Below is a discussion started by the partner of one of our members who was deeply committed to her healing and was struggling to rebalance her health and her highly impacted intimate relationship. He read here of a marriage that was lost as a result of this illness and was moved to try to share some of how his marriage had been both challenged and enriched by his wife's illness. I've edited it very slightly for context and space but I took great care to sustain his most poetic and wise tone.
I hope you enjoy his caring sharing and that it may inspire you and/or your family members in a way that eases this time for you.
From: Happy Dways
My wife has been on a diet fighting candida for the past few months and she's put a great deal of effort into it.
I have a couple of questions:
What can I do to help her?
Also, I have read some posts where people talk about candida as a living thing, like it "thinks" and operate with intentions, a will, etc. Can anyone comment on that?
Hi Happy, You are doing so much for your wife just by coming to this site!!! Thank you for caring so much and for modeling such caring support. She’s a lucky woman to be with a thoughtful man who is interested in what is happening with her.
I know that this illness presents challenges for spouses and families too. It's a difficult illness to understand since so much of the healing approach is detective work focused at lifestyle and diet choices.
The broad range of symptoms involv3ed requires methodically careful observation to decipher causes for. This observation is essential to deciding upon the required modifications that will ease the strain on reactive digestive and immune systems. Unfortunately, a complete understanding of every symptom is not always possible.
As the partner, you hear her thinking out loud as she tries to figure things out. It can be easy to find yourself skeptical. It takes courage and deep respect to offer her your open-minded support and the generosity of your deepest listening.
So many of the symptoms are close to invisible to outsiders and the others vary so widely. Often both patients and their families are perplexed about how to manage.
One of the most supportive things you can do for her is to share this exploration with her to help her feel less overwhelmed. If you can help her with the demanding task of ongoing health research and act as a sounding board for her, you can eliminate one of the biggest stressors of this illness, the isolation.
She has a lot of 'detective work' to do to sort out which components of her health require priority support and which foods and natural medicines will help her accomplish the fastest recovery.
As you know by now, candida related complex can involve confusingly extreme immune sensitivity and discombobulating and unpredictable physical and emotional reactions that seem to be "all over the place."
Hormone imbalances can develop or be worsened. As a result tears can be much closer to the surface as is rage but, if caused by yeast overgrowth, this is merely a temporary biochemical imbalance that will resolve as the bodies innate health is recovered.
The toughest place to try to heal from is the very lonely place where most people with candida are forced to look for a giant dose of their own strength to carry them as they may be suffering from emotional distance with those usually closest to them. In these situations those closest to us can end up hurting us deeply just by not trying to understand.
The emotional stress caused by this alienation, combined with brain fog and then to top it all off, the terrible physical symptoms that often go unrecognized by health practitioners, it can be very hard to maintain the required, organized approach to deciphering symptoms and cures. Mental anguish and fear are significant problems in the candida experience.
It is additionally alienating to experience life and food so completely differently from everyone else due to allergies and therapeutic diet restrictions. The little known nature of CRC can leave us with few sources of professional help to turn to verify our certainty about our chosen approach. It is also a highly controversial category of therapy since there are so many different candida diets and different candida product protocols. For most people there are many decisions to be made and a great deal of learning to do.
Overcoming the combined challenges of illness, diet change, healthy lifestyle education, AND the criticism and ignorance of those around us is indeed a difficult struggle.
Though not everyone here could related to the position your wife is in, having your support, I would imagine almost every member of this forum would agree with the comfort possible from having a loved one truly join in their healing as a whole-hearted partner in the project. Really Happy Dways, your objectiveness can help her immensely with the big challenges in this process while your supportive understanding will speed her healing in other ways.
As for the way some people speak about the candida having a personality, I suppose it is common to refer to it this way. Though it's an unusual though, it may be helpful by helping form separation between the needs of the candida from the needs of the person.
In order to maintain objectivity about the emotional instability and the food cravings caused by the candida and its neuro-toxic chemical byproducts, some people find it helps to use language that remind them of the yeast as an opponent in the struggle so they don't wholly blame themselves.
Without this separation, the focus turns to one's own body as the opponent. The negative implications of this are definitely antagonistic to healing. However, some people, myself included, prefer to think of the yeast as part of an essential ecosystem within the body that has become imbalanced. Since the yeast is indigenous to the human body, it is just the overgrowth that is a problem.
In the case of CRC, the yeast is in higher populations and the populations of beneficial microorganisms that normally keep it at bay are diminished. Rather than focus on a thought that resonates as "the enemy within", I think of the correction of body balance similarly to how I think about restoring balance to the garden soil or the conditions inside the compost bin. In both cases, certain nutrients need to be provided and certain nutrients reduced in order to support the needed balance of microorganisms.
All of the related stressors point to the need for the same thing- support like the support you are offering her. Steadfastness with your support for your wife, will help her more than I can say. And have hope, as our moderators and many of our past members can contest to, candida can be beaten.
From Happy Dways:
Hi there. To all partners out there who don't know what to make of their spouse's condition. Thank you for taking some time to read this. This forum is a place where many people afflicted with candida find life-changing support and resources. From one partner of a spouse with CRC to another, please....I have a few things I'd like to suggest that may help you if you are vexed by this situation.
First of all, please take some time to read some of the stories here...the hard stories and the success stories. But more importantly, please take time to listen to what your partner has to say. While she is in recovery, whe will change, and it's going to seem like another form of PMS at times, and it can make you forget that she's still in there somewhere. She is still in there and she is fighting a daily battle against something that has overpowered her body and normal body and hormonal chemistry and has forced major changes on her.
It is not easy for anyone. Period. It's not about us losing something, but about us walking with her "in sickness and in health". Because much of the medical community is not too keen on seeing candida and diagnosing it, because drugs don't work that well with it (side effects not worth the trouble, and not so effective as a full treatment and changing eating habits), it does not mean your wife is doing it wrong.
If our partners could choose their illness, I dare say they would choose something else! But they HAVE chosen us as spouses. Life is hard and complicated at times, so we need to give up a few things too in order to help our loved one. Our lifestyle can change to accommodate their healing. It's not the end of the world. It's about give and take. Little changes can seem big after years of routine living, but they truly aren't... The battle I SEE my wife doing is just the tip of the iceberg.
She fights things in a deeper way than I could ever be aware of. And it often touches her own value as a person, feeling helpless and a burden, depression, fatigue, having to run uphill the deluge of temptations to give up and feed what's destroying her body, damaged self-worth, guilt regarding the money issue because she has to buy fresh food and often to keep it fresh and it costs more money, lack of energy for stuff beside catering to the diet.
I hope and pray that all partners out there will join together with their loved ones and help out as best they can. Support is 50% of recovery. Any former substance abuser or person dealing with addiction will tell you that much. The prospect of losing us is not an illusion for these women, it's a real fear, and for some, SADLY, it has already happened.
Men especially, I have to speak my mind: if you can't handle it, find help to sort through the issues you are facing too. Because candida wants more than your wife's body. Fights over this whole treatment season might very well happen. But reconciliation is a key. Look at it this way: this is a condition that is just starting to be recognized by a portion of the medical community. Many doctors don't even have a clue and blame the condition on something THEY know, which invariably demands medication, sometimes with weird and damaging side-effects. Do you want your wife to be a guinea pig for their ignorance?
Would you want your car fixed by a guy who doesn't really hear the noise you heard but still makes repairs around it to "try" to fix it? And you have to leave the car there, wait a few days, pay the money and get the car back with the problem showing up again. How many times would you go through that? All I'm saying is this is serious stuff.
Unless we support our spouses through the process, candida will take over in more ways than one. It is NOT only her fight, it's a family fight. Would we get rid of our kid because he or she is dealing with epilepsy or asthma, or is strongly allergic to some foods or animal hair? Our wives need us. We have to build them up as they are forced to make changes in their diet and lifestyles. That's what love is about. That's what life is about: becoming better people. Trials do that to people: they break you, and call for reconstruction. Many things in life force us on the path to change. This is one of them. And my wife has gone through the cycles of denial, refusal, anger, rebellion, changes, cheating, coming back, acceptance, etc. It has challenged her.
My wife is a great person who's value is shown full blown in how she's handling herself in this trial. And I hope I am joining her in becoming a better person. Just remember that love is the key.
Next message from Happy Dways:
Thank-you Dear fellow sojourners, Thank you for your kind words. I have learned so much from those trials that I don't know if I shouldn't "bless" them... Lately has been another rough season for us and although there has been some set-backs, we were finally able to place them in the light of lessons. They have helped anchor my wife's resolves and actually given her body the experience of the goodness of proper treatment and proper dieting. Not easy. But now she knows what she wants and why.
Grace and mercy toward oneself, coupled with discipline and her faith, has helped her soar as never before. Of course, it takes little things at times and she's back in momentary despair and the die-off takes its toll. But all in all, she proves the diet right for her right now. I'm stumbling all over at times and don't "get it" quick enough where she's at that, and it takes some good working through conversations and soul-searching, but I am learning to see this as what loves requires. And it helps greatly in those rough times.
Love, always come back to love. Give each day a chance to be the one that will bring the miracle. For much is stored in the body that we know nothing of. And being sick sometimes is but a symptom of a deeper wound. I had a vision of her and could see her wounds, and she was hiding them, in shame. And I, was gently trying to tell her, I needed to have access to her wounds so I could softly kiss them, and tell her that these were also who she is, and that I needed to embrace that part of her as well.
Shame should have no room... The natural speaks of the spiritual, and I think the purge of toxic stuff in the body can often be accompanied by acting out of buried emotions, unresolved traumas, etc. If this is the way life has arranged for these things to surface, I think we should pay attention to the body as well as beyond it. There might be issues of bitterness and unforgiveness, anger to be released. That's why it is so important that partners stick together through this season.
It could prove to be very rewarding in the long run. Not easy of course, and I know it first hand. But when I become participant of my wife's healing, I also benefit from it in many ways. Because, I too need to face up to some issues of the heart and soul that are unresolved...
What love requires...
What vows have spawned
Lift us higher
Where trials are crowns.
Between us both the deepest bond will be assailed
Between us both we'll stand stronger
And will prevail.
May you all receive blessings upon blessings today, and may healing wash over you all with waves of race...