how I’m feeling


First, a synopsis of the last two years.  In early 2015, I was more or less following the Wahls Protocol…not perfectly, but in general was eating healthful and clean foods.  I didn’t feel like I was having any results, and so in April I stepped it up to the Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP.  It’s even more restrictive!  I followed it pretty strictly from April 13 through the end of July, so 3 1/2 months.  I did not feel better; I felt worse.  I was down to 82 lbs and just weak.  In August I added back some nightshade spices, a little dairy (butter), and some gluten free grains.  Eventually I went back to normal but kept it gluten free.  I felt better just in general, but had no noticeable affect on my MS symptoms (either when on the AIP or afterwards).

On Labor Day weekend we took an impromptu trip to the beach and all food restrictions flew out the window.  From that point on, I was completely unrestricted.  By the end of the month I decided I needed to do something for general health, so for October Craig and I did a Whole 30.  This I pretty much followed to a T (there were a few times I did something that was out of the “spirit” of the W30, like drinking an ingredient-compliant mango smoothie for some sweetness, but never cheated with forbidden foods).  Again, I felt some improvement in general health, but no affect on MS symptoms.  I did not do re-introductions as suggested by W30, but went back to normal near-SAD diet. In April 2016, we started another W30, but ended up only doing a W15.

Since then, my diet has been pretty atrocious. In the last 6 months or so, my status has really worsened.  Walking is difficult; I sometimes have a hard time even just getting around the house.  I can’t say that definitively that food has contributed to my decline.  In all my diet forays, keeping track of symptoms etc., I have never found any direct correlation between food and symptoms one way or another.  There were never any obvious food triggers that affected symptoms negatively, but neither were there any positive effects.

However, I still believe that it is possible for food to affect disease, and certainly that better food choices are beneficial to anyone’s health.  So in the back of my mind, I always felt that I would get back at it at some point.  I was just dragging my feet mainly because it takes so much effort and energy to cook this way.  There is very little in the way of convenience food for this lifestyle, and cooking, often several times a day, is mandatory. And I sincerely do not have the strength to do it.  Fifteen minutes in the kitchen (prep, cooking) totally does me in to the point of being unable to walk.

Then a couple months ago, Craig got the great idea to do a Standard Process 21 Day Cleanse with his patients.  He jumped in with both feet without really even giving it any thought He does have experience with the program in that he has “prescribed” it for patients before, but he has never done it himself.  He asked if I wanted to do it with him.  I was reluctant, and then I realized that I was going to be participating whether I wanted to or not.  Because what he didn’t consider is that he doesn’t cook!  To be fair, he’s the one out working all day, and I have always been the domestic one, and he can pull together a meal if necessary.  But planning out 3 weeks of specialized meals and preparing them is foreign to him.

I still don’t know how I’m going to manage all the physical work of it.  I know Craig will help, but again, I hate to ask him to start chopping and sauteing as soon as he walks in the door after a twelve hour day.  I do plan to take some of my own advice from the first time I did the SPPP (so glad I kept this blog!), and prepare some things ahead of time.

So there it is!  January 10 we start the 21 day program along with about 15 of Craig’s patients.  I’ll try to keep up a log of it here, like last time.

Dr Wahls recommends keeping track of how you’re feeling, symptoms, and changes while on the protocol, so you can look back and see progress.  I think this is a good idea, and one that I’ve never been good at; therefore, I’ve often been unsure whether or not anything I’m doing is helping.  Some people report dramatic changes, but I’ve never had that, so I really need to be on the lookout for subtle changes.

My main symptom is leg weakness.  My feet are constantly numb, but that doesn’t usually bother much by itself.  It’s not being able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes that is the most troublesome for me.  I also have poor balance, which means walking takes even more energy than it should.  When I go to a store, I always have to use a cart because it helps with support and balance, even if I’m only going in for one thing (but that is very rare because I just don’t have the energy to spend for one item).

I have definitely seen a change for the worse over the last 5 years.  Even though I would wear out before my friend, 5 years ago I used to be able to spend most of the day shopping with her.  Now I wouldn’t even attempt it.

Baseline weight: 87 lbs.  That sounds bad, but I’m only 5ft tall (in shoes!), so it’s not terrible.  Even so, I wouldn’t want to lose any more.  Plus, I have no muscle (muscle=pounds)!

Baseline symptoms: leg weakness has actually seemed a little bit worse this week since I started paying more attention to getting the correct vegetable categories/amounts.  That’s discouraging, but I have heard that it is possible to get worse before you get better.  My left leg is usually less cooperative than my right, and this week its been giving me “zingers”, which throws off my balance and gait even more.

Fatigue: I don’t usually have any problem sleeping, but do have to get up to go to the bathroom at least once every night, and often 2-3 times, which means it’s not as restful as it should be.  I often take an afternoon nap.  I don’t think I have the debilitating fatigue that is often associated with MS, but certainly my energy levels are sub-optimal.