I Am Superman…For 1 Minute

I’m no Superman…wait, YES I AM!

superman start

superman start

superman line

superman line

Week 16: Costa Rica Overview

During week 16 of the Auto Immune Diet, I traveled to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for vacation.  Throughout all the difficulties during these past 4 months, I dreamed of going to  Costa Rica.  A unique opportunity from a special friend allowed me and my parents (it was our Christmas present to each other) to stay at a beautiful home along with cleaning, concierge and anything to make our stay stress-free.


If you don’t know what a zip line is, check out this video:

Without a doubt, my number one focus was to conquer the zip line.  During my highest levels of inflammation, pain, mental stress, and suffering, I mentally conquered the Costa Rica zip line.  I prayed for healing, I worked my butt off, I ate what seemed like a 1000 salads, and I knew in my mind this was going to conquer it.

On Monday, 5/7, the big day arrived.  For “insurance” I took a Naproxen the night before and 3 Ibuprofen during breakfast.  The journey to the zip lines were bumpy dirt roads, a small hike uphill.  The zip line company, MidWorld, knew about my special condition and applied a waist harness for extra support.  I was ready:

Zipline Start

Zip Line Start

Three straps later, I was hooked in & shot off.  The experience was exhilarating and not, I repeat, not painful (just remember to tell them not to make the straps too tight).  What was painful, was at the end of the zip line:

Block Brake - End of Line

Block Brake – End of Line, Man

If you look at the photo above, you’ll see a wood block.  This is the brake so you don’t slam into the tree.  Problem is that it jarred my neck the 1st time.  So you need to be aware of it or suffer a shooting pain or sore neck.  The great news is this was the ONLY time I felt pain throughout the entire zip line experience.  When you get used to the experience, each zip line is so much fun.  Just take a look at this face:

Having Fun - Scream Like a Monkey!

Having Fun – Scream Like a Monkey!

During the end of the journey, you’ll need to repel a few times.  If you don’t think about it, it’s quite fun and, again, no pain.

Repel Line

Repel Line

Once your done on the dozen or so zip lines, you’re ready for the Superman.  Here’s what happens:

This is the closest I’ve ever felt to flying.  They strap you up in what looks like Costa Rican straight jackets:

No My Parents Are Not in Straight Jackets

No My Parents Are Not in Straight Jackets

Actually, these are the suits you wear for the Superman Line.  Walking like a duck, you get up on a declining table if you can.  For me, they picked me up, threw me on top like a sack of potatoes and shot me off. As some of you know, I don’t do well lying down on hard surfaces and my right hip was shooting pains for the 1st time + pain throughout most of the ride.

This is where all my praying and focus paid off.  Instead of “feeling” the pain, I recognized it for a second, thanked God for all I received today, and focused on the spectacular view.  Words cannot describe how cool it feels to fly at 40-60mph.

Without further ado, I am Superman…for a minute:

Superman Declining Table

Superman Declining Table

Starting the Superman

Starting the Superman


All of the buildup and hard work paid off.  This was my “mountain” and it was conquered.  After everything was over, I actually felt better at the end of the zip line than I did at the beginning – it could have been the adrenaline, it could have been more.  As for the superman, it’s worth it.  As I’m writing this post, it’s the next day and I’ve slept for 12 1/2 hours and my body hurts in more areas…but still workable. Just remember to give yourself at least a day to rest afterwards.

Next week I will continue to report on my health, health tips, and tests for the Ankylosing Spondylitis / Auto Immune Diet.  Until then, Pura Vida!

I’m No Superman

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.