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Appetite Paradox

Friday, October 18, 2013

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been eating whatever I want, or rather, whatever I’ve wished I could eat for the past six years. It seems like a dream, and it seems like a nightmare.

What I’ve learned so far is that eating many of the foods that I had “sensitivities” to triggers Lyme and Bartonella flares. I had clues that this was the case before I began this most recent experiment. Certain foods give me nausea and a swollen abdomen followed by a headache, tooth ache, strange neurological sensations, joint pain and diarrhea (or alternating diarrhea and constipation). Most of these symptoms, other than the tooth ache, are associated with either Bartonella or Lyme, or actually, both. So it is reassuring that the symptoms die down when I coil after eating the foods to which I am “sensitive.” Even better news is that my reaction to the foods is getting smaller and smaller as I continue to eat and coil. This makes me happy.

What hasn’t relented at all is the abdominal swelling. I suspect that there is another food-triggered infection that I have yet to treat. Between the initial inflammation and the unidentified infection, I’m pretty much bloated all the time.

There are some new pieces of information for me to consider as well. I’ve been having some reflux with the new foods. I’ve had a pretty consistent tracheitis with soreness and mucus throughout this food experiment. I think that the tracheitis comes from two things: first, the reflux can burn the throat and trachea; second, the general amount of inflammation I’m experiencing has increased so why would my respiratory tract be spared?

I’ve also gotten bigger. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m gaining weight. It seems that the last few weeks I’ve topped up a bit more. I think that my metabolism, which was used to a low carbohydrate, no sugar diet for over 5 years has been struggling with my newer food choices this year. It was nice to start having steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast (with cheese or nutritional yeast for protein and flavor, rather than a sweetener) back in January. The warm food didn’t make me nauseated the way that a cold protein shake first thing usually did. I bet that was the initial source of my extra non-muscle pounds. Adding in corn and wheat and beans and fruit over the summer and even more so since September, has probably been another shock. So I think that when I stop herxing (or maybe even next week no matter what), I’ll reduce the grain carbohydrates and cut out non-whole-fruit sugars again.

(On a side note, after getting all upset about my weight gain, I decided to see how much of it might be muscle. It was a relief to find minimal padding over the pretty solid muscles I’ve built up in my fore and upper arms and my calves. Most of the fat is where it’s supposed to be: on my hips, thighs and butt.)

Finally, all the good tasting but problematic food has made me lose my appetite. Most of the day I know when it’s time to eat because I start thinking about food. But I no longer experience hunger three times a day, the way I did when I ate mostly protein, vegetables, and plant-based fats (like nuts). It’s a strange paradox that when I can finally eat the food I’ve been craving, I no longer desire it as much. The other problem from having no appetite is that I can’t really tell when I’m sated. Back when I got hungry before eating, I knew to stop before I was full because the hunger and desire for food stopped. Now I eat as much as I think I should, then stop. It’s a very different experience.

Anyway, the plan is to continue to eat everything for the weekend, then go back to my previous “normal” diet on Monday, when I’ll coil for Lyme again. Then I’ll try a few weeks more or less sticking to my safe diet and see what changes.

Infection Update

I last coiled for Lyme on Tuesday. The herx was minimal. I got very tired afterwards. I slept a lot that night and woke up groggy in the morning. By midday it was over. This is as small as the herx I had in September that prompted me to try the more varied diet.

I’ve been coiling for Bartonella daily. The herxes continue to morph. The kidney pain is getting milder every day. I had night sweats for two days, then last night I woke up hot but not sweaty. I had a case of urinary hesitation yesterday morning (full bladder but can’t get the flow started). The constipation is every day and getting worse. I suspect, for reasons not totally clear to me, that the back of my head is the key to the infection and to the worse herxes. I may increase the coiling on the back of my head up to 10 minutes sometime in the near future.

Symptomatically, Bartonella is still tweaking my peripheral nerves quite a bit. I attribute the increase in neurological symptoms (pain, tingling, numbness, burning spots, etc.) to the foods that stimulate Bartonella activity. I guess I’ll see if the symptoms die down when I go back to the safe diet.

I wish…I wish that there was a coil machine equivalent that could irradiate the entire body at the same time. I’d even settle for one side at a time (front and back separately). That way I could “coil” my back for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning and my front for the same amount of time at night. I would be able to treat longer in each location and still use less of my day on the machine. I think that at this point, I need to do more but I’m not sure how. Or rather, I think that if I could coil for longer each day, I could get rid of the infections faster.

Exercise

I went for a second run since the last time I posted. Well, it was a walk and run for 30 minutes. I’m taking seriously the idea that the NYC rheumatologist put in my head: to get rid of osteoporosis, train for a marathon and start lifting weights. A marathon is currently a dream, at most. But a run/walk twice a week would be one way to get my bones in better shape.

The side benefits are changing my metabolism (so I can eat grains without gaining weight) and causing fluctuations in my immune system. Dr. Burrascano, in his pamphlet, Advanced Topics In Lyme Disease, suggests doing regular exercise to improve mobility, maintain strength, and help the immune system. However, he cautions that for 24 hours after exercise, the immune system is depressed (all energy used up elsewhere). I think that having my immune system get depressed on and off will help coax the Lyme and other infections out of their dormant states. Plus, the long term effect is to strengthen the immune system, which I would like to do eventually.

I have in my mind that when I can run to the gym and back that I’d like to start going into the gym again to work my upper body or go to a yoga class. Both of those would be nice. I’m doing my best to daydream in the direction I want my life to go.

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