Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Can't Live if Living is Without You?

Ok, so it's a week later and I had the root canal procedure. Glad to get it over with and I'm leaving out all the details because there are more important things to discuss.

I'm so tired from painkillers at the moment, and I'm at the infusion center receiving Tysabri right now. Every month, I find this a good time to reflect a little bit on how things are going.

In many ways, things are going quite well. I did my 10-day master-cleanse-detox fairly successfully. At the tail end of it, I had an appointment with a nutritional therapist, Janeen, who also has MS. At that first consultation, she mentioned that there are some who believe there is a relationship between MS and gluten sensitivity and I might want to consider that.

After the cleanse, for the most part I stayed away from gluten and dairy. Overall, I was feeling as good as I'd felt in about 12 years. I had occasionally felt this good when I went on raw food diets for a few months at a time. I had scheduled a follow-up with Janeen for this week. Over the weekend, I remembered that I had had allergy testing done about 11 years ago. At the time, when I got the report back, it had overwhelmed me and I decided I couldn't take it seriously. How could I live without bread and cheese? That was about 90% of what I ate. So I dug out that quite lengthy report from Great Smokies Lab. And it's all right there - gluten intolerance, casein (dairy) intolerance, egg allergy, almond allergy, kidney beans,green peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers. I remembered why I had been overwhelmed - those are all the things I love. Ok, well green peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers not so much. I'm generally a vegetarian so all those carbs are important to me, and dairy was a huge source of protein for me.

I went back to Janeen and showed her the report. She's very supportive of me embracing it and trying my life "without".

There's a ton to say about this stuff. The main point today is how I have had so much more energy than I did 8 weeks ago, and that I believe my altered diet has a great deal to do with it. This is not a news flash to some with MS, I know. But it is a news flash for me, in the sense that maybe I have reached an age where I can manage this and not be *too* pissed off about it. I reserve the right to be a little pissed off about it. But really, how great that there may be something I can do to feel better. Give up my favorite foods? Yeah, maybe the tradeoff is worth it. I've been through this before and invariably I fall off the wagon. I think I can learn to love some other foods. It could be worse - at least there are some things I can eat without problems.

I know that the lifestyle and alt approaches to MS are sometimes controversial and not popular to talk about. In my case, I felt like I had gone off and on that wagon so many times that I just didn't want to hear about it. I don't know for sure why it feels different now, but it does. Maybe it's the internet - I know of other MS bloggers who are doing something similar, and that really helps. Maybe it's having a 'coach' like Janeen, who has been there herself. How awesome is it to work with someone who also has MS?

So this is me going on record to say "I am taking my fucking food allergies seriously and it seems to be making a world of difference."

The allergy testing isn't cheap, but if you have MS and you can do it, you might consider it. What I did was the "Elisa" testing at Great Smokies Lab. And 'allergy' is a misleading word, because it isn't what you might think. It's not like I was developing hives every time I ate cheese. But something is definitely improving. I am allowing myself to be even slightly hopeful about it. I read Roger McDougall's booklet about his own food sensitivities but never thought I could do it. I thought it sounded like life in hell. McDougall believed it was the solution for him, and he maintained a productive life for years after he figured it out.

I may decide to have them retested at some point just to see if the list is the same 11 years later. I may not. But I just wanted to say something because it is making such a huge difference for me.

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