I’m warning you now. This post will not contain anything at all about books, boys, RWA, or even cats. It’s going to focus possibly obsessively on food and inflammation. But the take home message for those of you who have been following my pain struggle over the years? The byword of the moment is “cautiously optimistic,” but I may very, very well have found myself a way out. It’s both very easy and hideously impossible.
Consume purified fish oil daily. Do not eat refined sugar/flours. Avoid dairy. Avoid the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, and alas, eggplant). Avoid peanut, soy oils. Avoid processed everything as much as possible. And then, entirely unrelated but my body’s stubborn new leaf since August: no meat. None. NONE. Not unless I want to feel like I have lead weights in my gut. The dairy is part of the same thing too, somehow, and I just don’t go there at all, because it’s always a horrible mistake.
Yes. This is really crazy hard. But it really crazy works.
I’m only a few days into it and helped along by sterroids, though I’ve stopped those now. The result is huge. I mean, unbelievably huge. Within two days of the fish oil (Yeah, I drink it. Yeah, it’s skeevy. Yeah, it really fucking works!) and being absolutely rigorous about sugar and flour, 80% of my chronic pain is gone, and a lot that remains is reminiscent of a few years ago before things got very horrible. I’m so clear in my head I sometimes just laugh for no reason. I’m bouncy. I bounce all over rooms, partly because I can, because when I land on my feet it doesn’t hurt. I’m awake. I don’t feel like I’m flagging out all the time. I don’t have nervousness and paranoia from feeling too foggy and having to cope with the world. I drink less coffee because it makes me feel too wound up and I’d rather have tea. I’m chugging water like they buried gold in the bottom of every bottle.
I go through moments where I’m so happy I cry and then moments where I’m uncertain and terrified and then angry about all the things I can’t eat again, maybe ever. I worry this is just a right now fix and it will go away. I worry how I will ever eat out with anyone ever again. I worry how every time I’m in a social setting I”m going to have to be the one who has The Food Problem, how either I’ll have to not eat while everyone else does, or they’ll resent me for having us have to eat at a place they don’t want to go. I’m petrified about all the travel I’m doing and how in the world I will ever eat at conferences.
Because all of a sudden the world is full of food I cannot eat, and the things I can are stuff I’ll have to make at home or be lucky to find. Even a bowl of processed cereal with soymilk is poison. (Sugar in the cereal. Refined flour. Sugar in the soymilk. Soy oil/fat in the milk.) This morning I wanted Life cereal with soymilk so bad, and I couldn’t have it. Well, I could, but all I could think about was how good I felt, and what if that changed if I ate it? How much is too much? Right now I’m kind of in this detoxing state, so I figure I should be an angel about it.
But sugar is in everything. Starbucks. Everything at Starbucks. Bakeries. Even the great vegan cupcakes at Wheatsfield have sugar and flour, refined to pleasant textures that apparently make my body swell up and go crazy.
There’s also looming stuff like, “How the hell did this happen?” I don’t even know if I’ll ever know the answer even if this does turn out to be the fix. I have a feeling that later I’ll be able to indulge a little in the things that are poisons right now, but every couple hours it hits me that I’m probably eating like this for the rest of my life. It just blows my mind.
It doesn’t make me angry anymore as much as panicked and sad. I confess, I feel very left out. I feel like everyone else gets to go to a party of food and I can’t come. I feel like just as with shoes (never in my size) and clothes (ditto) I now am Other in food as well, someone who will watch other people blithely enjoy whatever they want while I quietly just don’t. It’s not true, because I’m already finding great food, and I don’t miss dairy at all, not at all. And raw chocolate? COME TO MAMA. But yeah, there’s a sadness, because it’s this huge loss. And it’s going to make my life hard and the life hard of anyone trying to eat with me.
This morning it was bugging Dan, both his food issues and mine. His are more subtle, more about weight and heart health, and there isn’t the pain thing as a motivator, so it all becomes emotional. I have to say, pain is a big motivator. Yeah, I’m sad about no more french vanilla granola and soy yogurt. But I’m more excited about being able to empty the dishwasher. About not spending the weekend in a near-coma from pain, so drugged I can’t even take my kid on the outing I’d promised her. I think about that Life cereal and soymilk but then think about how I could probably clean the house this weekend and not hurt for three days after. It’s less about wanting to clean the house and being able to. The other night I cooked and did the dishes to boot largely because I could. Because cooking didn’t exhaust me. Because I felt good.
I cannot tell you how amazing it is to feel good.
So I guess I’m hoping this is just the start of a new wild journey that takes me further and further from chronic pain and into health I haven’t even let my self dream of having again. I”m hoping you start seeing me blog about how much I’ve enjoyed my food today and how good it made me feel.
And I hope if you have chronic pain, if you have a food issue — I hope you find your answers too. And if you’re now a food freak like me, let’s go to lunch. We’ll annoy the waitresses together.