I wanted to blog today about my first health-related DIY project I tried. I’ve always had certain foods that made my throat itch so I avoided those foods. As a teen I started experiencing asthma-like symptoms. So connecting the dots wasn’t too difficult once my boss who had previously worked with asthmatic children noticed I was having asthma attacks after lunch. That was the first time I’d heard of food allergies causing those symptoms! So I dove into a few books and went through a whole elimination diet/food challenge protocol until I developed my food allergy list. Then I learned how to read labels and spot hidden allergens. So what followed was many years of a tightly controlled diet to minimize exposures. Makes sense, right?
At that point my thinking was limited to that idea: don’t eat foods that make it hard to breathe. Great first step but I was still drinking diet cola and eating fast food. I gave up the ketchup on my burgers to eliminate the corn syrup and corn vinegar. And I didn’t think I had time to cook every meal! I mean, I spent so much energy on my diet already so what harm could come from eating a very limited range of fast and convenience foods. Of course I had emails forwarded to me warning of the danger of artificial sweeteners but I kept ‘fact-checking’ those articles and finding published studies paid for by the cola makers. I was diagnosed with MS, saw doctors regularly who prescribed expensive but effective medications for insomnia, other medications with potentially catastrophic effects to try to minimize or slow down my disease, and manage pain. None of those doctors included a nutritionist. None of those doctors talked about the diet soda I always had when I came in. I convinced myself the caffeine amount was so minor because it was much lower than in coffee which I’d never gotten hooked on because it made my heart race. But the low dose helped me function and surely it wasn’t keeping me awake! I was convinced. And I was completely dependent on my sleeping meds.
The last straw was my last appointment with my neurologist. I’d finally gotten into the MS center at a big medical center and I was faithfully taking my newest MS medication. So when I was abruptly told to stop and sent for blood work to check for liver damage (which I had) and scoffed at for using a wheelchair (that medical center is HUGE) I was miffed. I explained how I was concerned about my cholesterol and hoped I wouldn’t lose more foods. I explained my success at getting off several asthma drugs and my DIY allergy protocol (which my daughter’s allergist confirmed!) so I didn’t appreciate his condescending attitude. While sipping my diet cola the whole time. Oh, and I thought that MS drug was helping but was told it was ‘the x-effect’ naming the placebo effect after the drug damaging my liver. It was my turn to roll my eyes! But ‘don’t worry he can switch me to this other drug, we’ll just monitor you for kidney damage.’ No, thanks! So that was when I left traditional western medicine and started seeing my daughter’s chiropractor.
Next time I’ll tell you how I got off of all meds: caffeine, sleep aids, pain meds…all of them.