So last week I started oral antibiotics again (minocycline and bactrim combo) and I felt better within two days. In fact, I responded more quickly to the drugs than I ever have before, which to me seems like another indication that my diet has removed some blockages to the small intestine's uptake of nutrients, or in this case drugs. Plus, it is the first time I've been on antibiotics in 4 months! That is the longest time I've been antibiotic-free in years! So, I can pat myself on the back for that at least. I made it a long time, and it was only my family's visit that triggered my decline. Well, I'll never know that for sure, but it sure was stressful and I have proven to myself over and over and over again that my body is VERY sensitive to stress.
Actually, stress is a huge trigger for inflammation and infection in all CFers, so a big part of every CFer's medical regime must be de-stressing time. When my family was visiting, my de-stressing regime was disrupted, and I was not able to do my daily hikes in the woods or silent contemplations. These things are more important to my health than I realized! For me personally, I must live a mostly silent, solitary life in order to conserve my energy for healing. It's important that all of us reflect on this regularly - am I spending enough quiet time with myself? Have I set aside time to clear out the mental debris today? How much energy am I expending on other people or other physical phenomena? For CFers, these are important questions to be asking ourselves.
One of the clearest tools of communication my body uses to give me strong messages is coughing up blood. If I'm not listening to my body, if I am not regularly clearing mental debris, if I am not hiking or reflecting enough, if I am expending too much energy on external things, my body lets me know (in an unavoidably loud voice) that I need to stop what I'm doing and look inward. When my family was here, I was too distracted, and so I could rarely stop and reflect. I felt the consequences by coughing up blood almost every night for a week until they left. I started antibiotics and began my reflection regime again, and haven't coughed up blood since. Sure, the antibiotics have helped reduce inflammation, which may have led to the hemoptysis, but I've had big bouts of hemoptysis on antibiotics before. It seems to have much more to do with my spiritual/mental state than what drugs I'm on or not on. I've tracked this trend in my health log, just to make sure. I am an empiricist, after all.