I visited Dr. Penn (hematologist) last week, and she said that my neutrophil count was now normal. That means three huge things: 1) I can eat fresh foods like fruit and salads, 2) I can eat live foods like probiotics and sushi, 3) I can eat out (like at restaurants). This is a big deal, as you can imagine, and I'm very excited about it.
My new priority has shifted from ensuring extremely high levels of sanitation to building a strong, healthy gut microbiome (small intestinal bacterial population). I will start by consuming plenty of the right kinds of probiotics. Anyone who knows me knows that I've been an extremely healthy eater for the last year and a half. An extreme change in diet doesn't usually happen to a person unless there's some real motivation behind it. Mine has obviously been my medical condition (MS) and the symptoms, including extreme pain. A person with chronic pain would eat frog slime if that's what he thought was going to alleviate it.
In the process of changing my diet, I also lost about 40 pounds. I was working hard on my gut dysbiosis until my HSCT chemo, which wiped out my immune system. This required me to stop eating probiotics for about 3.5 months. So now the brakes are off, and my new quest is on.
My first attempt to solve the apparent leaky guy problem that I likely have (many doctors say you can't have MS without having a leaky gut; see my article on gut and diet) is by reestablishing my diet to include healthy probiotic foods and supplements. The photo above shows some probiotic foods I found in a health food store. I was also directed to try IntestiNEW, a supplement recommended by someone in the Life After HSCT online support group. BTW, if you've had HSCT, and you're not already in that private, closed Facebook group, you need to join it right now; as I told one of my blog "fans" who was not on Facebook, that is a good enough reason alone to join.
I'm also going to add back the Bio K+ that I had been taking as a recommendation from a fellow MSer.
In the coming days or weeks, I'm going to seek out a gastroenterologist to have my gut tested. Should I be unable to correct any deficiencies by diet and supplements alone, I'm going to consider an FMT (fecal microbiome transplant). A wholly unappealing topic of discussion among most, this process has been known to work wonders with a person's overall health. As one MD put it, "a healthy gut microbiome is a healthy person."