. . . back in the spring of 2008, which long outlasted the flu-type illness that I had suffered from over the late December/early January period. 2008 was a very busy year for us, firstly I celebrated my 60th birthday with a big family party, and then almost immediately we sold our house, then prepared for and executed our relocation to Wiltshire, so I hardly noticed that I was still coughing, there was just too much else to think about! Although my memory of this period is mostly now a blur, I do vaguely recall that at some time during the move I effected an awkward manoeuvre which gave me a strange sensation in the muscles around the stomach area.
It wasn't really until the spring of 2009, after the usual coughs and colds of the winter months had been and gone that I realized I was still coughing, and had been on and off for the entire year and more, so I decided it was time for some medical intervention. A visit to the doctor resulted in a prescription for some antibiotics for a (non-existent, so it turns out) chest infection and an appointment for a chest xray - which showed that my lungs were all clear. The antibiotics didn't clear the cough, so after a couple of months or so another visit to the doctor resulted in a trip to Salisbury hospital for an internal inspection of my nasal passages. Slight inflammation of the throat and lower bronchial areas led to a diagnosis of acid reflux from a hiatus hernia. Nasal sprays and stomach acid neutralizing capsules were prescribed. By this time we were well into 2010, and GM had his own health problems, which obviously overshadowed my own, so I just kept on taking the capsules, as although I was still coughing, it was nowhere near as bad as it had been. Certain things seemed to trigger a fit, so I avoided lager, cheese and wholegrain bread, which also helped a bit. At about the same time I started having the odd bout of cystitis now and again, which was treated with antibiotics.
Fast forward to 2011, GM's stroke and subsequent early retirement package, together with a problematic neighbour and a distinct disillusionment with the amount of traffic and new building in the area, we made the decision to move again, and so (to cut an 11 month story very short) 2012 found us where we are now, in Warminster. Still taking the capsules and still coughing, I made another trip to the doctor, a hospital xray showed up that, yes, I did have a hiatus hernia and that was the end of it, as treatment required major surgery - which is no longer advisable, according to NHS.
Over the following three years I just continued to take the capsules to neutralize the stomach acid, cough mixture whenever the cough was too uncomfortable, and continued to suffer the occasional bouts of cystitis followed by yet more antibiotics. Roughly 18 months ago a family situation occurred over which GM and I had different reactions and opinions, and I'm sad to say that consequently our relationship suffered a bit of a hit. Not only that but the health of my elderly mother deteriorated and I think I was probably extremely run down. At about the same time the cystitis was occurring on a monthly basis, which was also making me feel unwell. My doctor decided that it would be a good idea for me to see a urologist, who suggested that an internal examination of my bladder was the next move - this happened in January of this year, followed by a three month course of prophylactic antibiotics.
What a relief, three whole months free of urine infection, and what a difference it made to my overall outlook on life. GM and I worked hard on our relationship and things seemed to be going well. Fast forward to late spring/early summer, the three month course complete and then, out of the blue, an unwelcome return of monthly bouts of cystitis, the last of which, in late summer, turned out to be the one when the antibiotics were no longer strong enough to clear it. My GP suggested that the next step would be an inspection of my kidneys.
Back down to a very low ebb, I made the decision to change my diet in order to build my strength to fight off the infections on my own. I didn't turn completely vegetarian or completely organic, but got as close as I could within the confines of our family budget. I also had a few sessions in the hyperbaric oxygen tank at the MS Therapy Centre where I help out once a week, and treated myself to a rather expensive kinesiology session - this was, at long last, a turning point for me. The kinesiologist told me that I was overwhelmed (which I sort of knew anyway) and also that my body was reacting against wheat and rye, and therefore I should avoid these food items as best I could - they have now all but been eliminated from my diet. After a chat - about having my kidneys investigated - with the oxygen administrator at the therapy centre, she suggested that I should also have a session of reflexology, as that might help show up any internal problem, so I took her advice and booked a session. The reflexology session was not only wonderfully relaxing, but also suggested that if I had a problem it was more likely in my stomach than my kidneys, and the reflexologist asked if I was interested in finding out about food fermenting and probiotics to redress the balance of acidity in my system.
LIGHTBULB MOMENT!!!!!!! All this time I have been taking capsules to neutralize stomach acid. What my system needs to help evacuate waste and toxins is stomach acid - so all this time I have been taking medication that has helped marginally to relieve one symptom, but has had devastating side effects on the balance of my body overall.
Without further ado I stopped taking the capsules completely. For the first week or so, as my body adjusted, I was very weak and teary, but my strength has gradually grown, I have been taking probiotics, my system has gradually built up its own immunity, and for the past month not only have I had no cystitis symptoms but I am feeling better in myself than I have done for years!
Except that I still seem to have a bit of a cough, so I think I'll just have to top up on the old cough mixture and avoid lager, cheese and wholegrain bread!
p.s. Just for the record, the family situation has sorted itself, GM and I have made our peace, my mum's health has stabilised and everything seems, at the moment, to be on an even keel.
2017? Bring it on.