I've written about my turn around in health status (despite this three-week long cold I've had, but even the healthiest of folks are getting it) in several of my posts.
It all really began when I picked up a bug while traveling to Itay. Don't drink the tap water! Well try not to. On the upside, that was a great weight loss program. One might notice that I didn't post any photos of me during the trip as I was ballooning out. I'll get back to that in a bit.
The treatment was Metrondianozole, I've taken it so often I actually know how to spell it, and I have dyslexia issues! It is so toxic that it comes with a warning of being potentially carcinogenic. It is ten days of chemo. I didn't eat (lived off of Ensure) and was an emotional mess.
The first round of drugs didn't work, so I switched to a less effective, longer therapy, not so toxic. Guess what? It worked. Lesson learned - don't start off with an atomic bomb of a treatment if it can be avoided.
In view of the first round not working, I was desperate in case this second round didn't as well. There was no way in hell I was going back on the chemo drug. Thus I sought out a naturopath.
I had stopped seeing naturopaths as I figured I had learned as much as I could and it wasn't that helpful. What I have learned through this process, as with other health care professionals, is that finding the right fit is paramount.
This time I found a good fit. I discovered that I was anemic through my last and very old blood work of last March. My recent tests confirmed this. With B12 shots, diet changes and taking iron supplements I found I was on my way to restoring my health.
*This is where I do the usual warning to consult with your physician or naturopath before contemplating anything that I'm doing and the doses I'm taking.
On top of it, the realization that I was most likely Vitamin D deficient was another key element. I began with D3 drops, 5,000 IU daily and then upped it to 10,000 IU daily. For more Vitamin D info, check out CATIE's recent post.
The combination of the above, plus going back to the gym, has made a world of difference. At the recent OHTN Research Conference last month a number of people remarked how good I looked. For the first time in a decade I'm clean shaven, have lost weight, and most important of all, I look rested and have a healthy colour to my skin.
I'm saying not this out of ego, but rather of a feeling finally I've been able to overcome some health obstacles that I had thought were just something with which I had to live. It was amazing how many people, not just one or two people, remarked on the change.
None of this would have happened had I not decided to intervene with this particular naturopath.
On the diet side, I had been having digestive issues that would be TMI here. On the night of the OAN leadership awards banquet, I wore a shirt that I bought two of in different colours. This time it was not fitting well and I was depressed. "Please don't let me gain this weight back!"
Many years ago I'd been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I'll never forget the name of the clinic, "The Upper Canada Lower Bowel Clinic." I swear I didn't make that up. There the doctor told me about foods I should avoid, and to stop drinking coffee.
By the night of the awards, my guts were no longer irritable, they were hoping mad desperate. I found on line a diet that is suggested for IBS based on eliminating certain foods in what is called an "elimination challenge". This means leaving out a lot of foods for a few months and living on a diet of steamed cardboard and rice (that's a joke). Then slowly add back in foods to see which ones are the problem.
Through the use of this diet my stomach is flatter than ever. All this time I was having issues with my food causing my stomach area to bloat up and look distended. I'll write another post on this process and the foods I'm eating and not eating.
I'm going to show my nakedness to show how I've gotten that "AIDS stomach" down from the main photo taken in Italy. It's something I've been very self conscious about since people have taken to patting me on the stomach while offering an unsolicited comment.
I've been able to have the endurance to get up early and go all day and at times the evenings where in the past I'd wake up tired and then progress to exhausted by dinner time.
Never in a million years did I ever think I was able to bring about such change. If anyone has access to a naturopath, I highly recommend it.
If you are in Toronto you may want to try here. There is a waiting list to get in, I'm not sure how long it is.
Community Naturopathic Clinic for People living with HIV/AIDS
To make an appointment, contact the naturopathic co-ordinator at
(416) 324-4164.Tuesday 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Wednesday 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.