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January Update

I’m going to try to keep this organized in categories, starting with what I think y’all care about the most. πŸ™‚ This is ending up longer than I envisioned, but I wanted to talk about more than things that are wrong with me.


Too soon to know. I continue to have occasional tingling in my legs, and I still have (what I think is) Lhermitte’s sign (when I move my neck a certain way, my leg feels like it’s asleep). I *think* all these symptoms are lessening, but it’s too subjective to know for sure.

Other health related things:

Most importantly, any health issues I’m experiencing that could be autoimmune or at least affected by inflammation in my body, are important as markers, because if these things are getting better it could be a sign that the MS is getting better.

I stopped using the steroid cream for the eczema on my hands, not because I was told to, just because I decided to because I was wondering about the possible side effects of using steroids long term. Anyway, I’ve been more diligent about applying lotion frequently throughout the day. So I changed too many things to really know, but my hands are okay. They’re actually not as cracked and itchy as they were, so that’s good.

I’m a bit disappointed because I’ve had THREE migraines since the last time I posted, but for the most part they’ve been milder and I’ve taken less of my prescription migraine medication. And I think I’ve only had one ibuprofen and one acetaminophen since my last post.

On 12/14/2020 I realized I could open my jaw ALL THE WAY. Easily. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever struggled with TMJ disorder, you know how great that feels when you usually can’t. I don’t know if it’s the anti-inflammatory diet, or going off the ibuprofen & acetaminophen, or some changes I made to my mattress, or some combination (that seems most likely). Either way, it’s something that’s happening that I wasn’t even (directly) aiming for πŸ™‚ I can’t always do that, but a lot of days I can and that’s amazing.

Generally I’m feeling GREAT. πŸ™‚

I got my vitamin D level retested, and it’s up to 50ng/mL which is still lower than I’d like it but a lot better than 30.8 (I take a vitamin D supplement now).

What I am eating/cooking:

A lot of the recipes I’ve been making recently come from cookbooks or other resources that I don’t feel comfortable sharing online, but thanks to those of you who have shared recipes/ideas with me. ❀ I think the paleo beef stroganoff on the hearts of palm noodles was our favorite.

This is also popular with us. Although lately we’ve been making it without the curry, and just having spaghetti sauce (with either ground turkey or beef) without the spaghetti. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes we put the spinach in it, or sometimes we have it with zucchini.

Another recipe I can share is this slow cooker shredded chicken. I’ve been getting tired of meat (although fortunately I’m NOT tired of vegetables!) so I’ve been mixing some shredded chicken into a lot of things, like soups/stews. It’s in little shreds so it doesn’t really feel like I’m eating that much meat but I get the protein. πŸ™‚

I put soy back into my diet this week. πŸ™‚ Soy is discouraged by Dr. Wahls, but I reread the applicable sections of her book and her main concerns seemed to be with GMO and pesticides, both of which can be avoided by purchasing/consuming organic soy. We started with soymilk, but I plan to add back tofu and try some new forms like miso. πŸ™‚

Mom & I are also doing a challenge to see how many plant foods we can eat in a year. Dr. Wahls mentioned something about 200, but it’s supposed to be a game with yourself to see how many you can eat. One of my nieces, Emily, said she’d do it with us too. πŸ™‚ So far I’m over a quarter of the way to 200 with 56 (we started counting from 12/12/20), but we’ve been counting EVERYTHING, so each type of apple we have, etc. And of course it’s easier at first. It’s not just fruits and vegetables, you can also count nuts, herbs/spices, teas, etc. It just has to be an edible plant.

Most interesting for the month (and also my new favorite!) were persimmons! I really enjoy finding new things to try.

How I’m doing emotionally:

Right now, I feel great. Honestly. πŸ™‚ But I do have my ups and downs. It’s not even directly MS related usually, because I hardly have any symptoms. But sometimes the new way I’m eating is hard, and like most of you, life has been really affected by this quarantine, so I miss seeing my friends as much. So sometimes I have days where I feel pretty down, but they’re not that frequent.

I was sharing with a friend that I didn’t think I should be upset about this anymore, because I’d already been through the five stages of grief and come to acceptance, and she said something like “I think you’ll need to do that again. I don’t think it’s a one-time thing” and she was right. But like I said, honestly I’m happy. πŸ™‚

Things I’m proud of:

I tried soaking nuts! I really like them! I just dried them in the oven at the lowest setting, and then I put them in the freezer because they still weren’t dry. But the oven gave them most of their crunch back. This article explains WHY to do this, and also HOW.

I’m flossing daily now! Embarrassing that I wasn’t before but I’m increasingly learning the importance of it so I want to share. So if you’re not flossing at least daily, you should start! Apparently *not* flossing can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s (see my book reviews, below) so that’s something else to think about!


I got to meet Dr. Wahls (on Zoom), so that was neat. πŸ™‚

What I read/am reading this month:

The Ministry of Healing by Ellen White – I’ve been meaning to read this book for YEARS, but then it was featured during our health tip at church, plus this seemed like a good time in my life to read it, so I finally am. Written over 100 years ago, Mrs. White has timely wisdom for us. It’s especially interesting to me because she’s describing functional medicine (although I don’t think that term had been coined back then!). I want to share some quotes that I found particularly inspiring:

β€œLet physicians teach the people that restorative power is not in drugs, but in nature. . . . In case of sickness, the cause should be ascertained. Unhealthful conditions should be changed, wrong habits corrected. Then nature is to be assisted in her effort to expel impurities and to re-establish right conditions in the system.”

β€œInstead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it, as it really is, as an inestimable blessing.”

Devoured by Sophie Egan – This book is about why we eat the way we do. It’s not as much about health as I expected, but I found it very interesting. It’s mainly about marketing and the culture we have surrounding food.

The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale E. Bredesen – The reason I’m reading this is interesting. I was at the dentist for a cleaning, and I mentioned that I was making some lifestyle changes recently because of MS, and my dentist mentioned that he was implementing a lot of the same dietary changes because he had recently read this book. It’s reassuring to me to know that another researcher has come to very similar conclusions as Dr. Wahls.

The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner – Very inspiring, but a little difficult for me to reconcile it intellectually/emotionally with what I’m doing now, because one commonality among the blue zones is that they don’t eat much meat. I recommend it. Also, Adventists are featured, so that’s fun. πŸ˜‰ (It’s partially because of this book that I want to try miso and other more adventurous forms of soy. Also, Dr. Wahls says that if you’re going to eat soy, you should eat it in a fermented form.)

Lest you think I *only* read science-y books, I’ll also let you know read novels. πŸ˜‰ I reread A Christmas Carol right before Christmas, and it remains one of my favorite books (if you’ve never read it, you should).

Fitness Goals:

I continue to strive for that first pull-up. πŸ˜‰

I’m trying out new things. Dr. Wahls says we all need to have a physical goal to strive for, so I decided to try a triathlon! So I rejoined Samena (health club where my parents are members, and I used to work there) so I have access to a pool, plus the fitness center for the assisted pull-up machine and stationary bikes. Plus they have tennis courts!

I signed up for tennis lessons again, starting in February! I’m also contemplating some other types of fitness classes. πŸ™‚

Quick Summary of the Month (December):

The clinical trial staff sent me an email with some data from the survey I fill out daily. I thought some of the numbers were pretty interesting, so I thought I’d share, and we can see if January’s numbers are better. πŸ™‚

I’m supposed to be getting 2-3 servings each of the different categories of fruit/vegetables, and walking at least 10 minutes daily. There have been days when I haven’t taken a walk, but taken a longer walk on other days, so it worked out so it looked like I did it every day. πŸ˜‰ (Also, that doesn’t include other exercise I did, although I’ve been tracking that as well.)

In December I averaged (per day):

17 minutes of walking
1.2 servings of dark leafy greens (each serving is 2 cups, but for the other categories it’s just 1 cup per serving)
1.7 servings of sulfur-rich veggies (onions, mushrooms, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc)
3.6 servings of colorful fruits/veggies (berries, citrus, tomatoes, olives, sweet potatoes, beets, etc.)

That’s all for now, folks!


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