Archives for the month of: January, 2011

dear Target,

man, what’s the deal? i just wanted another pair of fleecy pj’s–like the kind my mom got me for christmas. maybe a pair of slippers for my drafty townhouse. i don’t know. i knew that in your store full of beautifully designed things, i would find what i needed. but no, not this time. i walk in to see pink floral patterns, open toed shoes and cotton PJ’s. just when i thought it couldn’t get any worse, i turned the corner, all of my illusions were shattered. the whole teenybopper section was filled with–gasp–bikinis!

Target, we used to be such good friends. you could read my mind. you even knew what i needed before I did. but you’ve really missed the mark here. It’s really really cold outside. I need a new hat and gloves and you want to sell me a bikini and some new shades. Please tell corporate in Minnesota to check the thermometer. save the short shorts for march. yeesh.

Thanks,
Amy

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so, Jesus liked to heal people.  i like to divide his ministry into roughly 2 categories: saying crazy stuff and healing people.  he healed people in many different ways: making mud out of spit, announcing healing, forgiving sins, touching.  each person is unique and their healing is unique.  at the beginning of my “immune crisis”, i felt like i heard that God was going to heal me–not just in heaven someday, but here, on this physical earth.  i’ve been through a lot healthwise in the last 3 years:

  • strange buzzing sensations in my legs, tingling in my arm, messed up depth perception originally diagnosed as a pinched nerve
  • a few MRI’s and a spinal tap
  • a diagnosis of MS, based on the number and type of lesions in my brain and negative bloodwork for a pathogen

[a brief note on MS: Multiple Sclerosis means lots of lesions.  lesions are patches of the brain where the fatty coating around the nerve/brain fibers (the myelin sheath) becomes inflamed.  the myelin sheath is like the plastic coating on the outsides of wires that keeps the signals from crossing.  If the myelin is inflamed, the wires in the brain and spinal cord will cross, sending and receiving the wrong messages from all over the body, inhibiting motion, impairing thinking, etc.  it is widely believed that this inflammation is caused by immune cells, the so-called “special forces” of the body, doing targeted warfare in the brain.  the big question is, why are is the immune system (t-cells, phagocytes, etc.) waging war around the  myelin sheath?  is the immune system there because it’s confused about an immune breach and is attacking the myelin?  is it there because there’s an actual invader, a pathogen or infection?  some say there is no known cause and that symptoms should be treated and inflammation quelled, no matter what the reason.  some say that infectious diseases or chronic infections can cause this.  others say diet contributes to the autoimmune response.  the MS diagnosis means that there’s inflammation and no known cause for the autoimmune response and therefore no good treatment.  end brief note]

  • treatment of MS through natural means including diet, re-connect-the-brain exercises, supplementation, prayer, body work
  • flare of symptoms a few months later due to stress
  • new diagnosis of chronic lyme disease manifesting in brain lesions
  • at this point, i threw a party because i didn’t have unknown-cause MS–instead, i had known-cause lyme disease.  my doctor and i were confident that knocking out lyme disease would mean a lesion-free brain and a symptom-free me
  • 6 months of hardcore antibiotic treatments with slight improvement
  • switched to a new doctor and received a new diagnosis of Lyme-induced MS and a ton of viruses including epstein-barr (yawn!)
  • maintenance treatment using homeopathic and alternative therapies with intermittent flares not necessarily corresponding to anything for a year.  boring holding pattern.  no improvement, no real degeneration.  a few MRI’s to show no change.
  • new diagnosis of parasite
  • hardcore antiparasitic drugs
  • new diagnosis of genetic gluten intolerance

that last bullet point was discovered last week.  apparently all the other doctors had run tests looking for gluten antibodies in my blood, not genetic markers.   i’ve been off gluten to varying degrees for the last 3 years, but never made the attempt to totally avoid it because all my doctors said it was a good idea but not absolutely necessary.  and, let’s face it, gluten free is a total pain in the butt–especially if it doesn’t make a big difference.  i read and article a few weeks ago saying that the only way to truly tell is to completely avoid the stuff for 6 weeks to see if there’s a real change, so i took on the challenge.  i read my shampoo bottles (yes!  it’s in shampoo!), i bought my gluten free waffles and threw out my naan, i started asking for gluten-free menus at restaurants–and i had a few days of no buzzing or neuropathy.  it was enough to keep me going through Christmas til now.  i’m off gluten 98% and feeling a little better.

so then my doc dropped the bomb that this wasn’t just a hunch, that it is confirmed by labwork and could be a clue to my healing.  so i started researching gluten ataxia and i could see myself in a lot of the early stage descriptions.

when i heard God say that he would heal me, i didn’t know what that would entail.  i didn’t know it would mean a layer cake of diagnoses and treatments.  i didn’t know it would mean dramatic changes in lifestyle.   I sense that the healing is happening and that i need to participate by avoiding this crazy substance.

so, i’ve made the decision to start walking, participating in my healing by avoiding wheat in all its zany forms and by choosing to eat cleanly.  Sometimes i get really mad when i go to restaurants, but i’ve committed to pick up my mat and walk.  this stuff has been destroying my brain for too long.  i’m ready to be well and i’m willing to do whatever it takes.

thanks for reading, friends.

“P sure loves his McDonald’s!”

“I know, it’s so gross!”

“dude, that guy needs a food intervention.”

“i think that’s what marriage is. good thing he’s engaged”

“seriously, i think that’s why married dudes live longer”

design nerd talk overheard in my office:

me: “dude, placing an indesign file in an indesign file is blowing my mind. such great resolution!”

he: “can you edit the indesign file in an indesign file?”

me: “no, you can’t”

he: “yeah, that would be like inception”