I've read more about the "die off" reaction. Its also called the healing crisis. I belong to a yahoo group where people post questions and talk a lot about die off reactions. On one hand, its been sobering to read how long it takes some families to level out. But, on the other hand it helpful to realize that it will probably be awhile before we feel great. This way I'm not thinking, "is this the day/week we're going to feel better." I think it will be helpful for others to see, too, that this is something we're in for the long haul.
Here is the best info I've found on what to expect from the healing crisis:
from Healing Naturally by Bee
"The healing crisis is an acute reaction that is the result of the activity of nature's healing forces in overcoming chronic disease conditions. It is brought about when the body becomes overcrowded by wastes and toxins. Cells and tissues begin to throw off the waste and carry it from the bloodstream to various eliminating organs including the bowels, kidneys, lungs, skin, nasal passages, ears, throat, and genital organs.
These organs, in turn, become congested and irritated, producing symptoms such as colds, flue, boils, skin problems (rash, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc.), kidney and bladder infection, headaches, ear or eye infection, diarrhea and/or constipation, and fever, to name a few.
That is the healing crisis, which is a form of healing and elimination. First the toxins are removed and then the tissues are renewed. These symptoms and the process of elimination are part of the cure and should not be suppressed. Although a healing and disease crisis may look alike they are very different.
By changing the diet to a highly nutritious one, and by eliminating as many sources of damaging substances as possible, i.e. sugar, soy, grains, chemicals, mycotoxins, preservatives, molds, etc. the body gets stronger, digging into the tissues and eliminating old chronic waste and toxins.
Skin problems occur because of toxins being eliminated through the skin, but also because the body externalizes healing to the skin to protect vital inner organs.
It takes about one month of natural healing for every year the symptoms have been present. (this was the most sobering thing for me to read...it could take me 20 months! and probably 3 months for the boys)
When you change your diet, particularly when you eliminate foods and toxins that feed candida, candida starts dying off. As a result the reactions and symptoms you will experience are called Die-Off Symptoms. Therefore when the numbers of candida begin to decrease (are dying off) you will feel the effects, which causes many symptoms and reactions, which are mainly due to the high numbers of toxins that are being released.
Withdrawal Symptoms are some of the reactions you will experience. That is when your cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol, grain products, etc. will increase. At times it may make you feel as if you are starving, when you actually aren't.
Cleansing/Detoxifying Reactions - "Die-off" symptoms include cleansing/detoxifying reactions, which produce "flu-like" symptoms. This is because the body is trying to deal with the large numbers of toxins being released by the dead candida. This will results in excessive mucus being produced in the mucus membranes, which include sinuses, nose, throat, lungs, the digestive tract, reproductive organs, etc.
These flu-like symptoms may also include an upset stomach, nausea, gas, bloating, belching, muscle and joint aches and pains, clumsiness, headaches, "brain fog," etc. Often you may feel like you have been drugged, with symptoms similar to a bad hangover. That is because most candida toxins are alcohol, which cause hangover-type symptoms. (this describes perfectly how I've felt)
"Die-off" symptoms are also called the Herxheimer reaction, which is caused by the rapid killing of candida and other harmful pathogens, with large quantities of toxins and cell particles being released into the bloodstream and the entire body.
Healing Reactions – In addition to withdrawal symptoms and cleansing reactions you will experience symptoms that are clearly healing reactions. The severity and/or number of healing reactions you experience depends upon how often your body has been exposed to toxins and/or traumatized during your lifetime with injuries, disease, or illnesses, and how much detoxifying and healing the body can accomplish.
To help you "endure" these reactions and continue with your program, keep in mind that any reactions means you are successful in ridding your body of candida, other toxins, heavy metals, etc., and that "healing" is taking place. Every drugless healing practitioner is well aware of such healing reactions.
Symptoms Intensify - When high numbers of candida are being killed off, any symptoms experienced while candida was growing out of control may intensify. This is different person to person, depending upon areas of their body that were most affected by candida overgrowth.
If someone has experienced a lot of digestive problems, their digestive upsets and disturbances will increase. If someone had a lot of head-related symptoms, their symptoms will become worse. And so on. (this is what I think is happening with Tyler and his behaviors)
Symptoms do get worse before they get better. However, as you progress on the program, your good days will increase and your bad days will decrease. Natural healing takes time, patience and persistence on the healing program"
There are things we can do to try to ease the die off reaction. One is to go slowly into changes which we are doing with things like adding supplements, vitamins, and the probiotics. Adding each of those things brings more healing. I want to add them all in at once but I keep reading to go slow, slow, slow. That's very hard for me. I want to get it over with and see results. It can be very discouraging to be going through this much work and feel worse. Not to mention it is very hard to cook for at least 3 hours a day when I feel so tired I can hardly stand up at times.
So, forgive me if I sound like things are great one time when you talk to me and then horrible the next. It depends on the minute. We sang my favorite hymn today at church, "It is well." I am praying that I would find security in who God is and how he sees me in the moments of victory and defeat.