This neurological disorder has really done a number on me. Over the last year or so, my fine motor skills and spatial coordination have eroded rapidly; I’ve experienced regular muscle spasms accompanied by a painful electric jolt; I’ve fallen at least four times, which is quite terrifying when it happens in the middle of the night all alone; phantom bugs have crawled up my arms and legs; my memory, concentration, and cognitive abilities have been foggy; my left arm has become almost completely numb; and I’ve had to reassess my threshold for pain. There have been moments when I believed myself a goner, if not fully at least functionally, and by far, the hardest part of all of it has been the diminished capacity to write. Even a short blog post like this one takes hours to compose because of all the breaks I have to take and the pitiful state of my typing. In short, the last 15-16 months have presented some interesting challenges.
But now, hopefully, the tide is about to turn.
The other day, an acquaintance directed me to research that sheds a little light on what could potentially be the cause of my illness. If you don’t have time to read that article, in a nutshell, excessive sodium intake, primarily from processed foods, can cause the body’s Th 17 cells, which are part of the immune system, to become overly aggressive and attack normal body tissues. While not definitive, the research lends itself to the idea that excessive sodium consumption can trigger an autoimmune disease like MS. I must admit to being guilty of relying too much on processed foods in my diet over the years, and when I really got to looking into it, I realized that my sodium intake has been much higher than I had thought. I never add salt to anything and barely cook with it, so I figured I was okay. However, once I looked closely, I had to admit to myself that I’ve consumed way beyond the recommended amount.
That same acquaintance also pointed me towards how a paleo diet has shown positive results at not just halting but reversing MS symptoms. He himself has seen a dramatic recovery in the 3-4 months he’s been following paleo. While the effects of the diet could just be related to the reduction of sodium, there seems to be more to it than that. I’ve already been gluten free for three years, and when I first cut it out, my symptoms all but disappeared, leading me to believe I had found the culprit. However, now that my symptoms have returned, it stands to reason that if gluten can be responsible for neurological degeneration, other foods could be as well.
Therefore, I have decided to make every effort to follow the paleo diet guidelines and remove restricted items from my intake. I plan to chronicle my results here to have a record of my experiences and responses to the change in nutrition. Hopefully, I will see the same improvements to my health that others have shown. Regardless, it feels nice to have a ray of hope after so many months of decline. If I can at least get back to the point of being able to write regularly and work outdoors even just a little, I will be content with the results. So here goes nothing as I start my journey to recovery.