It will get worse before it gets better.
I have heard that phrase now from two of my doctors. Boy, have they been right about the “get worse” part as I find myself knee deep in the “worse” and struggling to function; I really hope they are right about the “it gets better” part too.
Both doctors are using treatments where one of the side effects is the release of toxins throughout my body. Toxins are basically poison, like snake venom, that can build up in the tissues of our bodies. They can be introduced into our cells through our environment by anything from cigarette smoke to automobile fumes and even the pesticides and chemicals in our food.
It is important for our health that toxins do not remain in the body.
Thankfully, our bodies were created to handle a certain amount of these poisons by the function of the colon and liver; however, many times those organs become inadequate to remove the enormous amounts of toxins being ingested in a society full of chemicals.
My problem, like so many others, was that I really never, before this sickness entered my life, chose a lifestyle that would aid my body in the prevention and removal of these toxins. Instead I had developed some bad habits that actually increased them.
The consequences have now caught up with me.
One of the issues that my doctor believes is causing many of my debilitating symptoms is called Candida. Basically, it is a yeast that can cause a fungal infection throughout the body. We all have this yeast in varying amounts but if there is an overgrowth and it is left untreated, Candida will compromise the immune system which, as in my case, leads to disease. The treatment for this problem involves diet changes to avoid the sugars and starches that feed the yeast and then taking specific supplements that will kill the fungal growth.
As this killing process begins I am finding that this yeast tries to fight back.
It is called “Candida die off”; also known as the Herxheimer response, it occurs when an anti-fungal is taken and the yeast is killed off too quickly overwhelming the body with toxins. This can cause chaos; worsening of all the symptoms that are trying to be relieved. As die off began to happen to me this week and caused me to feel like I am losing some ground in my struggle for good health, I was reminded of an another area of my life where I struggle to improve.
I see another type of “yeast” in my life that doesn’t want to die.
In Matthew 16 I read where Jesus strongly warns his disciples about what He calls the “yeast of the Pharisees”. Instead of saying words like “wrong,” “false” or “selfish,” Jesus specifically uses the word “yeast” to describe spiritually harmful actions and attitudes that spread, affecting every area of our lives.
It is important to my spiritual health that this kind of yeast does not remain in my life.
I must take Jesus’ warning personally as I have not always chosen to live a lifestyle that has aided my spiritual life in the prevention and removal of the “yeast” He spoke about.
The consequences of those choices have also caught up with me.
I felt a strong desire to deal with those consequences over the last several years as I have gained the longing, as stated by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 2, to let Christ live through me fully by faith. I have a renewed call from God to give Him all of me. There is a quote from C.S. Lewis that states:
“Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.
If I want God to have all of me I must allow Him to kill the disease of self pride and self satisfaction so that His will and ways are the force of my life; there needs to be a renewed understanding of the crucifixion of my self-will.
However, the dying process of this Candida of the soul is also very difficult.
Though I have begun the process of dealing with this type of “yeast” by changing what I “feed” it and by supplementing my life with more spiritual disciplines, my flesh is having a Herxheimer response and releasing toxins of doubt and discouragement.
Interestingly, as I have researched how to deal with the Candida die off symptoms I have found there are similarities to how I can handle my souls response to dying to self.
The first advice is to drink more water.
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word… Ephesians 5:26
As physical water flushes out the toxins in the body and aids our body in healing, the Word of God cleanses us from bad attitudes, lies and wrong beliefs then heals our souls. I must ingest even more of the Bible daily for these benefits.
Next advice was to spend time soaking.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
As soaking in a bathtub or sauna will draw the toxins out of the body, spending time in God’s presence draws out the cares of this world. I must make it a practice to “soak” in His presence by giving God all my attention, as a habit. He then continues to cleanse me of all that is hindering our relationship.
Lastly, the advice to get more rest.
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him… Psalm 37:7
Just as stress is one of the bodies worst enemies, worry and anxiety are the enemies of the soul. As rest allows the bodies own immune system to fight at destroying the Candida overgrowth, it is also true that resting in the Lord allows Him to do the fighting for us; the stillness of my heart will cause my soul to be fully His.
This is the advice I will choose to follow both physically and spiritually. I believe that, as I do, I will see that the Doctors and God are right.
It may seem worse for a while, but it gets better!