From My Wife,
The importance of taking probiotics is highlighted by my experience of battling strep throat.
About 7 years ago, I started cycling one severe sore throat after another. Having had strep throat numerous times during my childhood, I wasn’t surprised to be diagnosed with it. There would be extreme throat pain, with fever and extreme fatigue, followed by a trip to the doctor with a prescription for antibiotics. The pain would go away and one to two weeks later, the cycle would repeat itself, except I’d be sent home with a different antibiotic.
Handed my 5th prescription (in a two month period of time) I refused to take any more antibiotics until the culture came back. It came back negative for bacterial infection.
My doctor referred me to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Now I know dealing with this isn’t the same as living with ALS or terminal cancer, but I was a young mother with two energetic toddlers and a business to help my husband run; and I wasn’t dealing with things very well. Extreme pain and fatigue will do that. So I went to the specialist, who charged me $125 to look at my throat and tell me, “Yeah, I can remove your tonsils…wait until you get insurance,” and then he sent me home.
I concluded that a tonsillectomy was not a pressing emergency for me; maybe it would help pay for the oral surgeon’s golf club membership (I like to help people, but not at the cost of my body parts).
Years later, I feel I should have asked my doctor to test me for mono, as I had it as a teenager with the same symptoms.
This was before most people used the Internet to research everything. Providentially, my husband went out to Durango, Colorado with some friends and met a massage therapist who told him about how his own grandson was hospitalized from strep and nearly died. He discovered probiotics and started sneaking some to his grandson in the hospital. The child made a dramatic recovery and the medical doctors were none the wiser. This MT begged my husband not to let them take out my tonsils. “They’re the body’s first line of defense,” he said, “they’re just overwhelmed and need some help.”
As soon as Doug could, he got to a phone and called me and told me to run to the health food store and get refrigerated acidophilus in liquid and pill form and ‘start dousing myself with it’. I took off to get them and along with taking copious amounts of garlic, Vitamin C, Echinacea and goldenseal (and let’s not forget ibuprofen for the pain!) the pain in my throat immediately lessened. In two days, it was completely gone.
Within less than a week the fatigue was gone as well. Never to return. Right? Wrong. Of course the symptoms returned. Because I got lazy. My tonsils would need constant help, nutritionally speaking. I quit taking the acidophilus and would ingest too much sugar and boom! Sore throat. I’d get off the sugar and go back on the acidophilus. Problem solved.
The next several years I kept this sick cycle up until last year when the same illness with the extreme sore throat and the extreme fatigue that lasted for months - and the normal acidophilus I took wasn’t helping. I was so weak, that a friend had to go to the health food store and pick up more probiotics for me and just happened to pick up Primal Defense by Garden of Life (least expensive retailer this week is house of nutrition but I buy it everywhere).
Not only do they have the probiotics, but it has Homeostatic Soil Organisms, the friendly enzymes that have been depleted from soil that the body needs to heal itself. Within a few hours of taking the first dose, the sore throat pain became bearable and within 24 hours, it was gone. Within a few days, I felt like a new person and months of ill health had vanished. So now I keep it in my cupboard at all times and it’s a part of my daily diet. I ‘up’ the dose if I’m fighting a bug or have been exposed to someone sick.
There are a few things I learned about this.
One thing is - that no matter how sincere the doctor is, I am the one who will live with the consequences of the doctor’s recommendations. They are not God and I can choose to not follow their instructions if I’m not confident in their assessment. The world will not stop spinning on its’ axis.
The other side of that is that puts the onus on me to do a lot of research! It won’t do well at all to be an ignorant, disagreeable patient. Also, approach problems from a nutritional standpoint; if you’re sick, there could be a nutrient you’re missing.
Finally, if you find something that works, stick with it.
I try to share this information with others, but I’m not obnoxious about it. I still know a lot of people who run themselves or their kids to the doctor to be stuffed with antibiotics at the sign of a sniffle. I share what I know but encourage people to do research for themselves.
After this experience, I have found to be open to suggestions from people who try to take a naturopathic approach to medicine.
- Lori Holland