“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
For the first time in my life, I find myself staring at an ensemble of pill bottles each day. I said I’d never do this.
To be fair, one bottle is aspirin and one is sub-lingual B-12 and the other is grape seed extract. Not prescription medications, but they’re pill bottles, nonetheless.
They are definitely signs, glaring signals that my body has betrayed me.
You see, I have allowed stress to become a constant companion, effectively overshadowing my beloved intrinsic factor, which is no longer available to couple with the B-12 included in my high consumption of B-12 laden foods.
The result was a shocking failure to recall important details, like words or things that needed done, combined with frequent imbalance, numb fingertips, and a shroud of mind-numbing depression.
Coincidentally, I found that my cerebral small blood vessels are not faring well and are aging more quickly than I. In order to pump up their elasticity and stave off stroke or dementia/alzheimer’s, I’ve conceded that daily aspirin or grape seed extract will be my new brain food.
I sort of feel that I’ve succumbed, pulled out the white flag and surrendered to those things to which I had been so solidly at odds. I hang my head in shame and confess: OTC (over the counter) is my new daily regime.
During childhood, having little means for frills, my parents raised us kids with very little medical intervention. I recall the trips to the hospital for two raging kidney infections, and doctor visits for the festered wound that hadn’t healed because a sliver of glass still rested inside, and the insect bite on my sister’s knee which almost left her unable to walk as the swelling intensified (that knee was HUGE). Naturally, when my brother lost the end of his finger, there was a trip to the hospital, and similarly when he broke his collarbone. Otherwise, I cannot recall seeking medical care. We were treated at home.
Then I witnessed my mom’s deterioration due to progressing multiple sclerosis. She was ever ready to try another method to stave off the slow march of physical loss, as she had witnessed her cousin’s drastic and fatal decline from MS. Bee venom therapy, any new drug on the market that her insurance might cover, multiple prescriptions to handle the side effects of the few given to treat her symptoms. And in the last years, she had intense infusions of prednisone, combined with a daily regimen of oral methotrexate (chemotherapy drug).
There was a tray on her kitchen counter to hold the overflowing supply of daily pills she would take. I would watch her assemble her dose, allotting herself a hand full of pills, and this more than once per day! I knew then what I did not want for myself.
That’s the back story, the terms by which I had made my firm stance. Imagine my reaction to a declaration that I likely had multiple sclerosis.
You may have guessed my response.
I refused all medical treatment options that were presented to me.
With internet research and regular prompting from my dear friend, I embarked on what has been a three year focus on healthy diet. I really thought that a pure focus on the creation that Almighty put in place, simply plants and animals, could undo the damage I’d done with years of convenience food eating. And I have to declare, it’s worked wonders.
I found that most of the diseases I was facing, or that had symptoms similar to mine, were autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune responses (where the body produces little warriors to go out and destroy its own tissues) are a reaction to inflammation. Inflammation begins in the gut.
I set out to work on addressing the inflammation. (Do a search for anti-inflammatory foods to see where I began).
Elimination of processed foods, initially focused particularly on removal of high fructose corn syrup, and striving to eat only items in packages that contain ingredients I can easily identify has had huge impact.
I’ve also used the ‘Dirty Dozen’ guide to eliminate standard produce and purchase organic or naturally grown produce – or grow my own with no use of pesticides/herbicides.
Grass fed meats are now the only meats we ingest, along with only raw, organic or hormone-free milk. I added highly cultured plain yogurt for improved gut health as well.
The results have been fantastic:
- The majority of the numbness and tingling is now gone.
- I now rarely have muscle spasms, and haven’t limped in a long time.
- My lingering pitting edema is gone, with only a rare case of swollen ankles remaining.
- As a fabulous side effect, my seasonal allergies have been reduced to a very minor reaction during the most intense seasons. What was a daily snot-fest is now an occasional and rare thing.
- And my near daily headaches and body aches are a thing of the past.
- Dietary changes have improved my health significantly!
But this latest information has thrown me a curve ball. I understand the facts: the intrinsic factor necessary for binding the B12 so that it will properly absorb into my body is not working. Am I not producing, or am I producing too much acid via stress and thereby wiping out my little helpers? One method points to a healthy gut, which I have been working on with diligence. The other suggests an overabundance of stress, which I’ve been ever so faithful about creating.
With no option but to forge ahead with life and its accompanying stressors (padding about the home barefoot and pig-tailed on a full time basis in a nirvana-like atmosphere of calm is simply not an option, although I’d gladly pay a doctor to prescribe that!), I’m left to treat the symptomatic malabsorption of B12 by ingesting more than my fair share each day and supplementing with monthly injections.
The last major headache I had was so intense, affecting my vision and making it extremely hard to talk clearly and concisely, so stroke-like in nature, that I’m very attuned to the ever present possibility that I could suffer a stroke. And my Grandmother died with alzheimer’s, which has a tendency to be gene related. Don’t we all do our crossword puzzles and read our novels to keep our minds healthy, to stave off the dreaded ‘old-timer’s’?
So, here’s to health! I’ll pop my daily OTC pills, and continue my healthy diet regimen and be ever so very thankful that I can.