I sent my friend Penny Thieme a virtual list of the circumstances in my life which overwhelmed me this weekend, causing me to retreat into the Food Network, a murder mystery, and a rocking chair. She messaged back, “Can you do something, anything, on your list of chores, to change your focus?” I’ll summarize my typed reply as, “No.” Poor Penny. She tried.
But during the night, as I struggled with enough pain to deeply regret my decision to forego narcotics, I suddenly recalled that I had been feeling better. Until a week or so ago, I actually thought that my lifelong battle with neurological pain might have at last been won. So what happened?
Six months ago, I eliminated white sugar and gluten from my diet, a modified version of the MS diet which has had modest anecdotal support on blogs and websites run by MS patients. While I don’t have MS — thank God — I have demyelinization (fraying or stripping of the myelin, the outer layer of the nerve), caused by the wicked little virus raging in my DNA, HHV-6. White sugar, gluten, caffeine, dairy and saturated fat appear on lists of foods to avoid in most versions of the MS diet. I don’t eat meat, so saturated fat doesn’t plague me. I will not surrender coffee. So I chose gluten and white sugar as expendable.
I lost eight pounds. I didn’t notice any change in my neurological condition, though; and slowly let both begin to find their way back into my daily diet. But in the last few days, I’ve found myself mercilessly crushed by the nighttime raging of my frayed nerves. At three this morning, finally surrendering, getting out of bed, unable to wrap sleep back around me, I thought to myself, Maybe gluten and white sugar DID hurt. Maybe cutting them out DID help.
And maybe there are some things which I can control, and maybe, in controlling them, the things which slip beyond my lily white spastic hands will not seem as daunting.
Ah. . . sledgehammer time. Hit me over the head! Awaken me from my self-induced stupor! Thanks, Penny.