I’m nervous to put this out there:
I have an autoimmune disease.
I’ve written about it before, but not in about a year. I’ve had symptoms that match lupus and rheumetoid arthritis, but conflicting blood work. My current diagnosis is: atypical rheumatic disorder.
It costs about $600 to be told that. It means nothing.
I have tried acupuncture, massage, cupping, diets, fasting, exercise, medicine, salt-water soaks, prayer and willpower to rid myself of my symptoms. It is hard to know what works, because the nature of autoimmune diseases is that they flare and remit. That means if I make a change and feel better, the change might have made a difference or it might just be a time in between flares. Needless to say that makes it extremely frustrating to endure and difficult to treat.
For a while I thought I had it under control. I loosely followed an anti-inflammatory diet and had strong exercise and sleep routines. Regular salt-water soaks reduced my pain significantly. At the end of last summer, a flare burst in my body and I never fully recovered. For me flares mean chronic pain, exhaustion and pronounced arthritic symptoms. My body feels heavy, like all the trace metals in it are suddenly magnetized and pulling me down towards the Earth’s core. It is hard to find motivation to do anything more than the absolute necessary work of each day.
I haven’t felt like myself in nine months.
I haven’t felt good in nine months.
Not even for a moment.
Recently, a new symptom popped up: a topical allergic reaction to nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables are a class of vegetables which contain a compound called solanine, which triggers inflammation in many people. The most common nightshades are eggplant, potatoes, ground cherries, peppers and most regrettably, tomatoes. There is a strong link between arthritis and nightshades. I gave them up for a short period last year, but didn’t notice a change, so I added them back. This last week, my hands have blistered, calloused and cracked just by touching them. Even after touching them for one minute and washing my hands with soap, they continued to sting for an hour afterwards. The flare that never quite ended started at the end of summer, also known as, tomato season.
If nightshades cause this strong a reaction to the briefest contact with my skin, what might they be doing inside my body?
I’ve done a bit more research and I learned that it takes one to four months without nightshades to notice a difference. I did not eliminate them for that long before and I wasn’t careful about hidden sources, so it’s worth a shot. As a foodie, the thought of life without tomatoes breaks my heart. As a person with an autoimmune disease, the thought of life without pain elates my spirit.
I live on baited breath.
I am about to embark on a detox program in hopes that I will come out of it healed. I will begin with a juice fast, followed by a raw food diet with a slow integration of other anti-inflammatory foods. I will compliment this with daily cardio and a detoxifying yoga routine. Salt has been extremely effective for pain relief, so I will use it daily as well as massage.
In the past I shared a weightloss diary with my readers, but I ended up feeling stressed about not getting my desired results, especially when flares interfered with my ability to push myself. I hesitate to broadcast any diet or self-improvement plan, because I don’t want to repeat that experience. But this is the truth of my life. I have not been able to follow through with many ideas I have for mamaguru.com because of this pain. I also know that autoimmune disorders are on a rapid rise and those of us suffering from them need answers and support. I hope this detox ends with a healthier, happier me, but if it does not, that’s valuable information too.
I have one more tomato-based recipe to share later next week, but then it’s back to the kitchen to get my creative juices flowing. I hope to learn some fabulous new recipes and cooking techniques as I wean my cuisine from tomato dependence. As daunting as this detox seems, I’m also exhilarated by the motivation to broaden my cooking skills and the fingers-crossed hope that I just may wind up healing myself.
Please wish me luck, keep me in prayers and send wonderful recipes my way. I’ll update you about my progress periodically.