Connecting the dots

The question here is where should I start. My name is Nicoletta. This Journey has been an interesting one. I will tell you a little about my life before Candida and maybe go on from there. My purpose here is to help reach as many as I can to raise awareness, help others obtain proper treatment, give encouragement, and develop a support system.

I was born into a Greek and Italian culture where food was an event, not just for nourishment. My family was not one to focus on the health benefits of food back then. We never had a lot of money either which meant, feed as many as you can with what you have. We ate foods rich in fat and carbs. We ate veggies too, but not to the extent I eat today. Just to clarify, this information is to help give you points of reference from my life so you can witness the journey.

I was overweight in 2001, almost weighing 160, wearing a size 11. My husband and I had just moved from Ohio to California, and I made a health commitment to exercise regularly. I started exercising 7 days a week. I knew if I skipped a day, I would end up quitting again. I was always a yo-yo exerciser. It never lasted more than a couple of months. After a year and a half, exercising became a habit and I lost around 15 lbs. At that point, I made no effort to change my diet, still eating in excess.

I cut exercising a little, going down to six days a week because I figured I had built-in the “habit”. I cut down the amount of food I was eating. This lead to me losing more weight. Within six months or so, I dropped a few more pounds.

I started training for the Pasadena marathon in 2010. I was a size 6 at that time. I never lost any weight during that training because I was still eating carb heavy and not quite eating balanced meals. I was happy with my weight and size. I probably weighed about 130 lbs.

In 2013, I started a new diet for us because my husband’s cholesterol was high and wanted to avoid medications. I had never been on a diet before. We started the “Flat Belly Diabetes Diet”. It was something I picked up from the library. It opened my mind to the psychology of eating. It also helped me “balance” our diet better. For example, suggesting 1/3 cup meat for dinner, ½ cup of starch, and 1 cup of veggies. We were feeling better, more energetic, and lost weight right away. My husband’s cholesterol dropped 50 points. We were also incorporating one vegan dinner per week. After 6 months, I dropped to a size 2. I was also only exercising 5 days per week.

In 2014, my husband quit his job and opened a store. At that time I was in my third year of homeschooling my children (4th and 2nd grade). I was a stay-at-home mom that would work to clean one house one time a week. It was a stressful time. We were working 12+ hours a day at the store and sleeping very little. A month after he opened the store, I felt like I needed to take a part-time job. Since we only had one car, I looked for a job that was walking distance from his store. I got hired at a wine lounge and bistro as a server. I was pretty healthy and felt strong at this point. I had never had any major health issues. As I started earning money, I felt great to be able to provide for our family. Working there also provided many opportunities for me to help encourage people and listen to their problems.

Within a couple of months, I was working more days than I intended. We needed the money and the stress from owning a business was getting to me. I started getting a yeast infection every couple of months. A friend of mine told me about candida, how she had it, and was asking me to consider whether I was getting it. I dismissed the idea because I thought it was the long hours of being on my feet and the hot summer climate that was leading to irritation and infections.

Here is the definition of Candida according to Webster:

noun can·di·da \ˈkan-də-də\ any of a genus (Candida) of parasitic fungi that resemble yeasts, occur especially in the mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract where they are usually benign but can become pathogenic, and have been grouped with the imperfect fungi but are now often placed with the ascomycetes; especially : one (C. albicans) causing thrush.

Basically, most of us have yeast in our large intestine. The good bacteria in our large intestine normally keeps the yeast from getting out of control or “overgrowing”. The good bacteria are taking up most of the space and using most of the nutrients in the large intestine, so the yeast can’t compete. When the good bacteria are harmed by a lot of antibiotic use, high-sugar/processed diets, or stress, the yeast gets a foothold. This is where Candida can develop.

Here are the symptoms I was having: (not all of these would occur simultaneously)

sore throat

headache

sore tongue

extreme fatigue

deep muscle aches from my hips down to my feet

lower back pain

brain fog

emotional ups and downs

intense anxiety

feeling weak/strength loss

feverish at times

cold

loss of appetite/loss of taste

nausea

difficulty thinking of the right word

slurred speech

concentration issues

I continued serving and cleaning and actually picked up another cleaning job another day of the week. I think I started cleaning the second house in October or November. I was pushing myself hard to homeschool, prepare/pack all our meals each day, working, keeping our house clean. Of course, sharing a car meant we would all ride into town (35 minutes together) so my husband could be at the store in the morning. Then we would homeschool at the store, and I would go to work in the late afternoon/evening. We would be gone all day and part of the night. This was exhausting.

Every couple of months, I was getting a yeast infection. I was exhausted most of the time. I would have to convince myself to get out of bed and start the day. It was like I was running a marathon…I had hit the “wall” and I had to talk myself into the next small goal in front of me.

When Spring had come, I was hitting another wall. My lower back had been hurting for a little while and it seemed to be progressing. Everytime I got out of bed to clean the one house, I was in tears. I had to talk myself into going. Cleaning kept getting harder. By the time I finished cleaning in four hours, my back was pretty bad. After a couple more months, I had enough. I quit both cleaning jobs in June. I knew that I would just have to trust that God was going to provide because I couldn’t do it anymore.

Within 1 week of quitting the cleaning jobs, I had back spasms. I couldn’t get relief. It started in my glutes and traveled up my lower back. I went to the doctor and they prescribed pain meds and the physical therapist gave me stretches to do. I also used a ten’s unit. This all helped, but it took a solid month before I recovered. One of my friend’s said she had something similar and it was her peraformis muscle. She showed me another great stretch.

Going through all this, I kept wondering, am I old now. Did I somehow arrive at old age within this last year of working?

So what made me go down the Candida path?

Summer arrived again and I kept getting yeast infections. I went to my Dr and he kept prescribing oral antifungals. At first, this was great. Not only would the infection go away, but I noticed my mind would clear. My brain fog would go away. I thought this was a miracle.

When I started noticing additional symptoms, I wanted to get to the root cause of the problem instead of treating symptoms. At that point, I had the Dr test me for mono and a slew of other tests including candida. They performed a blood test for candida. All my tests came back fine. So I asked him if I should try a special diet, but he didn’t want me to.

Eventually, the yeast infections got the best of me. I was taking oral antifungals and following up with a vaginal treatment from Wal-Mart just to get rid of the infection for a while. The oral antifungals were losing effectiveness. I became desperate, especially because I was still on my feet 5 days a week waiting on tables. Working long shifts on your feet with a “fire” in your pants, is frustrating and irritating. Need I say more?

I diagnosed myself in November of 2015. I was desperate to change my health conditions, so I went on a Candida diet. I was tired of the chronic vaginal yeast infections, exhaustion, and pain. My relationships were being affected as well. I was easily exasperated.

I finally began to feel relief from all my symptoms. So what was the magical diet I went on? There is an amazing e-book to get you started. You will get more information on what Candida is and how to fight it. Click on this link or copy and paste it in your browser. This is not an affiliate link.  http://www.thecandidadiet.com/ultimate-candida-diet/  This is well worth the money. When I bought it, I also got the recipe book. It’s very helpful when you are changing your diet to have these recipes to start out with. I must disclose that I have not gone all organic, but it is recommended.

I hope this helps you get started. and I look forward to taking this journey with you. We all have different backgrounds with our health and nutrition, but there is hope that we can make the changes toward better health.

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