Hi! I hope everyone has had an awesome Summer so far. I've been on Summer Vacation, since that’s what adults do. I’m glad to be back on the writing thing so I can share some cool things with you.
Ever since starting this newsletter, I assumed that one day, in the distant future I’d have to share about my experience with a relapse in my MS. It happened much sooner than I expected.
A couple weeks ago my legs started losing sensation and over the next few days they got very tingly. It felt kind of like my legs had gone to sleep from being in an uncomfortable position for too long. I still had full function, aside from some sore, tense joints. My legs felt heavy when I walked. I’ve noticed some major improvements in the last few days, but it’s been bizarre. At the beginning it was pretty scary and stressful.
Stressful is the key word. Managing stress is one of my absolutely vital lessons in living with MS and maintaining good health. I have been dealing with chronically high levels of stress for the last month or two, and I think it broke my body down enough to trigger something pretty aggressive in my dysfunctional immune system. Autoimmunity doesn’t really go away, but you can do a lot to control it and avoid triggering it. Calming things has been my goal for a long while, but I ran into trouble here that’s reminded me to do some important things.
Meditation is necessary for me at this point. I know it helps me not become stressed about stressing and manage the loop of negative thinking and worrying. I know that stress is the enemy, but I need to be prepared for stress when it inevitably comes. I take some herbal supports for stress, and I learned about a supplement called inositol that can be used to calm down the anxiety. I don’t take it, but will consider it in the future if necessary.
Eat a rainbow of veggies and nutrient-rich foods every day
Terry Wahls is a hero in MS wellness for a reason. Her diet works for people with serious cases of MS, and I need to make sure I’m utilizing this information. Keeping up with a strict, unconventional diet can be tough. I don’t plan to punish myself for forgetting to eat enough broth and liver, but this will serve as a reminder.
Work with a doctor
Doing this alone isn’t a good idea. There are functional medicine doctors who do more than just amplify the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle, diet and supplementation. My doctor provides support and knowledge I will never posses. She’s provided me with excellent advice and set me down an even better path. I’ve been doing great since my diagnosis, but I could be doing even better, and I never want to experience this type of relapse again.
Along with increasing my fish oil and turmeric dosages, the doctor recommended something I’m pretty excited about: Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).
LDN is a medication originally used for opioid addiction. The low dose of the drug works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain for a short duration, and by the time it clears out of the system the body has responded by creating more endorphins to cope with the decreased sensitivity. The endorphins stimulate more T-regulatory cell activity. T-reg cells are the regulators in the immune system, which is what keeps your body from attacking itself in conditions like MS. It also decreases inflammation in the central nervous system. That’s my laymen explanation of it.
This website has a lot of great info if you’re interested in knowing more. Apparently the drug can be useful in many conditions, and comes with very low risk of side effects. I wouldn’t consider taking it if it seemed to have many risks. A few of the conditions it has been used to treat are depression, parkinson’s, crohn’s, PTSD. Here’s a super cool podcast from Chris Kresser about LDN.
I started on LDN 7 days ago. Nothing new to report, really. I dream more, but it hasn’t really changed much of anything yet. I’m giving it some time and remaining optimistic.
I’m interested in connecting more with people who have similar health battles and experiences with using nutrition to achieve wellness. I hope this newsletter and blog will continue to reach people who will benefit from it. I’m excited about what the future will bring.
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