS lesions. I think eventually we will find that the two illnesses are closely related.
I always tried to keep a happy face throughout all of this. My mother was told when I received the RA diagnosis at age 8 not to coddle me and she didn't. Because of that I learned to forge on. But those who know me well know how much I've struggled. I'd go for months feeling like I had the worse flu imaginable, but would drag myself out of bed using every ounce of my strength. Other days, and sometimes into weeks, I just couldn't move. It was everything I could do to keep working and often just to keep living. There were long years of good health and periods of the worse health imaginable, made harder to endure by the memory of what it was like to live a full life.
I had to be very careful. I learned what made the illness worse and I paced myself. All effort was spent on keeping that job at all costs. Often that meant I had no social life and would sleep from the minute work was over until I had to start again. During better times when I could stay awake, but not socialize, I'd research my disease, desperately looking for answers.
I lost that effort to keep my job about three years ago. This much sadness was too much sorrow. They did good by me though, and I am eternally grateful for the compassion some of those higher in the company had for me during that time. If you ever read this, thank you.
My job for those 18 years was as a reporter with Bloomberg News. I am a reporter because by nature I investigate everything and I have doggedly followed every aspect of Multiple Sclerosis, ME/CFS, and autoimmune research. My own investigations led me to believe that my illneess was caused by a virus. I wrote a novelwhich outlined my findings in an easy-to-read format.
I have closely followed the work of Dr. Ian Lipkin at Columbia University particularly after his involvement in regards to XMRV. Lipkin says individuals with MS and ME/CFS show signs of infection and that he believes that virus is located in the gut.
By a fluke one night I watched a PBS special on a book calledThe Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter,which talked about the gut’s role in our health. I bought the book, read it, and I felt like it was telling the story of my life.
Since Ian Lipkin at Columbia, thought the answer was in the gut, and Perlmutter was outlining so much evidence related to the gut's role in our health, I started digging and researched probiotics. In particular, I looked for probiotics that seemed associated with my different problems i.e. which strains seemed to help with depression, which for craving carbs, etc. I couldn’t find any one probiotic that contained all of the strains I wanted, so I just bought several different kinds and took them ALL!! In all, I started taking four high quality probiotics at one time and ate and drank fermented foods and drinks like kombucha, and saurkraut. These fermented foods were shown to greatly affect the gut.
Mind you, at this point, my kids were grown and gone with lives of their own. I had lost my job of 18 years. I had only an intermitten social life. No husband or mate. I was pretty much alone and felt I didn't have much to lose. My passion for horses, particularly my bond with my own horse Sundance, is all that has kept me alive. Literally. So taking four different probiotics at a time didn't seem a big risk to me. Of course, no doctor would tell you to do this.
The way I figured it was if I have 100 trillion different microbes in my gut then I have to BLAST the gut with good microbes to change the balance. So blast I did.
The results were amazing. I got better, and better, and better, and better. Everything about me changed. I could think again. I had energy. I started getting out of bed and going about my day like a little bird, with plenty of energy. One of the biggest surprises was my hair, which had always been dry and frizzy. It's now silky and straight. Gradually I got braver and started to exercise. I didn’t get sick after exercise. I quit craving carbs and I’ve lost 18 pounds. I gradually weaned myself off some of my medications. The hardest part of this whole thing was weaning myself off Zoloft, that was horrible.
NO DOCTOR will tell anyone to take FOUR high quality probiotics, but I did it, never expecting anything like this CURE to happen for me. It’s a miracle. It’s an absolute miracle. My theory is that because of my lifetime illness, I may have to take these for a long time. Maybe forever. Maybe there is a virus in the gut that sets the microbial balance out of wack and taking the probiotics keeps it in check. This is entirely experimental on my part. I have NO IDEA. My absolute worse fear is that it will come back. Please don't come back....
If you are visiting this site, you are probably desperate and are praying for something that will help. I hope and pray that this will work for you.
And no I don’t sell probiotics, nor am I associated with anything that sells or promotes anything. I’m just a formerly sick woman who stumbled upon - through dumb luck and research — a cure for what ailed her. Off to ride my horse...