Any use of the letters GAPS on this website are used solely as an acronym for Gut and Psychology Syndrome

An Inspirational Story

Dear Friends!

As you may recall, I am collecting stories for the new GAPS Stories Book (the original announcement is repeated after the story). The stories keep coming, and a few days ago this story was emailed to me by a person, whom I never met. I am going to share it with you in this blog.

I would like to thank all the GAPS people, who already sent me their wonderful stories of struggle and recovery! Your stories will make a big difference for many people out there, who are trying to regain their health.

Best wishes,

Dr Natasha

It all started about 4 years ago. I was a healthy 30 year-old with a good life, I was fit and enjoyed activities like Capoeira. Initially I felt mild weakness in my muscles and felt my wit was diminished, then diarrhoea developed, and a month later I developed very intense peripheral neuropathy (PN) with intermittent fever-like symptoms. I couldn't sleep, and it felt like being swarmed by bees that were stinging constantly. I went to hospital that night and they sent me back home, as there was nothing they could do. The next day I saw my GP who diagnosed me with Alcoholic Neuropathy (symptoms initially began after drinking alcohol). I abstained and was given a course of Thiamine, which after about a week did improve my symptoms dramatically. The PN symptoms gradually improved over the next 12 months, and I begun to feel a lot less anxious, but over time new symptoms began to appear and the diarrhoea persisted continually. I always felt the symptoms were linked, and begun to anecdotally notice that sugar would makes the peripheral neuropathy a little worse, but I was told by a doctor it was probably coincidence and that I just had IBS from stress.

Then, one day about 18 months ago, the peripheral neuropathy symptoms came back intensely. I wracked my brains as to what it could be. I didn't drink any more alcohol, I was taking 150mg of thiamine each day, so what could it be? And I suddenly realised: I had got back in to the gym and had been consuming daily protein powders full of 'complex carbs' that were basically sugar. I returned to my doctor and we thought maybe it was diabetes, and after tests I found out I definitely wasn't diabetic. Over the next two years I began to experience worsening and new symptoms: fatigue, foggy confusion, very sore joints, sleep apnoea, feeling like I was getting massive electric shocks just as I dropped off to sleep, extreme sensitivity to noise, dizziness, inability to remember cash at cash machines or what people had said a few minutes before, falling asleep in the day totally exhausted. I thought I was potentially very ill and no one had any idea what was wrong with me, and no one could even understand what it felt like. Most people wrote me off as a hypochondriac. I felt very, very alone and slowly slipped into depression.

So now I knew to stay away from sugar and the PN symptoms would remain manageable. It was an improvement, so I next focussed on the diarrhoea symptoms, which I felt must be connected in some way. Then one day while trying to choose a book on IBS from Amazon I found the light! A reviewer had said that IBS books were mostly a waste of time and any potential buyer should try the GAPS diet instead. I noted down the name of the diet and moved on.

As soon as I started reading the GAPS diet I felt a weight lift off me and I felt very confident I had finally found the cause of all my symptoms. Nothing had ever explained all my seemingly disparate symptoms any better than the GAPS diet. I knew at once this had a very high chance of success. So about 6 weeks ago I embarked on the diet.

Within these last 6 weeks my diarrhoea had dramatically improved, fatigue has improved dramatically and they remain the only mild symptoms left. I have now stopped taking thiamine, which would usually make the PN symptoms return within a couple of weeks, and so far I'm feeling only mild pins and needles. I can't believe that after 4 years I have finally solved these health problems and I can honestly say I owe my life to this diet, as there were times when I felt the poor quality of life made me feel that I didn't want to carry on much longer living this way and living in fear of what symptoms I would get next.

In hindsight after reading the GAPS diet book, I believe it's all rooted in the oxytetracycline I was given for (mild) acne in my youth about 15 years ago. I was too young to know then what effects it might have, but I would never take such a long course of antibiotics now.

Many thanks for all your work! I am now getting on with life again!

May 2011


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