Feeding my Future
In an effort to treat this thing more holistically, I’ve been following the Swank diet which focuses on reducing the intake of saturated fats and increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I know that sounds kind of boring and diet-y, but I have this deep aversion to medicine. Injections in my belly every night, injections in my hips and thighs three times a week, infusions in my arm every month… it got to the point where I was adding a bottle of wine to that routine. Or a hand roll of … something.
I’ve been fortunate because in six years I haven’t had another real episode and I’ve continued most of my regular activities, including martial arts, without being carted off in an ambulance again. I know that people with a more progressive category of MS don’t snap back so easily. They have lingering issues with blindness, paralysis and depression. Some people become confined to wheelchairs and grit their teeth through constant pain. I’ve tasted these lovely tidbits at various times from the start, but I count my lucky stars because I’m still standing and I can go mostly incognito.
These days I’ve started to look at food as more than something to enjoy, but as a form of treatment. I try to look at everything that passes my lips for its value in healing or hurting me. Are these chips going to put another lesion on my brain? Are these steamed vegetables with fish going to help with remyelinization? Is this piece of fruit going to boost my energy level? Is this soda going to make my hand go numb or bring my spasms back?
Practicing martial arts taught me discipline and resiliency before MS happened. I’ve taken front kicks to the belly, cross punches to the chest, jabs to the face and stayed on my feet. But sometimes a girl needs to reach for some Haagen-Dazs or a glass of Pinot Noir to make it through something rough. I am that girl. Sometimes. Anyway, I have a lot left to do and the wrong foods are just another thing standing in the way of me getting it done. I’m cutting out the obvious poison like processed food and things that have an expiration date of say 2052. Will I always be able to turn down a pack of Lemonheads (sugar with yellow food coloring) or a plate of fried pork with the juicy crackling attached to it (I’m Haitian after all)? Dude, I’m trying here.
It’s been almost two years since I’ve been on any treatment and I can’t say with certainty that I feel better or worse than when I was on it. This is not the first time that I’ve gone for so long without being injected with some medicine or another. I’m sure my doctor is somewhere frowning at me, but I’ve been on a more holistic route since May. Reading the labels on supermarket items, checking sugar and salt intake, saturated fat, things like that. I feel more swanky already.