Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The results are in.

The time has come - my SIBO test results are in!

I picked up the phone with great nervousness, and heard, "Hi Emily! It's Dr. M!" She was excited and smiling, I could hear it.

"Hi! How are you?" I said in a big rush, as I locked myself into a conference room at work.

"I'm great, I have your test results and it is so exciting!"


So my bacteria indicators are down 80% or more. I still have it - and I knew I did - but it's going away, and it's going away fast. I'm not at all disappointed. I knew it would still be there, and my only fear was that it would be, like, 10% gone or something. But 80% gone! Miracle of miracles! Every single bite of food I passed up was worth it!


It gets weirder.

The latest drug regimen, which Dr. M. wants to see me undergo, would be a choice of either herbal or pharmaceutical antibiotics. Herbals are $200 out of pocket and take 40 days. Pharmaceuticals are $850 out of pocket and take 14 days. She wasn't strongly advocating either way, but the pharmaceutical route - as evidenced by the cost - is a pretty incredible drug. It does not build up a resistance, so it should be as effective this time as it was last time. And it's non-systemic, so it does not cross into the blood and body; it stays right there in the digestive tract. If it does as well as it did in January, and I do as well with the diet as I did the last 8.5 weeks, I could be free of bacterial overgrowth and back on a path of healthy well-rounded eating. And so, yes, I'm a Western science girl at heart - I'm gulping on paying the bill and going for it. Round two shall be more pharmaceuticals.

But this is where it gets weird.

The second drug regimen comes with a new instruction. If choosing the pharmaceuticals over the herbals, one should, for 14 days - and not sooner, nor later - be eating, at one or two meals a day, something(s) from the list of "NO" foods. 


The highly fermentable foods list, aka everything delicious, will become my friend for 14 glorious days - and on day 15, it is cold turkey back to the SIBO diet. The theory here is that you want to feed the bugs while killing them… draw them out and knock 'em down; don't let them hide in dormancy while you take the pills.

As the calendar would have it, I am headed to Florida to see my mom and aunt next week, and frankly, this couldn't be better timing. I have not started the regimen yet, for two reasons. One, I am afraid I will get sick, like I did last time. It was the flu; I know it was. But what if - what if - what if it was a die-off reaction from slaying bacteria? And secondly, because I am making a list of Portland things I want to fit into my 14 day schedule. Any other suggestions? So far I have what is below, and it may well be two more months before I can have anything this tasty again.
  • a slice of berry pie from Lauretta Jean's
  • a kati roll from Bollywood Theater
  • something from Maurice (brand new sweet shop near my office)
  • half a pizza from Firehouse
  • ice cream with hot fudge from Salt and Straw
  • chocolate blackout cake from Sugar Cube (I've never had it!) 
  • Frank's noodles 
  • bread from Fleur de Lys 
  • a bagel from Tastebud, now at food carts near my office

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