Candida Stories: Erin Porter

I’m launching a new series today to help highlight all the different ways that candida can wreak havoc on our bodies and lives, and to shine a light on the different ways that people have found their way back to health. I’ve connected with so many candida fighters over the years and I’m honored to help share some of their stories here.

Erin Porter, Eat Pray Get Well.

Can you tell me a bit about your health journey and the symptoms you experienced?

When I was eighteen years old I got a job in Manhattan and lived in the only apartment I could afford. It had the typical New York roaches and visible mold, but I was ecstatic to be out on my own. Unfortunately the excitement quickly faded when instead of embarking on a new journey of exploring the city, I constantly spent my lunch hour running from doctor to doctor. Within weeks of moving, I came down with my first sinus infection along with other new and bizarre symptoms. After a full year on multiple rounds of antibiotics, each one stronger than the last, I was still sick. Even Manhattan’s best Ear Nose and Throat Doctors had nothing to offer me besides more antibiotics and surgery. My symptoms continued to multiply and worsen. This marked the beginning of a 25 year spiral downward of continuing bad health.

I remember vividly one day while waiting at a bus stop to take me into work, I was hit with an intense new feeling I’d never experienced–extreme fatigue. It was so intense that I could barely hold myself up as I waited for the bus. I was also experiencing heart arrhythmias, reflux, constant sore throats, and other symptoms. My infection also became resistant to some of the antibiotics I was taking because of the overuse. I saw many specialists one of them being an infectious disease doctor who wanted to place a picc line in my arm and I would receive IV antibiotics. My gut told me “no.”  

I developed tunnel vision, my mind was consumed with trying to unravel the cause of my failing health.  I eventually went on to have FOUR different sinus surgeries, two tonsillectomies (yes, two), and an adenoidectomy. All the while continuing to take antibiotics for the next decade and beyond. Taking antibiotics had become as routine as brushing my teeth. More symptoms, diseases, and viruses were added to my growing list of health issues, and I felt as if I was drowning

What was your personal catalyst for change? What was the tipping point?

It would take many more years, more money, tears, prayer, antibiotics, surgeries, and suffering before my “cause” would finally be revealed to me.  Before my fourth sinus surgery, a new Ear Nose and Throat Doctor took one look at my CT scan and told me I had a severe fungal infection. It was not just bacteria, and that it was most likely not just in my sinuses. This was likely the root of all my symptoms. Once I was diagnosed with fungus and candida in my sinuses everything in my life changed!

How did you eventually heal?

I retraced my steps and realized that for the nine months while I lived in that NY apartment I had been inhaling toxic mold.  I knew I had to learn everything I could about this organism that was trying to steal my life out from under me. I came to learn that the decades of antibiotics coupled with my horrendous eating habits had made me the perfect host for candida, and in order to get well that all would have to change. I began the Kaufmann diet which is intended to starve and kill fungus and yeast.  I also went on anti-fungals–both prescription and natural–and I added supplements like colostrum to heal my gut and binders to help my body detox.  I also spent a lot of time and money on things that didn’t work.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in healing yourself from candida overgrowth & fungus?

I learned fascinating facts about fungus along my journey.  For instance, just like cancer, fungus needs sugar and carbohydrates to survive, therefore they need to be starved through diet and lifestyle changes. Fungus also has links to so many health issues including the Epstein Barr virus, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, chronic sinus infections, reflux, heart arrhythmia, psoriasis, cancer, and so much more.  Fungus can virtually penetrate every organ and tissue in one’s body, mimicking common diseases.

How can someone learn more about you and your story?

In my new book Eat Pray Get Well –  A Journey from Chronic Illness, Brokenness & Junk Food Junkie to Wholeness & Wellness, I take you through my journey of a difficult childhood, chronic illness, and my relationship with God along the way.  I also include 60 anti-candida recipes all free of PROCESSED SUGAR, WHEAT, GLUTEN, PEANUTS, YEAST, CORN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS AND COLORS. You can also get recipes, inspiration and more on my blog, EatPrayGetWell.com.