Serendipity. I love it when I run into people to have a conversation I was clearly meant to have. As I came out of my PT’s office the other day, a woman and her two kids were ahead of me in the foyeur yet the little boy, about 10-years old, held the door for me. This, in itself, surprised me; the woman asked if I had an injury given I was wearing Oscar. People don’t normally recognize him and confuse him with an orthopedic device. I explained he helped the MS-induced foot drop. She said, “I have lupus.” I responded, “I reversed RA.” She pointed at her son and said, “He has T1D, and I have Hashimoto’s.” I replied, “I’m paleo.” We all started to laugh as she said, “So are we!” I realize you’d have to be there to understand. This only took the length of time required to speak the words. It was not done in a one-upsmanship manner. It was done out of camaraderie. This is hard, and I know you understand because of the few sentences we just exchanged. Ensued a detailed conversation of allergies, genetics, functional medicine, food, and those people who like to give you grief because they don’t understand the path you are following outside of traditional medicine. She explained her daughter’s difficulty continued to be ice cream (dairy) which made her asthma act up; she must have been about eight, but the young girl smiled shyly at me, and gave me a look like she knew textbooks of information about food allergies. The woman’s lupus and Hashi’s were under control/reversed with diet. We shared amazing stories of disease reversal with real food and functional medicine. She also explained her son, for the most part, kept his diabetes under control with only diet. He was clearly very proud, and I congratulated him mightily! It was a lovely conversation, and that short human connection illustrated to me that there are many others on this path of consuming real food and the quest for health. We hugged, and as I walked to my car I felt validated and loved by three strangers I’d met only moments ago.
I’ve been on a bit of a rampage of late. I discovered a mental block which was impeding my progress and encouraging me to put off several beneficial courses of action until we returned from our fall trip to Japan. I understand that sticking to my strict paleo diet is necessary, but I also know that there may be other pieces of the puzzle to find and incorporate.
Normally I’m trying to get everything done BEFORE we depart so I don’t have a stack of stuff waiting to be done when we return. Somehow I allowed myself to skate past that for several items namely beginning a physical therapy re-education program for my awakening nervous system, making/consuming bone broth on a regular basis, and trying a new med for my Candida problem. Thank you to Emma for unknowingly giving a nudge with her strength and motivation.
I got part way down the street before realizing this. I could have turned around and retrieved him, but I instead chose to go for a much shorter walk with my walker and without Oscar. I will always find things like this utterly amazing. I’m regaining function thanks to paleo and functional medicine.
It never fails. When I most need a kick in the behind or a reminder why I’m following the paleo path, a post from Robb Wolf’s blog appears which is terribly relevant to my current situation. Recently it was Is Stress Wrecking your gut? When I look at what has happened in my life just in the past two months, I wonder why I’m not in the hospital. In fact, I believe I would be in the hospital if it weren’t for eating as cleanly as I do, practicing guided meditation regularly, having a superb body worker, and a phenomenal functional medicine MD.
I distinctly remember reading this article in the NY Times. My hands already hurt from what I suspected was RA yet to be diagnosed, and I felt utterly defeated. Our neighbors kids were visiting for the summer, and they were outside. I could see them out the window to the left of where I sat at my computer. I had the flash of walking upstairs to get my pistol, out into the yard (don’t make a mess inside), and killing myself. I thought that would be a rather rude thing to do to those kids so I sat glued to my chair. That was my exact thought process.
Oh, THE LOOK. The one that you receive when trying to explain the ideas behind, or relating your experiences with paleo to someone–particularly someone who thinks they are more schooled or smarter than you. The one that says, “Oh, you poor, naïve idiot. When will you learn than traditional medicine knows all and that we would have been told if there were such a simple cure as diet?”
I received THE LOOK from my rheumatologist when I told him that I was going to try paleo. “I practice in Boulder, and I’ve seen everything,” he said in September. By January, five months later, he was asking me what my secret was.
We bought my WalkAide in May 2012. It, Oscar as he is called, changed my life. My drop foot had become such an impediment to my mobility that I rarely went anywhere by myself, and if I did, it certainly wasn’t very far. I started with an AFO, but for the distances I wanted to walk, I needed something more–something that would stimulate my peroneal nerve, responsible for lifting your toes, with each step. We had a brief honeymoon until my hands gave out in June from RA, and I couldn’t use a cane because I could no longer use my hands. By the time we went to Japan in September of that same year, I was again able to walk with a cane but was so fatigued from not being able to do anything for several months and the combined effect of two incurable illnesses that I brought my wheelchair, as well.
Whenever I read an article about multiple sclerosis (MS) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I want to know where the person is in the disease. It helps me to understand their perspective. With that in mind, I was diagnosed with MS in 1991 although I had my first symptoms in 1980. I needed a wheelchair intermittently for a short time in the early 90s but then walked for many years without assistance. I’ve walked with a cane for about the past decade, and I require my wheelchair when we travel as I tire easily and want to do LOTS while we are vacationing. 🙂 I, however, am still able to take the long walks we have taken since first traveling to Japan in 2007. I have foot drop on my left side; I obtained a WalkAide approximately 1.5 years ago. His name is Oscar after Oscar Goldman of the Six Million Dollar Man. Oscar changed my life by allowing me much greater independence. I’ve been on methylprednisolone, prednisone, and Betaseron for MS. I am approved for BG-12 or Tecfidera but never started for reasons which will become apparent in future posts. I went on Betaseron before it was approved by the FDA as the first drug for MS and injected until June 2013. That’s over 20 years if anyone is counting. My body looks like an over-used pin cushion. I used oral prednisone for RA the first 6 months post-diagnosis, August 2012. I am currently pharmaceutical-free and take only the supplements prescribed by my functional medicine MD. Ah, but that’s a lie. I take Frovatriptan for migraines which seem to be linked to hormones.