2018 in Review

Since I had a visit with my functional medicine doctor in December, during which I summarized the events of 2018, I figured now is a good time to put that down on paper. The intent is not to bore you with my medical history but to reflect on what sorts of things caused problems in the event that my experience helps someone else make sense of their own leaky gut.

I started 2018 with a whole new menu of foods deemed “safe” from recent food allergy testing. This testing covered IgG, IgE and a few other types of reactions – very comprehensive. Yet, there is always some chance of false negatives, so I was a little wary.

My doctor also considered my thyroid function a bit off and prescribed 25 mcg of levothyroxine.

January – Went fairly well and I felt good.

February – Tried adding foods with added sugar (dried pineapple and sunflower seed butter) and had a reaction. Still allergic to sugar!

March – At my doctor’s continued urging, I finally tried a few doses of a special type of colostrum. She swore this could virtually “cure” leaky gut and doesn’t set off milk allergies. They recommended I start with only a pinch. Starting small, I ingested ⅛ tsp for 3 days in a row. On the 3rd day, I got so sick I felt like I was going to collapse. Outside trimming some trees and bushes, the nausea and body aches hit me so severely, it was a struggle to put my tools away in the shed and get inside. If there was ever any doubt about my sensitivity to anything containing a trace of milk, this was absolute proof.

April – Since I had been doing well with raisins, I added raw grapes and had a minor reaction. Also tried a few oral doses of CBD oil (in an effort to help with migraines) and had a reaction.

May/June – I was not feeling better and slowly getting worse. Noting that my food log showed worse days after eating more wheat than usual, I experimentally removed wheat. After a week or two, I finally started feeling better. OK, no wheat for me.

June/July – Since thyroid testing revealed that 25 mcg of levothyroxine wasn’t doing anything, my doctor recommended increasing dosage to 2 pills per day (50 mcg). They don’t make a dosage between 25 and 50 mcg. After about a week at the higher dose, everything broke loose in my intestines and set off about a month of diarrhea. Oddly there were no other symptoms of intolerance and I otherwise felt fine.

August  – Stopped all levothyroxine for a couple of weeks and the diarrhea stopped. The doctor’s office suggested I try 1.5 pills per day (37.5 mcg). This dosage is free of side effects and seems to be nudging my thyroid function in the right direction.

September – I successfully added a zinc supplement and strawberries. Yay, a new food!

October – My prescription drug plan switched the brand of generic levothyroxine I was taking to one with lactose. Recall my extreme sensitivity to any milk product or derivative? Yeah, that made me really sick for a while until I figured it out. Now my prescription calls for a specific brand that is milk free.

November – Got better initially, then felt worse again. I had ramped up grapes again and drank some additional orange juice. Thought grapes and oranges might be an issue. I stopped eating those with no success. Then I had the epiphany that I had been vaping CBD oil (with good results for my stress level and migraines!) and, even though I was bypassing the digestive tract by vaping it, it might still be a problem. Yeah, it was the CBD oil. My doctor said ingestion versus vaping probably didn’t make a difference if I was reacting to it. So, add cannabis products to my list of allergens. No hemp seeds in my future.

December – Since I was having trouble tolerating the liquid multi-mineral supplement my doctor previously prescribed (yes, I have verified mineral deficiencies), she had the idea of trying something much milder and more tolerable. There is a product called “Quinton Water” that is essentially cold-filtered and purified sea water that has a high concentration of dissolved minerals. I have been using that with no ill effects.

That about rounds out my 2018. In summary, I’m eating about 15 different and healthy foods with good success, but my healing and tolerance of food allergens is still not very good. Some progress and some setbacks.