Suddenly well again…Two and a half years of a miserable condition now resolved…

Wildebeests, zebras, and impala in Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Check out the wear and tear on this old elephant’s right ear.

Early posting today.  We’re off to Kruger again to see our friends with a more pinned-down plan for where to meet in Lower Sabie.  We’ll be back tomorrow with more new and hopefully exciting photos.

You’ve read repeatedly regarding my awful gastrointestinal issues, which began in Fiji in 2015 after eating octopus at the five-star resort on Christmas Day, the only scenario to which we could attribute the illness that has lingered over the past two and a half years.

Oh no, it didn’t keep us from continuing in our world travels and in enjoying doing so, as illustrated in the past hundreds of posts we’ve uploaded since the onset. 

Wildebeest and zebras.

I’d decided at the time that as long as I could function in our day-to-day lives, nothing was going to “keep me down.” Never once did we cancel or change any travel or social plans we’d made during this extended period. Never once did I have a single day free of pain or discomfort in these past two and a half years.

While living in Tasmania, a year after the symptoms began, I visited three doctors based on areas we were living during our three months on the island. Only one doctor did a blood test, after which I was diagnosed with Helicobactor Pylori and prescribed two rounds of two potent antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).

Elephant on the side of the tar road.

Once the infection was resolved, as was typical, I developed ulcers and suffered from severe gastritis, which continued on and on. To make a “long story short,” only months ago, the ulcers seemed to be gone, and I stopped all medications only to begin going through a form of withdrawal from PPIs, which reduces acid in the stomach. It wasn’t easy stopping the PPIs due to an “acid-rebound effect,” which lasted for three weeks, after which I felt a little better.

This elephant was nestled in the dry bush.

Now and then, I’ve mentioned my condition here in our continued desire to be transparent in the realities of world travel, living without a base, without a home, condo, or apartment (or storage) anywhere in the world and, without a doctor with whom we’d established a history of care and treatment.

Of course, some days were worse than others, as is often the case with a chronic condition. I’d come to a place where I resigned myself to accepting this would be my lot in life…constant distress, inability to eat normal portions of food, feeling hungry, and needing to eat something every few hours, which only exacerbated the symptoms. 

Sitting down for a break.

Not used to eating so often, I gained 7.7kg (17 pounds) over these past few years.  My clothing was no longer fitting comfortably, a disaster based on our limited wardrobes.  It wasn’t as simple as going to a shopping mall and replacing all of my clothing.  I was hoping something would change.

Based on my way of eating, I found myself frequently snacking on cheese several times a day and just not getting any better. A few months ago, I stopped eating salads. They seemed to make it worse. A year ago, I gave up coffee and cream.

Two elephants grazing.

Why wasn’t I getting better?  I was determined not to have to go through a battery of invasive medical tests, only to be told what I already knew. Sure, at times, I worried I had a life-threatening issue and would end up in an emergency room somewhere in the world. This was a frightening thought that I tried to dismiss when it cluttered my mind at the worst of times, on the worst of days.

Visitors to the park must remain diligent, staying far back to avoid a confrontation.

Two and a half weeks ago, everything changed in one day. I decided to avoid eating cheese when the hunger pangs came instead of eating boiled eggs and cooked vegetables. I didn’t have a salad that night with dinner. Instead, I had steak on the grill and cooked green beans. 

The next morning upon awakening, something was different. I couldn’t pinpoint it until a few hours later when I realized. IT WAS DAIRY! I hadn’t eaten anything with dairy in 24 hours, and I felt so much better. 

We noticed a patch of hide missing from the neck of this giraffe.  See the close-up below of this injury.

Since that time, I haven’t had one iota of lactose (dairy products). It wasn’t the salad that bothered me. It was the dairy in the homemade salad dressing. It was the cheese I continued to eat daily in an attempt to ease the gnawing discomfort, which only made it worse. 

It was the cream in my coffee I’d given up so long ago, not the coffee. And, it goes on and on.  I ate a lot of dairy to compensate for the lack of sugar and starch in my diet. Before I realized this, I decided to see if eating unsweetened Greek yogurt would help, but I was only worse the next day. Now I get it.

This injury could result from a confrontation with another giraffe during this mating season when they may engage in “necking,” a fight for dominance using their weighty and dangerous necks.

I’m a new person. For over two weeks, I haven’t consumed one morsel of dairy, and I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. As more time marches on, I’ll continue to heal the damage done to my gut by entirely avoiding all dairy products.

Yes, my diet is now limited to animal products (no chemicals) and non-starchy vegetables. I don’t care. I’ve lost 2.7 kg (6 pounds) in the past two weeks and surely will lose the remaining weight easily in the next few months. 

Elephant family crossing the road.  Note that tusk of the largest (which could be the matriarch) on the baby’s back to keep it safe and on track.

Mainly, I’m eating chicken breasts and frozen wild-caught fish (no fresh fish is available nearby), a wide array of cooked vegetables as often as I’m hungry. I’ve been able to enjoy a few glasses of red wine as a special treat when we’re socializing and dining out. 

Perhaps in time, I’ll get more creative. But, for now, I want to feel well and fit back into my clothes. The bloating and pain I suffered day after day is gone, gone, gone.

Tom, of course, isn’t eating the same foods I’m eating. As a result, I’m making two separate meals each evening. But, I don’t mind at all. He’s not big on plates of roasted vegetables with a chicken breast or piece of fish, nor do I expect him to eat like me.

This family wanders off into the bush while other family members after a short distance behind them.

I’m so happy to be better. I don’t care about food. Once I return to my former weight, I’ll up the amounts of chicken, fish (occasionally pork and beef), and veggies I consume to maintain my weight and stay healthy. It’s a no-brainer for me. 

Thanks to all of our readers who’ve gone through this with me.  I’ve always felt badly mentioning health issues.  We all want to “appear” strong, healthy, and fit. But, as we age, the reality is, we may no longer be able to “pretend” all is well with our health. 

If anything, perhaps dealing with this issue here has helped or will help even one reader who’s attempting to figure out solutions for their health. 

Note: The information provided here today is not intended as medical advice nor do we profess to have any medical knowledge or expertise.  Please see your medical professionals for assistance.

Photo from one year ago today, June 13, 2017:

My chopped salad with a side of Mexican season shredded beef. In Minnesota, in 10 months, we can still go to this favorite restaurant, but I’ll leave off the sour cream and cheese and have lettuce, meat, salsa, and guacamole.  Sounds acceptable to me. For more photos, please click here.

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