Oh wow, time flies, doesn’t it? Can’t believe I didn’t check in since Day 14 of water! I am indeed alive, for anyone that might be wondering.
I completed my goal of 21 days of water only fasting. Let’s see…how can I describe this? It wasn’t painful. Toward the end, everything became much slower and simpler. Let’s say, austere, stripped down to the basics. I didn’t feel like talking very much, or reading, or even scanning the internet for post-fasting vegan salt-oil-sugar free recipes which I had begun to do about halfway in. (Can’t wait to make the vegan Thai panang curry now!) The days were long, although I can’t say boring. Perhaps laborious..tedious, in a slow motion, underwater kind of way.
My stomach started making lots of noises somewhere around Day 17, and on Day 21 itself, something like a deep sea alien life form was expelled from my bowels! Crazy, but something very foreign did come out, although there was no food in me at all. At no point did my vital signs show distress, nor did my blood work show any abnormality or dangers. If I had all the time in the world, I’m pretty sure I could have kept going. (Though, luckily, I do NOT have all the time in the world, so I didn’t have to make that decision:))
A new roommate came in to my apartment space around Day 19, so all he knew of me was the fasting Cheryl. About three days into the “re-feeding,” I was talking to him and he remarked, “You’re completely different than two days ago..your voice is different, your energy, you look different – bright and lively.” When he met me, I basically said, “Hi, I’m on Day 19…very nice to meet you, and just to let you know, you won’t be seeing much of me for a few days…” and then I pretty much disappeared into my room, and just drifted past him when I would go out to lay in the sun, or take a little walk. I couldn’t really even have a conversation with him. He’s on day 7 or so now, and has had a couple of those quiet days himself, so he understands, too.
I was surprised, and moderately devastated, to discover that the “re-feeding” process was not a piece of cake, in any way, shape or form. I mean, I knew I’d be juicing for the first two days, but I LOVE green juices usually, so that was fine with me…I couldn’t wait. When my deeply green cucumber-celery-parsley juice was delivered to me after completing 21 days, the first sip was heavenly: I could taste each individual flavor, creamy, salty crisp, tart. Yum. I envisioned it entering my cells and pulsing me with life force.
After about 5 slow sips taken over several minutes, my stomach started to protest: It felt like someone had dumped a bunch of laundry into a washing machine inside me and it was all just swishing and sloshing around..I felt seasick. I managed to drink the rest of it over a 2 hour period, but when the next one came at noon, I couldn’t drink more than half of it before the next delivery at 3: Ugh. Suddenly, my insides twisted and I raced to the bathroom and the worst thing that could’ve happened, did happen: I had a blow out diarrhea attack. Given that the main reason I undertook this crazy thing was to stop the horrible diarrhea I had from the parasite damage, this was a thoroughly depressing event. I went to bed and put myself under the covers.
My doctor, a wonderfully engaged man named Dr. Klaper, came in to see me around 3:30 and found me laying under my covers, despondent. I told him what had happened and he wasn’t at all concerned or surprised. He gave me this nice image of a car being put in the garage all winter, and in the spring you go to start it up and it sputters and spurts and makes all kinds of chugging and churning noises as it has to warm up again and get going. He said my digestive system was in the same situation, essentially didn’t have the job of digesting food for 21 plus days so everything is turned off and it needs time to get going again and balanced out. In addition, there can be some residual symptoms while it’s sorting itself out as any old toxins continue to release. He was so super positive and excited about my success with the fast and his knowledge trusting the process, that I was able to latch on to his attitude some and begin to pull myself up from sheer depression. What I also know, is that no matter what is going on with the body, if I bring a load of depression and negativity to the situation, it will only be counter-productive. I need to keep “rooting for” my tummy – you can do it!
I dragged myself out of the bed and walked out of the building grounds for the first time since I arrived. You cannot leave the facility at all when you are water fasting, for safety reasons. I walked around the neighborhood and felt better being outside and looking at people’s gardens and homes, the trees and sky. I decided my body has to figure things out on its own, to trust the process and just let go of my expectations of a perfect poop happening here and now.
Now I’m on Day 8 of “re-feeding.” I’ve graduated from the undrinkable green drink, to heavily steamed zuchini…to steamed soft vegetables…to steamed veggies with sprinklings of grain such as quinoa…to being able to partake in the rather delicious, changing menu of salt-oil-sugar free vegan foods that are offered three times a day. It took about 4 days to actually enjoy food again, which is so weird for me. I love food. I was hungry throughout most of the fast. But my taste buds were turned off and my body didn’t seem to feel nourished by eating. Finally these last couple of days, I can feel that strong energy is returning – I want to walk versus making myself walk; I have energy to talk again, to read, to engage in the fabulous lectures offered here. That feels good. No: That feels amazing!
My insides? Dr. Klaper says it will take another couple of weeks for things to really settle down, but he is still just as enthusiastic and excited about my intestinal tract as ever. I have to say that indeed, there is a noticeable, positive difference in the diarrhea department – I can’t say yet that it’s all resolved, but I can tell there’s a significant change. Things seem to be improving slowly, but without a doubt. I’ll take it. And most importantly, I can tell that nutrition from food is actually getting into me and this is also different than how it felt for the past three months or so since the invasion of the parasite.
I’m going home on Saturday. I can not wait. I have felt a deep sense of calm come over me in the last week, too. I’m naturally grounded instead of struggling to become grounded. I have a sense of peace and feel deeply relaxed. I’ve completely let go of worrying about my intestines, surrendering my body to do the work it knows how to do when given the right circumstances. I know when I get home, we are facing an enormous new chapter of figuring out jobs and next life moves. My intention is to bring the relaxed state of being home with me and to use the tools I have to remain as calm as possible as we greet the next chapter.
In the first weeks of being here, I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, been there, done that with the super healthy food lifestyle..I’ll be better about eating, but I’m not going to worry if I have a few exceptions here and there…it’s not that big of a deal…” but I have to admit in the state I’m in right now, I feel determined to remain very strict – for now – regarding staying on track with what seemed to be an extreme SOS-free (salt-oil-sugar) vegan diet. All of the lectures, discussions, experience, re-feeding now on this diet…I’m inspired to stick with it for now. That means no coffee, Cheryl…no sushi…not even a sprinkle of salt…no olive oil even on my healthy salad…for now, I’m going to consider that these things are off limits to me, and see how I feel over time. There are about 1000 challenges with that. And countless reasons to try.
If you run into me at a sushi bar, you’ll know what happened…but I’ll try to keep you posted! And if I can really stick with it, I’ll send you some of the best recipes I can find to make it fun, if this happens to inspire you, too:) In the meantime, thanks for hanging out with me on this journey and I wish Every One much peace, love, happiness, health, safety and goodness. Every One. xoxo