As I write this post at 4:50am, I am reminded of the pain and suffering I continue to go through during my rehabilitation. I have an auto-immune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and have been medicated with an auto-immune suppresor called Enbrel since 2003. While Enbrel has carried me through these 9 years, it has only masked the symptoms, but never treated the cause.
In January of 2012 I discovered a holistic way of treating the cause by not eating starches, or commonly known as the Low Starch Diet (LSD). I’ve sought out multiple nutritionists and focused mainly on fruits, veggies and nuts. Additional research lead me to understand supplements to heal the areas of my body that have been severely damaged by AS. A little over a month into the program, I stopped taking Enbrel completely, but I paid the price.
I have been on the LSD diet for 2 1/2 months while being off Enbrel 1 1/2 months. During that time, I have fought pains, stiffness, and swelling in areas I’ve never dealt with before. I’ve relied on my parents helping me out of bed when I could not do it myself. I’ve come out of the chiropractor’s office shaking and bewildered due to (much needed) the spinal and neck adjustments. And my sleep continues to be intermittent – I wake up 2-3 times per night knowing that my body is desperate for full nights of sleep. I put up with a lot, but I’m no Superman.
As of last week I’ve decided to improve my quality of life and become more functional by allowing Ibuprofen into my diet and use as much as I need to get me through the rest of the days/weeks/months until my body heals itself. Up until this point, I’ve always convinced myself that any time of medication will somehow stop the process of healing my body. Only a few days into this regiment, I found out how much I was wrong. When healing the body from AS, you need to always be moving, sleep as much as you can, and take in quality whole foods (no processed junk!). With Ibuprofen, I take my normal draining days and reduce the pain & inflammation by 80%. In turn, I sleep longer. I move more. I function. And now I’m taking less naps during the day, I’m able to bend and be more flexible, and I’m getting longer nights of sleep. So the recovery time the body needs is getting met whereas before I couldn’t due to all the pain and inflammation. And when the body gets enough days to recover, I will ween off my Ibuprofen as it only stays in the body for a short period of time with no major side-effects.
If you’re ever feeling guilty of taking low-dose NSAIDs like aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, etc., consider your recovery time over your fear of medication. While we’d all like to be Supermen and kick AS ASAP, we need to remember that pain and inflammation don’t need to follow you while you’re fixing your body. Keep up the good fight and God bless you on your journey to 100% health.