The Die Off!

So. It’s finally happening. The candida is finally dying. VICTORY.

To recap, I started a relatively aggressive treatment plan

Microscopic enlargement of Candida Biofilm
Candida Biofilm (Source)

to kill the candida overgrowth in my belly on September 26. I am taking ketoconazole, a relatively strong anti-fungal prescription medication, plus a “biofilm breaker” called serrapeptase. I’ve discussed biofilm on the blog before, but basically my original anti-fungal course of treatment likely did not work because the candida has been in my gut for so long, it’s latched onto itself and has formed a strong barrier against anything trying to kill it. So gross, right?

After the first week of the anti-candida cocktail, I didn’t really feel much different, so I reached out to the nurse practitioner to find out if I should change anything in order to actually experience the die off I was promised. He suggested taking both the ketoconazole and serrapeptase together on an empty stomach, and to not eat for2-3 hours after taking the combo. If you know me, you know that I eat constantly, so this has been very tough but manageable, especially because the die off is actually occurring now.

The downside? I feel like absolute garbage. Here’s how my day goes:

Drag myself out of bed at 6:15am to take the drug combo, mope around the house struggling to get ready for work, stop for coffee/latte, use every ounce of energy I have while I’m at work, drive home, immediately collapse on the couch/bed with the general feeling that I just got hit by a truck.

Most recently, that process has been followed up by an hour of willing myself to go run, followed by a very slow, short run that I have to talk myself into not quitting, followed by falling asleep on the couch before 9pm. Add in some really unpleasant gastrointestinal distress (I’ll just leave that there) and you’ve got yourself a candida die off. Sorry I haven’t blogged all week, but I’ve honestly just been falling asleep!

So, I was pretty thrilled today after meeting with my functional medicine doctor, as she was able to confirm that no, I’m not just crazy, and I really do likely feel like garbage all day long. Yayyyyyyy! That means the candida is dying. Finally.

We decided to accelerate the die off in the hopes of my symptoms getting worse, but ending sooner. Here’s the plan:

  • Increase serrapeptase (biofilm breaker) to two times daily.
  • Add CandiBactin AR, an herbal supplement to assist with the die off process.
  • Finish the ketoconazole round of anti-fungal medication. Wait one week. Begin a 30 day round of itraconazole, an even stronger anti-fungal.

With any luck, the candida will then be dead. She reminded me a few times that candida breeds on sugar, so I should be even more mindful of sugar in any/all forms during this process. Also, this course of action assumes that my kidney and liver can still handle the aggressive anti-fungals. She ordered bloodwork to test their function today, and again in one month to be sure.

Finally, to circle back on the fact that my face was a mess – it has improved since the breakout last week. Dr. Herbst confirmed that any time I begin an anti-fungal medication, a breakout is likely to occur. Makes sense, given the fact that my most recent breakout began right after I started taking my current anti-fungal prescription.

I should expect another breakout when I increase the serrapeptase, and definitely when I begin the itraconzole. At least this time, I’ll be prepared and know the cause instead of just questioning all the work I’ve put into this journey so far.

Just a quick update after the doctor’s appointment, but long story short – things are looking up, even though I feel awful! =)

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