I still cant’ spell that or say it correctly so I call it AS. That word up there is an auto immune disease that I got diagnosed with a month and a half ago. It’s basically arthritis of the spine. I have been having back issues since last Feb and nothing was helping. I would wake up most mornings with my rib cage just aching or a weird spot in my back hurting. Sometimes I would just feel locked up like I needed someone to do stretch me out or be put on a human stretching machine. You would think that I would have figured out what I had much sooner since my youngest brother was diagnosed with this several years ago (it’s genetic). He has really severe symptoms and so I just figured there was no way my little achy back was the same thing.
My chiropractor suggested I get tested along with general blood work to rule out other things at the beginning of summer. It was summer… so I didn’t do it until September. But what really got me to look up the symptoms was my middle son, Dallon was having back issues and I was more freaked out about him having it.. Sure enough, all the symptoms were MINE. I had Dallon tested and luckily he tested negative. But I tested positive and with my symptoms, that’s what it was.
My symptoms are mild. It is actually quite a debilitating disease for many. So far I can manage mine without any anti-inflammatory drugs (just live with a little pain and sleep on the couch). Over November and into December, things seemed to be getting worse and Alleve (which I don’t like taking anyway) wasn’t helping that much. So the dr prescribed another pain reliever similar to alleve but also prilosec and that is when I decided I wasn’t going the medicine route as my first option.
There has been a lot of research on this disease in both the western medical side and the dietary side. There seems to be a link between a bacteria in starch and the similarity of that bacteria in joints…. or something like that. It makes sense in my head and when I read it. But basically it means cutting out starch in your diet so that your immune system stops attacking both bacteria and leaves your joints alone. Guess what… there is starch in everything… everything I like to eat:P I felt overwhelmed for a few weeks. Like there was just no way I was going to be able to figure out what had starch let alone stick with it.
But two weeks before Christmas, I just dropped all grains one day… almost on a whim. It wasn’t as hard as the times I have tried to be low carb/gluten free. It turns out that grains have an opiate like affect and while they don’t make you crave more grains… they just make you crave more food. The second week of no grains, I dropped into a pretty bad depression. Bad enough where I was thinking “what is wrong with me”. I had no idea that there would be major withdrawal symptoms that far out from excluding grains from my diet. It was a relief to read that depression was one of the symptoms. I started to feel more like myself the day after Christmas, thank goodness.
I’ve made it four weeks and have been figuring out things along the way. I am more settled with the idea that I won’t have it all figured out in one week. The experts say give the diet 3 months and give yourself 6 months to figure out how to make it work for your lifestyle. Yesterday I had three packs of fruit snacks and I am pretty sure it caused a little flare up in my hip… I have no idea, just a guess. Now I need to figure out more meals and snacks that work for me. My house is full of cereal and granola bars and crackers and bread…. I’ve got four other people who live here. So far those things haven’t been overwhelmingly tempting… only when I am starving. I would really like to figure out some food for the whole family that is satisfying and works for all of us. I may be sharing more about this life change as I go. I am down another five pounds in the last four weeks, bonus. And my rib pain has disappeared. I just have a lingering hip pain (from those darn gummies) but nothing debilitating and I am very grateful for that.
The diet is basically a Paleo diet with no potatoes and bananas or chick peas (I am sure there are more things). It’s really just meat, salad (because most cooked veggies get starchy from the cooking) and dairy if you can tolerate it. Some people are able to add in this and that in small quantities. As I type this, I just remembered I had cooked broccoli last night too and I was going to see how things went (maybe it wasn’t the gummies). Anyway, it’s pretty basic. I got this book which is about IBS but the author realized later that she has AS and that the two were connected for her. This website, KICKAS.org has also been really helpful.