Addie Perkins-Williamson News from Addie

First post: 10/19/2016 Latest post: 2/13/2017
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family, friends and colleagues updated in one place.   

I first became aware I had some sort of health issue nearly 20 years ago because of changes in my breath.  I visited the dentist because I thought the odor originated in my mouth.  After a thorough check up and cleaning I was sent on my way with the dentist's expectation that the problem was resolved.  However, the breath issue continued to persist.  I asked a succession of internists about it in the ensuing  years who either referred me to a dentist or told me it wasn't so bad and to essentially live with it.  I also consulted for many years a nutritionist and homeopathic practitioner who both ran series of tests and prescribed any number of supplements and homeopathic remedies, all of which worked for a short time before the breath issue returned.  As well, because of a diagnosis of hypothyroidism in my early 20's, I had regular checkups with a really terrific gastroenterologist/internist to manage my underactive thyroid and address any GI issues.  

Fast forward to 2014 after my move to New York City.   I had my first colonoscopy and, since my breath issues continued to persist and had in fact worsened, took it as an opportunity to ask the doctor to determine if my GI tract, my gut, was contributing to my breath issues.   The results of the colonoscopy identified a couple of issues but nothing that would cause chronic bad breath.  She recommended a breath test for SIBO--Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, which could indeed cause such breath issues.  The SIBO test was positive.  For the first time in nearly 20 years I had a name for what might be the source of my problem.   SIBO is extremely difficult to eradicate and the typical treatment is an antibiotic that works in 45% of cases.  Unfortunately, it did not work in my case and thus the allopathic medical community had little else to offer.  I then turned to the naturopathic and alternative medicine communities for any insights and suggestions they might offer--and also searched the internet.

I used the SIBO diagnosis to search the internet for information about the gut and why SIBO has such a negative effect on it.  I began to understand that the gut is considered the second brain (if not the first brain given its size.)  Like the brain in our heads, the gut has not yet been well mapped and is not well understood.  It is believed that the gut and the brain communicate for critical bodily functioning.  How? Not yet clear.  

There is research that confirms a malfunctioning gut, or a leaky gut, is linked to many autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes as well as Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  You will note autoimmune diseases are not the cause of a malfunctioning gut but rather the outcome of a leaky gut.  And treatment of most autoimmune diseases addresses symptoms rather than actually curing it.  The same is true of my SIBO and leaky gut--they are symptoms of a malfunctioning gut rather than the cause of it.  No one fully understands the how and why of the malfunctioning.

I made a last-ditch effort in June of this year by seeing a practitioner in California who seemed to have the most up-to-date information about the gut and SIBO and how to treat it.  I spent the summer taking over 30 supplements every day in an effort to eradicate the SIBO even as I realized the SIBO was itself only a symptom rather than the cause of my gut issues.  Unfortunately, my breath issues, my bellwether, returned and I have come to accept that I have a chronic issue the medical community has insufficient knowledge to address.  In the meantime, my body's functioning has become increasingly impaired.  It is time to put my affairs in order although I will never give up!

 Your support and words of hope and encouragement are sincerely appreciated. Thank you for visiting.

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