“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Good advice from the Red King to Alice, and I’ll do my best to follow it and lay my thoughts out in some sort of chronological way.
Cut to scene… intro flashback, pan in and cue audio.
So around April of this year, my husband (who I’ll refer to as B), began having health problems. He went to the doctor for panic attacks and was prescribed Xanax. But, you know how i mentioned he doesn’t like/believe in antidepressant/antipsychotic medications? Well, that’s fairly key in understanding what all will happen next. His doctor diagnosed him with panic attacks, told him to take the Xanax as needed. He had some definite side effects from the Xanax: insomnia, upset stomach, nausea, appetite changes, loss of interest in sex and more seriously, uncontrolled muscle movements and depression. But how much of this was from the Xanax itself, I’m unsure. Because at the same time, he got online and self diagnosed hyperthyroidism and adrenal fatigue. I didn’t realize it was self-diagnosed at the time because he went to his GP and was seeing an acupuncturist so I was under the impression that these were doctor given labels.
Public Service Announcement: folks, DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE. I don’t care if all your symptoms match what webmd or other online sources say, please, please, please talk to your doctor about all medications, including herbal remedies. There can be severe, life-threatening consequences mixing medications.
Anyway, from this self-diagnosis, B started taking a myriad of vitamins and herbal supplements. One being licorice root. The licorice root was having major interference with the Xanax, and is quite possibly why he was having the side effects he was. Essentially, the two medications were cancelling each other out and leaving him with joint and muscle pain, loss of feeling in his extremities, arrhythmia, and all of the above issues. He got to the point where I was sincerely worried about coming home and finding him dead. Talking to him on the phone, he sounded desperate and unhinged. I know the sound of suicidal thoughts; I’ve been alone with them myself and I know the wariness and tone of voice accompanied by them. And he was there. Absolutely. I’d come home to find him sobbing. He’d beg me to come home and not leave him alone, which was problematic as I work til 9:00 or 10:00pm some nights and he’s in bed by then. I also don’t work a job where I can take a personal day so it’s not like I can just call in sick. It was heart wrenching.
This went on for a good 6 weeks. And B just got worse and worse, sicker and sicker. I tried to help, I gave him a 15 day candida cleanse and a parasite cleanse. Interestingly, men can get yeast infections in their sinuses. I also forced him to cut out all sugars, wheat, yeast and processed foods. This was around the time he also self diagnosed gluten intolerance and pre-diabetes.
Honestly, typing all this out makes me so mad. All of this bullshit was self-inflicted because he was scared of being on anti-anxiety meds. I understand being scared, but for fuck’s sake, don’t lie. Don’t tell me you were diagnosed with these things when it’s really a self-prescribed problem. Everything I did for him was on the basis that a doctor told him he was sick. So finding out that the only thing he’s been diagnosed with was stress related anxiety, I’m pretty furious. But more on that later.
Anyway, about six weeks-two months in, and going through intensely painful and scary physical reactions to the varied “solutions” we were trying, he discovered that the licorice root was causing many of the issues. The cleanses were probably helpful in that it made it really obvious that it wasn’t an intolerance or allergic reaction. And it turned out he did have a candida overgrowth in his sinuses, he had been having difficulty sleeping, waking up unable to breathe. After going through the cleanses, when he sleeps, he’s not waking due to breathing troubles. I can’t answer for whether he had parasites, he claims he did, but at this point I’m disinclined to believe him. I think it’s good though to periodically reset your digestive tract and allow your body the chance to repopulate the natural flora back to correct levels and he has been taking probiotics to help give his body back some of the good he’s lost. But anyway, he stopped the licorice root and Xanax (cold turkey – because THAT’S the healthy way to do it *insert eye roll here*) but he was so worried about the lack of feeling in his extremities, lack of appetite, digestive troubles and other issues that he went to the hospital. They did blood work on him and told him he’s not diabetic. Good. One less thing to stress over. They again told him it was stress induced anxiety and IBS.
Now IBS is a catch all term for we don’t know what’s wrong with you but your digestion is off somehow, so, you know, a really useful diagnosis. Well, he went to a different his acupuncturist and was talking online with a specialist and both said that based on the medications he had been taking in conjunction with the sundry supplements, he’s over taxed his liver and kidneys but that in a few months, so long as he stops taking pretty much everything and drinks water and eats healthy food, he will heal. Good news to me. He can’t seem to believe anybody. I’ve told him to stop looking for problems, to accept the diagnoses, and be patient. He will heal. He just needs to give himself the time. But he’s still worried about being diabetic (although after testing his blood sugar levels at various times and after various states of having eaten or not eaten and every single one being fine I think he’s realizing that he is not, in fact, diabetic. Jesus.) and he went in on Monday to his GP and they’re testing him for auto-immune diseases.
I think he’s fine. I think he did damage to his body, that he probably did do some damage to his kidneys and liver, that he’s still feeling the effects of the licorice root and that in a month or two he’ll feel pretty much normal, and that within a year he’ll be back to healthy. Already his appetite has increased, he’s not having as many emotional outbursts, he’s sleeping better, his body temperature is regulating itself better, his circulation is improving, and he’s feeling better. But he’s done enough damage that he’s still a long way away from feel well. Right now, I don’t know what is wrong with him – officially. His blood work from the hospital was fine, but we’ll see what the tests from Monday bring. He’s quitting his job, as it’s very physical, so right now, not only is he sick and incurring medical bills, but our income is about to take a big hit.
So, this leaves melancholic me in a precarious position. I’m trying to help support him and keep myself together. I’ll go more into my personal demons next time. But right now, I feel like I’m clinging desperately to the side of a buoy, trying not to slip off and drown.