Be Not Afraid
36" x 24"
I started out this year full of good, artistic intentions. Nothing was going to get in the way. I joined some online art marketing sites and purchased books to inspire my growth as an artist. But I wasn't “myself.” My asthma had gotten worse, and I was susceptible to viruses and infections. I didn't feel like working, and, if you are an artist, you know that it takes focused attention, and some physical labor, for your work to be successful.
I'm sharing this, not for sympathy, but to raise awareness and maybe help even one person who might be similarly afflicted. For the past two or so years I've struggled with a variety of ailments. It started with a tooth infection. After two root canals and multiple antibiotics, I asked my dentist to pull the tooth. It wasn't his fault my roots are so long that they almost reach to my brain. (That's a joke, but it did take two hours to remove the tooth.) Healing was slow, but I thought I would finally start to feel better.
I continued to have a variety of issues like sinus infections, sore joints, tiredness, and low-grade fevers. I was starting to wonder if I had cancer, lupus, fibromyalgia, or whatever. Well-meaning friends and family told me to stop working in oil paints. I wasn't as productive as I had been in the past, but I didn't believe that the paint was the issue. I have an industrial, barrel air cleaner going constantly in my studio, whether or not I'm painting, and it keeps the air very clean. I take vitamins and probiotics, exercise (probably not enough), and eat fairly healthy, avoiding fast food and limiting alcohol.
Recently I saw an allergy specialist because my asthma continued through the winter when, in the past, I've only had a seasonal form of it brought on by molds and some pollens. She told me I likely have an overgrowth of yeast ("candidiasis") in my system due to the antibiotics I had taken, which could bring on all of the symptoms I was experiencing. Plus, being allergic to molds, I was probably having an allergic reaction to the yeast in my body.
The solution? Avoid sugar, alcohol, vinegar, aged cheeses, breads made with yeast, mushrooms, dried fruit, etc… basically anything that is made with a fermented process, or promotes the growth of yeast. It isn't easy, but I'm trying, and I'm starting to get my energy back. Even though I thought I was doing everything right, I had to take it a step further. It's not easy to avoid all the things that make yeast flourish in the body, but I'm doing the best I can. There are medications that can be taken to speed up the process, but there is nothing like good old-fashioned, conscientious avoidance of what makes you ill.
Of course, my body had other ideas about this new-found health. My gallbladder, which was already known to be somewhat faulty, decided it didn't like my new, healthy regime. So on top of all the other things that I've cut out of my diet, I also removed red meat and fats. I'm not avoiding fats altogether, but cut way back. And, to my surprise, my gallbladder pain is starting to get better too!
If you are reading this, and suffering from similar issues, I encourage you to try modifying your diet. It won't be an overnight cure, but your body didn't get that way overnight either. I read that it can take 3-6 months to reverse the overgrowth of yeast in your system. On the positive side, I've lost weight and am feeling better. I'm back on track and more productive than ever! I have 5-6 paintings in the works at this time, and several more that were recently finished. I've been surrounding myself with angels!