This follow-up to my last post is about two weeks overdue, but that strep throat knocked me down pretty bad and I’m still fighting to get my energy back.
For those that haven’t been following, I got strep throat two weeks ago (throat started hurting two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was tested that Friday and found out Saturday that it was strep). It was ironic because I had just shared how we kept healthy all winter (I knew I jinxed myself as I was writing that post!). Though I know there are some risks to not treating strep, I had done some research and learned it was rare for strep to develop into rheumatic fever. I even read that strep throat often will resolve itself within 3-7 days. But I wasn’t going to leave it UNtreated…I planned to tackle it naturally. I encountered some resistance when I shared that on Facebook, and as is the case when I try to go against the grain and the majority of mainstream medical thinking, my confidence wavered a bit. But the longer I’m on this natural journey, the more my confidence and thick skin grows, and I wasn’t going to let other people push me into choices about medical care for me or my family.
I was educated about the risks. I am great at listening to my body. If things got worse or didn’t get better, I was prepared to fill the prescription for antibiotics that my doctor had called in, and in the end that’s how it turned out this time.
Saturday, March 11
I began immediately supporting my body that Saturday morning with a host of natural remedies. I tried to drink Thieves tea (hot water, apple cider vinegar, a drop of Thieves and a drop of Lemon essential oils, and raw honey) daily. I rolled a combination of Thieves, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary oils over my throat and glands every 30-60 minutes. I applied my DIY chest rub to support my respiratory health (had congestion and an occasional minor cough). I diffused oils. A bad headache was one of my biggest complaints, and to support my body through that I rolled Rosemary and Deep Relief on the back of my neck.
The one thing that seemed to help the most against this stubborn bacteria, however, was garlic. I read that garlic is a natural antibiotic and began adding a raw clove to a green smoothie (not my favorite but also not as bad as I expected) and added some into chicken broth with chopped up fresh veggies for my lunch. I also made GOOT (learn more about that here) and applied that to my feet each day. By afternoon on Saturday I felt great! The sore throat was still there but barely, but I had energy and felt well enough to do some light housework (picking up, doing laundry, etc.). Considering that Friday night and Saturday morning had been the worst thus far, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sunday, March 12
I felt well into Sunday, too. So well, in fact, that I backed off of some of my remedies (which is where I think I failed). To attack bacteria you have to keep at it, even with prescription antibiotics, for a week or so to make sure it’s gone. But my throat was hardly hurting, though I still had the headache, and therefore my “reminder” to stay on top of everything was gone. Besides that, I was already getting sick of the overwhelmingly strong garlic smell. I didn’t apply oils as often, I didn’t drink Thieves tea that day, and I wasn’t as aggressive with the garlic. I also failed to nap after lunch, which I think my body needed, and by late afternoon I was getting very sleepy but couldn’t fall asleep. I felt that way all evening and then really struggled to sleep that night. In fact I bet I didn’t get even a few hours of sleep all night.
Monday, March 13
Faith started complaining of a sore throat and stomach ache Sunday night, so I knew she was heading down the same road. I kept her home from school Monday, but questioned if I’d jumped the gun because she seemed pretty good overall that day. Since I was unable to sleep Sunday night (and had a fever again that night), I didn’t feel great Monday. My throat felt fine, but I had no energy (though I think that would be the case even if I was well and didn’t sleep all night!). The congestion/runny nose had gotten worse into Sunday night and Monday as well. I amped things up with the garlic and added in elderberry/echinachea tea in addition to Thieves tea. I also managed to find enough energy to make Mom’s homemade vanilla pudding…a favorite growing up when we were sick. 😉
Tuesday, March 14
Faith was worse Tuesday, near tears with the headache (I’m tellin’ ya that was one of the worst parts!). Because she has a gaping hole in one ear as a side effect of having tubes (long story…will be repaired but doctor wants to hold off), I didn’t feel the risk of the strep traveling to her ears was worth attempting to avoid antibiotics with her, so I did call the doctor and get her started on them that day.
I felt better again after hitting the natural remedies hard on Monday and getting a better (but still not great) night of sleep Monday night. Unfortunately, I again slacked on doing everything which led to another regression on Wednesday…
Wednesday, March 15
Each night I slept a little better, but Wednesday I woke feeling crappy again. I’d slacked on my remedies Tuesday and again I paid for it. Only this time I not only had less energy, but my sore throat had come back with a vengeance. While I didn’t want to be influenced about my health care choices by outside influences, I did need to get back to work and I needed to get better. As much as I hated to do it, I finally filled my antibiotic prescription. Though probiotics don’t completely counteract the damage antibiotics do, I tried to bump up my intake of Life 9, the Young Living probiotic supplement that I take. I had recently heard (I think in the Eat Dirt book) that you have to space out the timing when taking a probiotic and an antibiotic, so that complicated things a bit and led to me sometimes forgetting.
It’s now a couple weeks later that I’m finally getting to finish this post, and the details of the subsequent days aren’t as fresh in my memory. I do know that it took almost two days before I felt better. Because I was taking antibiotics I really pulled back on the natural remedies, which was dumb. I ate what sounded good or what was around the house when I was sick, so after a few days my diet when downhill and that has continued with busy schedules and no time (or energy) to shop and cook. My weight, which had gone down a few pounds while I was sick, has come back up, and my skin is showing signs of inflammation. Prior to all this it was looking pretty good. I’m sure the antibiotics didn’t help, but diet certainly takes a toll on skin for me.
My energy hasn’t seemed to return yet since I’ve been sick, but it has been continually cloudy here for days and weeks, and I’ve learned that I need my vitamin D! Unhealthy eating doesn’t help energy either!
Anyway, I digress. The point of this post was to say that despite my best intentions, I wound up surrendering to the antibiotics. I wasn’t happy about it, and I still feel like I could have beat strep naturally if I’d been more aggressive with what I was doing naturally. Regardless, my thoughts on the matter are this: Do your research, make the choices you feel are best for your family. Trust your gut, but know your limits. Antibiotics are not great for us, but they do serve a purpose. Just don’t run to the doctor for them with every illness…save them for the more serious stuff. Let your body do what it’s made to do. Trust that God gave us what we need to get well and be well. And understand that our bodies have been compromised by years of poor human choices and interventions. It’s overwhelming and crazy, but in the end it’s your body and your family.
Since being sick, I have managed to get spring/Easter decorations up but have to finish decorating the shelf in my living room. I have also streamlined our smoothie making, and am working on a monthly meal plan! I hope to share at least some of these later this week!