Candidiasis – Walkout
Margery Hughes was well-dressed, elegant, and obviously used to living a sophisticated lifestyle. She sat down in my office and started by asking me questions, taking control, something I assumed was her usual habit.
She had been unwell for some time, but with a variety of vague and seemingly disconnected symptoms. At one point she became frustrated at the way our discussion was going and did nothing to hide this from me. Clearly, she had little control over her emotions.
Eventually, I acquired a list of her problems. They included indigestion, bloating, passing wind and erratic bowel motions. These symptoms were dismissed with a wave of her hand.
“But lots of people have these problems, don’t they?”
I shrugged, not wanting to agree or to divert her thinking.
“What else?” I asked.
“Oh, well, I’m tired. I just don’t seem to have the energy that I used to have, but it comes and goes. I’m just not old enough to be feeling this way. And even worse, there are times when I feel very confused, I just can’t focus on work. My brain feels kind of ‘soapy’. But this isn’t all the time, it comes and goes too.”
Margery was thirty-nine, certainly not old enough for any of these symptoms to be directly age-related.
We continued to chat while I got more details from her. I had begun to suspect that a fungus, specifically Candida albicans, could be the problem, and even more so when she admitted, somewhat reluctantly, to having episodes of vaginal thrush and, on further questioning, ‘athlete’s foot’ between her toes.
At this time, back in the 80’s in Australia, we did not have a specific test for Candida albicans. I did find a suggestive indication when I looked at a drop of her blood under the microscope. Our usual procedure was to put someone on an anti-candida diet and supplement protocol regime. If the symptoms resolved, then we would know that was what the problem had been.
I explained this to her and advised her to eliminate wine. She consumed several glasses a day, “just social drinking,” as she put it. I also recommended that she avoid bread and other yeast products such as pizza, buns, cakes and doughnuts, cheese and vinegar along with sugar and all the high sugar foods including honey, rice syrup and similar, and also peanuts which often carry a mould. I gave her a printed list of foods to avoid and discussed with her the alternatives that she could eat instead. I then planned her supplement program, explained where she could get what was needed, though we did provide most of it, and suggested she come back in ten days. This would allow her a day or two to get started and then a full week on the protocol.
While I was explaining all of this her expression fell progressively, and I wasn’t at all sure that she was going to do as I had suggested, so I did what I could to encourage her.
She left my office, went left down the hall towards reception to meet up with her friend who had been waiting in the third room. As they came back down the hall and walked past my office and out the front door, I could hear very clearly what she was saying.
“Oh, this is ridiculous. Does she honestly expect me to give up all the foods she listed? Really, it is hopeless. I am going to see someone else. I will find a naturopath who doesn’t make me give up all of these foods.” And her voice faded as they walked off.
You win some, you lose some, I thought. She clearly lived a sophisticated lifestyle with lots of entertaining and other forms of socialising. I knew it would be tricky for her, and had tried to find positive alternatives, but I wasn’t holding my breath. She had made an appointment for two weeks later, but she didn’t turn up and she didn’t even call cancel. I was not surprised. I could sense her frustration and erratic moods playing into this.
What did surprise me was to see her arriving in my office about six months later. My window looked out onto the entrance, and while I had not recognised her name on my list of clients for the day – I was seeing about fifty patients a week at that time and six months had gone by – I did clearly recall her by sight.
I asked her how she had got on. She looked considerably subdued. “I just knew your regime would be impossible. I was sure other people would have a better solution for me so I tried a couple of other naturopaths, but they were no better. What the doctor gave me just made me feel worse. I tried several other things, but I still do not feel any better. In fact, I am feeling worse. So, I figured I had better give your program a try.” Gone was the arrogance, confidence and irritability. It was all replaced by mild frustration laced with a trace of hope.
So, she took the supplements, changed her diet appropriately, and was amazed at how much better she felt, and instantly referred several people to me.