Saturday, December 12, 2015

Enter the FODMAP diet!

My asthma symptoms have improved so much it is hardly worth mentioning them. I finished my prednisone burst a couple of days ago and am now just taking fluconazole for the yeast in my lungs, sinuses and ears - plus my usual symbicort, spiriva, pulmicort. My breathing is great - peak flow above 400 even in the morning.

For good or bad, I'm at the post-prednisone stage where I start thinking that I need something exciting to happen. When my asthma symptoms are moderate or bad, I'm too pooped to do very much. After then end of  a prednisone burst, I start feeling like I want to do something fun like go on a trip. Unfortunately my private travel insurance won't cover me until 90 days without prednisone. So I either have to stay in Canada (where travel in the winter is not that enticing) or get a new kind of insurance.

Enter the FODMAP diet to make life interesting. 

Mike has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) most of his life. His approach was to "keep calm and deny it" but he was often pretty miserable. Since stress is related - having to deal with my asthma ups and downs was not helpful.

A couple of months ago, on a ferry trip to see a specialist in Vancouver, I found a book called "GUT" which seemed to explain what was happening. IBS is not just in your head. It is a functional disease of the gastro-intestinal tract. Unlike celiac and Crohn's, there is no structural damage - but the system frequently malfunctions causing pain, bloating, and diarrhea (including unpredictable "explosions.") and sometimes constipation.

The book recommended eliminating gluten. Things improved a lot. It suggested eliminating dairy. Things seemed even better. But -  Mike's resulting diet was leading straight to a heart attack and I was stuck finishing up all those nut-burgers I had previously bought. I'm big on lots of vegetables and fruits, not too much meat, and lots of fibre. Mike was eating bacon and eggs with chia bread for breakfast and steak or chops for dinner.Scarey.

We went to our GP. He suggested Mike try the FODMAP diet. This diet is gluten free and lactose free - so we were part way there. But it also limits the kinds of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.that a person with IBS should eat. It based on the concept that IBS results from fermentation of high fructose foods in the large intestine. Life is a bit more complicated with the FODMAP and our grocery shopping has become a voyage of exploration. But I think it's pretty hopeful - almost like a new adventure.

At the end of Mike's appointment, our GP asked how I was doing. After I had described the candida, he commented, "You're moldy!" I like that guy.

Today is wet and windy. A couple of weeks ago we could see the moon through our trees - beautiful.

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