I never intended for anyone to read Without Boundaries. It was a journal I wrote on a day that I felt I was about to completely lose faith in my health ever recovering. I was struggling to remember what a day without pain would feel like- or even if they ever did exist for me. I traced back to the time I remembered being the happiest and healthiest and immediately thought of my days on the ice. With a lack of support from doctors, sports became my only source of relief, “my medicine.” Remembering this time of strength motivated me to keep searching for a cure…
Blastocystis Hominis – My Story
I am sharing my story because I know that there is a lot of misinformation surrounding Blastocystis Hominis. It is commonly misdiagnosed, left undiagnosed; or in my case when diagnosed, there is a general refusal from doctors to link the symptoms to the diagnosis of this parasite, commonly referred to as a “symptomless infection.” It seems as though doctors would rather continue to search for a different cause than accept the severity and destruction of Blastocystis Hominis. “It’s not that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.” (From G.K. Chesterton – The Point of a Pen). I am also writing this because I understand that there is not a clear or easy solution to this and that a parasite can completely rob you of your quality of life. It has taken me two years of walking in circles to finally begin to see and feel some positive progress. However, it is totally worth all the pain and frustration to come back from this and start to glide through life painlessly again…
My symptoms over the last two years included severe and constant nausea that ran from the pit of my stomach to the top of my throat, abdominal pain, weight loss, dizziness, vomiting, poor digestion, diarrhea, constipation, rectal bleeding, inability to concentrate, depression, panic attacks, brain fog, severe chronic fatigue, hot sweats, rashes and breakouts, cessation of period for 5 months at a time, cravings for sweet and starchy foods, anger and irritability, and constant headaches. Many days these symptoms would appear simultaneously. Despite my persistence in searching for a parasite and consistent doctor visits, and the fact that my list of symptoms was symmetrical to that of a severe case of Blastocystis Hominis (or D. Fragilis), doctors urged me to stop looking for a parasite. They said that it was virtually impossible that I would discover a parasite after all the tests I had already taken. And so began my eighteen month journey in the wrong direction. On top of these symptoms, I was dealing with the fact that no one understood what was happening to me. My tears and pleas were hardly acknowledged by doctors, and I had to continue pretending to live my life like normal so no one would assume I had gone crazy. I can recall so many shifts at work leaning on walls trying to stabilize the dizziness, running to the washrooms to try to force myself to vomit so that the nausea might ease off, and sitting on the floor of the washroom stall until the wave of stabbing knives in my stomach softened just enough to return to my job, smiling at customers like nothing was happening. The pain and frustration of not knowing – of not seeing an end in sight, was a pain I cannot describe. I felt as though I could never call in sick to work, if I did, I might just keep slipping since no day was much better than the last. My life became an endless marathon with no idea where or why I was running, but something within me told me I had to keep moving. I can recall so many days where I was simply walking, and had to stop to rest because I was so out of breath and exhausted. And days where I would try and pour all of my concentration and will into simply reading a book that I had been dying to read – but the headaches and nausea and dizziness kept me from reading anything but a couple of pages at a time. Sports and distraction truly were my medicine – my only temporary relief from the pain, frustration, and anxiety that had become my life. Some days I would quietly meditate to myself while I was eating, wishing the pain away, while other days I could not bring myself to eat; the thought of the pain which resulted from eating was so overwhelming that I would curl myself into a ball and give up on the day entirely. The hunger never went away no matter what I had eaten, and I became a proficient liar, pretending I was okay, while the pain and nausea were usually so overwhelming that they were consuming the majority of my thoughts.
Over two years ago, when I set off for Mexico I was in normal health, and I returned to Canada feeling extremely unwell. I visited my doctor and suggested that I may have picked up a parasite while in Mexico. I took the standard tests and they returned negative. My symptoms persisted so I began eliminating foods that I thought maybe triggering my illness. I continued changing my diet and revisiting my doctor with each and every test returning negative. “No news is good news!,” the doctors insisted, but I knew this wasn’t the case. I was barely eating and my symptoms were only worsening. I had left for Mexico healthy and returned with chronic pain, fever, and tiredness that would not let up.
Since regular doctors weren’t providing me with any helpful options, I turned to a naturopath for help. After numerous expensive tests, I was diagnosed with ‘leaky gut syndrome’ and my food intolerance chart lit up like a Christmas tree. I followed the diet plan religiously for months despite the lack of improvement or positive results and continued on with research of parasites and other mysterious illnesses with the help of my parents. After some research, I came to realize that Canadian doctors cannot test for all parasites which have been picked up in other countries. I found this strange since I had specifically told my doctor it was in Mexico that I had fallen ill. I found a (very expensive) method of testing called Genova Diagnostics which would search for almost all international parasites and other internal bacteria or pathogens – to cover all of the bases. When the test returned, I had again tested negative for parasites, but positive for SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
I followed the treatment for this, while continuing on my very limited diet. Some of my symptoms cleared up briefly, but returned shortly after in full force. Fed up, and still convinced of a parasite, I visited a new doctor in town. I lied and told him that I had just returned from Mexico. I explained the severity of my symptoms and asked for more parasite testing. Another negative result, followed by many more after that, week after week. I was losing hope and losing the battle. I visited one more doctor and tried to explain my symptoms and why I thought it was a logical link to a parasite, and finally had a doctor who concurred with me. Since her daughter had had symptoms similar to mine and they cleared up after taking Flagyl (or metronidazole generic), she prescribed me some. She insisted that if I had picked up a bug, this would kill it (although after later research I saw that 10% of people will have no recovery from this drug, and may experience increased resistance; though she did not mention this. And after placebo testing, it was found those cases would clear up without this medication). I took the antibiotics and felt slight improvement followed by worsened symptoms. I figured that it mustn’t be a parasite, and I guided my attention elsewhere to find a different cause of my symptoms and associated the worsened symptoms with the destruction of my gut flora. I increased my intake of probiotics.
I continued experimenting with natural remedies and different diets. I tried eating everything blended, then tried everything hot and cooked, I tried eating everything hot and cooked while avoiding a list of 20+ foods from the naturopath plus avoiding FODMAPS restricted foods, I tried eating more meat, then only fish, then mainly yams and avocado and squash, and the list goes on and on, eventually I became afraid to eat anything at all and things only seemed to be heading downhill. After a few consecutive days of finding blood in my stool, I gave in, and revisited my local doctor. This time he began to take me more seriously, and started to think maybe I wasn’t (that) crazy. It was possible I had a chronic inflammatory disease like Crohn’s. I was scheduled in with a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy and colonoscopy in a few months and was extremely relieved. All I had to do was make it by until then and the specialist would diagnose me. I did not care how severe the diagnosis was, at this point I was just begging for a diagnosis – something that could be treated, something that would make me feel less isolated and scared.
The internal cameras provided me with little information, except for eliminating Crohn’s, IBD, and Celiac disease. All that this specialist could tell me was that I had a chronically inflamed stomach and for this he had no reason or solution. When I asked if parasites were a possibility he said it would be nearly impossible – he would have picked up some clues on the camera. Relieved that I did not have a permanent chronic inflammatory disease, I got the okay from my insurance company for coverage to fly to Australia. I figured I had best keep moving, researching, reading, distracting myself, and looking for new perspectives from foreign doctors. In Australia I read various books on health, went for regular blood and stool tests, visited naturopaths and supplemented my diet with many vitamins, visited a Mayan Digestive therapist for a stomach massage, Chinese therapists, and an acupuncturist – all with little relief. I meditated three times every day and followed a self-hypnosis program, which helped me find some peace, but could not entirely rid me of pain. Feeling drained of money and energy, I visited a kinesiologist who insisted that I go back and test for parasites. Reluctantly, having given up on parasites months ago, I visited a doctor in Lennox Head, Australia.
When the doctor delivered the news of a positive test for a parasite, my voice cracked as I thanked him. The doctor half-chuckled as he heard the emotion in my voice and asked “What did you think – that you were going to die? I’ll give you a simple prescription for Flagyl (a drug I had already taken earlier and had increased resistance and worsened my symptoms) and it will clear it right up.” Since any trust I had left for doctors had flown out the window over a year ago, I took the diagnosis of Blastocystis Hominis, and fired up my computer. The first thing that came up was a website, http://www.badbugs.org. I read through everything that the author of badbugs had been through and done to improve their condition, and I felt overwhelmed to finally hear of someone with the same awful symptoms as I had been suffering for the past eighteen months. I also felt discouraged by the battle ahead of me, as it appeared Blastocystis is not an easily eradicated parasite. I was beyond fortunate to be currently living near Sydney Australia, where the Sydney Centre for Digestive Diseases was located, one of the leading facilities in parasitology. Here, they deliver a triple antibiotic to work in combination to eliminate Blastocystis Hominis and another parasite called D. Fragilis (which also has the same symptoms). I could not get an appointment with CDD, so I visited a nearby doctor and asked if they would follow the CDD protocol and write me a prescription for the appropriate antibiotics. The doctor was not happy to do so, but called CDD anyways. This doctor thought that the triple antibiotics were a waste of money as Blastocystis is usually just a “harmless pathogen” anyways. I stood my ground, and received a prescription. There are four different rounds of different triple antibiotics as suggested by CDD but my doctor would only allow me to purchase the first round, and if it failed I would have to re-test, and if positive, I could apply for another round. This sounded quite daunting, seeing as it had taken me eighteen months to find the parasite the first time. However, the first round of drugs had an 85% success rate in severe cases, so I happily took the antibiotics and flew home to Canada to recover. Of course, I was exhausted and ill for the next few weeks, yet another “die-off” phase. Soon I began to feel slightly like my old self mixed with days of exhaustion with periods of stabbing pain, nausea, headaches, and dizziness, but on the bright side they were less frequent than I had been experiencing previously.
When I realized that I was not entirely cured, the weight of my hopelessness began to crush me again. I felt as though I was running full speed at a wall and smashing into it, giving everything I had towards the hopes of recovery and getting almost nowhere. I tried not to let this failure keep me down for too long, but I was exhausted – not only from the lack of digestion and all of my symptoms, but from getting my hopes up, then shattered so many times. I yearned for a simple life without pain, without having to think about health, without only being able to half-focus on anything going on in my life. My mind was always somewhere else, thinking of a cure, or being completely overtaken by the pain. I picked up another book called Proteinaholic – the most helpful one for me yet, and tried contacting anyone who could prescribe me the second round of antibiotics. Garth Davis’ Proteinaholic contained all the facts I ever needed and more – on why I should stop eating meat. Although doctors and even naturopaths urged me to consume lots of protein/meat to increase my overall energy, I realized it had the opposite effect on me. The work my body did to break down the meat, or other animal products, on top of the other side effects were harming me rather than helping. As soon as I cut out meat, I could feel a huge improvement on my energy and ease of digestion. Although not fully improved, I noticed a decrease in pain. After researching, as well as hearing many positive accounts from going “raw” vegan, I decided to try it for myself. Even though all the dietary advice I had been given about parasites suggested this would be the hardest possible diet for my stomach – uncooked vegetables and nuts, I was willing to try anything! I was amazed that for the first time in a long time I could confidently eat recipes without too much modification, and that the meals were not only easy to digest – but that they also left me full of energy instead of a painful, nauseous, bloated, mess. I started to feel positive about eating again, and had my faith restored in the fact that diet can be a cure. I cringed at how many times before I had avoided the topic of going raw vegan, as everyone I had trusted had steered me away from eating raw since it was presumed my body was too weak to break down the raw food. The opposite proved true; my body was craving the nutrients that I was losing when I was cooking my meals. Now eating three raw nutrient-dense meals per day on top of a rigorous juicing routine, I finally felt something I hadn’t in years… satiety, fullness after eating, in place of intense pain and fatigue. My life became hopeful and colourful yet again and the more I read into the studies behind a plant-based diet, and reaped my own benefits, the more I believed in the power of it. Going raw vegan is not only a great way to fuel my body, boost my immune system enough to fight the pathogen which was taking over my body, but it also gave me peace that eventually with a strong and healthy immune system, I won’t be a likely candidate for getting another parasite or other diseases. As intense as it sounds to not cook food, or eat any animal products, processed foods, or refined sugars, the benefits by far outweigh the limitations. I recommend for parasites to start with mainly green juices and vegetable dominating meals, and slowly add in fruits; as the natural sugars from the fruit can aggravate the symptoms. The more I juiced and strengthened my body, the more variety I felt I could include in my diet. I also started following Dr. Cousens’ Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine diet program where the first three months completely cut out fruit and natural sugars.
I headed back to my family doctor with hopes that since he was aware of all my previous symptoms, complaints, and frequent visits, he would be able to link the illness to my previous diagnosis of B.H. Instead, I was shocked to hear that he still did not believe that B.H. would ever cause such severe symptoms and suggested that we continue to look for a different cause. I urged him to prescribe me the second round of triple antibiotics from the Sydney Centre for Digestive Diseases, and he disagreed that it was necessary. He would, however, follow their protocol if I could test positive again for B.H. My frustrations piled up at the memory of the difficulties I had gone through to test positive in the first place, and was overwhelmed by the difficult roads that laid ahead. I set out to find a method to make the B.H. more discoverable so I would not have to wait much longer for another round of antibiotics.
While I was beginning my raw vegan diet, I spoke to a medical intuitive, Pamela Aaralyn, and she said that I may have EBV. I did some research on EBV or Epstein Barr Virus, and found that it was most likely a condition I had been suffering from for most of my life. It is a virus that at some point infects 95% of all adults. In some people, the conditions are mild and for others, it can lead to more serious illnesses and diseases. I discovered that the reason for the difficulty in diagnosing my Blastocystis Hominis may have been due to the fact that this virus was hiding or clinging to the parasites, making them harder to find and also get rid of. I researched cures for EBV and found colloidal gold, which in studies can even be a cure to cancer and parasites. Harvard studies show increases in IQ with colloidal gold consumption. I suggest looking into colloidal gold studies and deciding for yourself if it works for you as it has not been thoroughly researched. But for me the combination of colloidal gold, colloidal silver (a natural antibiotic) and a raw vegan diet again caused some die-off pains, but after about a month, I found myself beginning to feel like I was living a normal life again. I was actually quite relieved to not have to go through another round of antibiotics as I was worried about what more antibiotics might do to my gut flora.
Since I had spent so long battling these awful symptoms, I visited a Chinese doctor who had just received a modern bio-electric machine which unblocks the meridians in your body to heal muscles, tissues. cells and organs. This machine worked wonders for me to unblock energy in my stomach and trigger some digestive acu-points. The D.D.S. Bioelectric Therapy Machine works with the Qi or energy of your body, and removes the dampness in your body that clings to illness or injury. It improved my circulation, digestion, and immediately boosted my energy.
I am still currently struggling from some digestive upsets and random flare-ups, but for the most part my life is returning to the way it used to be, and some days I even feel better than I did before all of the Blastocystis Hominis upsets. I am continuing my DDS treatment and diets in hopes that I will soon be back to 100%. It is understandable that I am still suffering from some pains and indigestion, since the B.H. hosted my intestines for so long, but I definitely believe that one day I will be healthier than I have ever been, with complete awareness of the damage caused by processed foods, the harm that hormone-filled meat and animal products were once causing to my body, and reverse the destruction that my previous “normal diet” was causing.
I am not writing this because I want you to blindly follow my advice or feel sorry for me. I am writing this because I want people to understand that Blastocystis Hominis can have real, life-altering symptoms. It has been shown in studies that date back over 100 years to cause severe distress and be difficult to eradicate. I am baffled that so many doctors ignored my pleas and symptoms and wrote me off as being dramatic, and that B.H. is known to be “symptomless and inactive in most people” and that they completely ignored what happened to those of us with an active pathogen. I hope that one day the majority of doctors will re-adjust their outlooks on B.H. and account for the percentage of us who are in extreme pain daily, and not just write us off as another case of IBS. At the very least, I wish that doctors would have kept an open door for me in saying that a parasite was a possibility for me, even if it may take a while to find. Perhaps you, as a patient, or anyone you know that has returned from a tropical country and is suddenly affected by severe digestive issues and pains, may ask a doctor to test for Blastocystis Hominis and D. Fragilis, and not just take a diagnosis of IBS as the solution. Bear in mind that it took me 18 months to finally be diagnosed after much persistence and focus, and I hope that all of the energy I have poured into finding a diagnosis and a cure can save you, or a friend, a few steps along the way.
Life can throw a lot at you. Control what you can. Diet is a huge factor in the longevity and quality of your life. It is not always necessary to follow the Western Culture and lifestyle habits, because despite all of our technology and education, so many of us are dying of illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity; when the tools are in our own hands to help us prevent it – with a natural, plant-based diet. I don’t regret one moment of the pain and isolation I endured over the past two years. It has made me stronger, more aware, and more compassionate towards other people who are struggling in their own lives. Above all, I am entirely grateful for every beautiful moment I experience without pain. I want to help others, but I think it is best if you decide what is best for you. If nothing else is gained from this, I hope that this can be a clear case of the severity Blastocystis Hominis; and even in the most weakened immune system and state of health, how powerful a plant-based diet can be. Here are some links of people and websites that have helped me through my battle with B.H.
Bad Bugs was the site I found which led me to the Sydney Centre for Digestive Diseases. It has many great facts about B. Hominis and D. Fragilis and another clear outline of the destruction that parasites can cause. This site also mentions the possible link between IBS and parasites, which could explain a lot of the disconnect from doctors in linking my diagnosis of B.H. with my severe symptoms. A good read if you’re still skeptical of the symptoms caused by parasites.
The Sydney Centre for Digestive Diseases is located in Sydney Australia, and is a great place to find antibiotics if the natural approach is not working for you. It is one of the only clinics that I have found that fully understands the severity of B. Hominis, and treats its resistance appropriately with triple antibiotics. If you live in Australia, you can have your regular doctor call the CDD for a protocol and prescription for the first round of antibiotics
Pamela Aaralyn is a Spiritual Alchemist whom I turned to at the request of my mother, when I was completely losing hope with my situation. Pamela helped me find Colloidal Gold and research EBV, and also suggested to follow a vegan diet.
Anna is amazing and passionate about helping others. She saw that I was skeptical and proved herself and her therapies. She specializes in Mayan Abdominal Massage Therapy and she helped take away a lot of my pain (helping me to experience a few of my first brief moments without any pain) and taught me important tools to help with flare ups. She also helped me to break the emotional ties that I had to the physical pain and even called me outside of work hours, showing me how much she genuinely cared about me, even though a couple sessions before, I was a complete stranger. She even discovered that I may have a parasite after all those long painful months of being turned away from the doctors. Without Anna, I may have never tested positive for B. Hominis.
The Rawtarian is an amazing website filled with colourful and delicious Raw Vegan and nutrient dense recipes. Finding these recipes made going Raw a breeze.
A great website for facts on plant based nutrition to break through the barrier of misinformation about the meat and dairy industries.
If you’re still sceptical of going vegan, try watching ‘What the Health’ on Netflix. It outlines the greed behind multimillion dollar companies who pay to keep their foods as the dominant portion of the American diet. It also emphasizes the difference between how doctors treat a “chronic” disease: ie, many drugs and pills for a lifetime, never getting rid of the disease; and healthy diet changes – strengthening the body and immune system to fight off the disease and continue living a normal life.
Studies on colloidal gold for rheumatoid arthritis, boosting IQ, etc. Shows the importance of using pure colloidal gold as opposed to gold salts.
This machine worked wonders to speed up my healing time and regulate my digestion. It is great for a large variety of illnesses and injuries and boosting overall health.
Dr. Cousens is a very passionate raw or “live” foodie. He is very well-educated and proves that many diseases can be fought by following an organic/veganic raw food diet. His book provides over 375 raw recipes in a specific order to help you heal yourself, as well as text to help you understand your own individual digestive needs.
And a special shout out to anyone I met along the way who had compassion for my story, or for me, and urged me to keep chasing an answer to what at times seemed like a hopeless cause. The kindness of strangers, friends and my loving parents is what has helped me get to where I needed to be.