It’s been a while since I gave myself license to sit down and write. It’s easy right now because I’m sick with laryngitis, and my mother-in-law has Henry. After the miscarriage (which took an inordinate amount of time to resolve), I ended up having an MS relapse. Immediately following the 6 days of oral steroids, I am now sick… so, it’s been a challenge to get basic things done, let alone to opine on the finer points of life. That being said, today is World Mental Health Day, and I write extensively about my mental health, so it seemed like a good time to give everyone an update.
Recently, I’ve been taking a second look at the Wahls Protocol. It’s a diet plan that Dr. Terry Wahls used to help her decrease the negative symptoms of MS. Obviously, long-time friends and readers know that I tried the paleo diet to improve my MS symptoms and found very little relief from seizures, but some relief from fatigue. Unfortunately, the number of dishes I created by following the diet used up any extra energy.
In the last month, scientists have discovered the brain’s lymphatic system. This might not seem like a big deal at first, seeing as how the rest of the body has a lymphatic system, but for those of us with MS, it’s huge. Essentially, this is not just proof of the immune system interacting directly with the brain, it’s the hardware in our bodies that make it possible. It’s literally part of our immune system, and it’s integrated throughout the entire brain… and until just now doctors didn’t even know it was there.
For those of us who have experienced the terrible side effects of MS disease modifying drugs, it’s galling. There’s something terribly unnerving about reading that “The discovery of the central-nervous-system lymphatic system may call for a reassessment of basic assumptions in neuroimmunology.” Essentially, it means that we’ve all been sold insanely expensive, and potentially harmful, snake oil. It reminds me of how “bleeding” patients with leeches to “balance the humours” used to be a real thing, which is kind of scary if you think about it.
The first mystery these scientists need to solve is how those vessels receive and dispel fluid, anyway. They already suspect that the flow of glymphatic fluid (That’s the fluid that goes in and out of the lymphatic system within the brain.) may affect folks with Alzheimer’s or other neurological diseases that disrupt sleep… like MS!
The article states that “The flow of glymphatic fluid can change based on a person’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids…” And that means that aside from the brain-gut connection, we can find evidence to improve our neurological health by eating well here, too.
I already take 750 mg of Mega Red Krill Oil every day for Omega 3 supplementation. It’s been helpful for lowering my triglycerides, and I believe that its use in conjunction with Vitamin D3 has been more helpful as an antidepressant for me than Effexor or Cymbalta ever were.
So, I’m looking in to Dr. Wahls’s research and am about to start Phase 1, which is simply adding 9 cups of vegetables a day (3 cups of dark, leafy greens, 3 cups of sulpherous, and 3 colorful.) to your diet.
Whether or not I will move forward to Phase 2 (which includes going on the paleo diet again — but this time using the autoimmune protocol), is yet to be determined. I think that it might be too difficult to try to keep paleo/keto with a 2 yr old in the house who basically subsists on Peanut Butter Ritz Bitz, Goldfish, and cookies. (Don’t worry. I offer plenty of fresh fruits and veg too.)
So, for now, I’m more interested in feeding my mitochondria the nutrients they need to produce energy than I am interested in reducing inflammation in my body by avoiding foods that I may (or may not) have reactions to.
With all of that setting the stage — I have to let you know that it has made me think about the bigger picture.
Back when I was living in California, I got the chance to take a walk and chat with Reichart Von Wolfshield — a notable scientist, and a pretty cool guy to hang out with. During our walk, we shot the shit about atheism vs. being a believer in a higher power. I was very well aware of his staunch atheism, and he was curious as to why I am a devout believer in God.
He wanted to know why, with a lack of evidence, I am so sure that God exists. My personal take is that everything is God — the whole universe and anything beyond — everyone and everything is a part of this higher power, which is part of why we don’t necessarily notice it. It’s too big to comprehend, and it very likely lacks the sort of sentient thought that we would like to attribute to anything that is omnipotent and omnipresent.
My actual response to him that day, however, was that I know that people are very limited creatures — that we can only see part of the visual spectrum and hear part of the auditory spectrum, and that I simply believe that since the concept of God has existed alongside all of humanity, it must have basis in reality, even if we cannot substantiate it yet with science.
The discovery of the lymphatic system in the brain reminds me why I believe in God’s existence — not because it makes me more hopeful for a cure for my ailment (thought it certainly does), but because 2 months ago, we didn’t believe it existed, even though it did, and even though, more than likely, it was present for of all of humanity leading up to now.
I genuinely wonder what we’ll “discover” tomorrow.