I am happy to report that my pain levels continue to be lower. I had mentioned this to be the case at the end of my last post, and this trend has continued. Though I can still feel ongoing low-level nerve sensations, as well as more intense pain flareups from time-to-time, and know that the process of nerve destruction continues at some pace, I have not felt the need to sleep with an icepack and generally feel somewhat better. I’d say the quality of my life has been improving. Occasional brainfog has been my most bothersome symptom over the past several days, though I feel I am somewhat accustomed to that. I continue to read and immerse myself in different activities to counteract this.
A few things I think may be helping on the pain front:
- I’ve gone gluten free since around a month ago. I’m not sure if its coincidental, but I think this may be helping. While I did not test positive for a gluten allergy, its possible that I have a sensitivity which inflames my system, serving to worsen the problem. I might research this further.
- I’ve been listening to the audiobook “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, and have been diligent in practicing one of the pain management techniques it delves into. It involves visualizing the damaged area healing each every time you feel pain, in order to help foster new neural pathways. I’ve also been doing hypnosis which I think is very helpful. I plan to write a separate blog entry about in the near future.
- Over the Thanksgiving week, I took a vacation to Hawaii. I’ve noticed there is a constant, sea breeze there. I think this is very helpful for the nerves. Prior to this trip, I noticed when I take showers, pain seems to be a lot less during the showering process. I think this is the case, in part, because the process of showering bombards the sensory nerves, triggering pleasant signals which counteract or distract the mind from the pain sensations. I had been wondering if there is a way to replicate the shower sensation outside of the shower – and when I was in Hawaii I had an “aha” moment when experiencing the constant pleasant winds. In the future, I think I will invest in some fans I can setup where I live to try to simulate this.
Separately, as of several weeks ago, I decided to stop taking nearly all the supplements I had been taking that my naturopathic doctor recommended. I suspected the dosages she was giving me were too high. Given that my pain has lessened, it makes me further question that road. I think from each doctor I have seen, I have learned various tidbits of truths, but the path to gain a holistic understanding will continue to be my own journey.
Currently, I still take hemp extract CBD oil, along with GABA and Bach Rescue Remedy spray. These help with anxiety – particularly the GABA supplement combined with the hemp extract CBD oil. The Bach Rescue Remedy spray may simply be placebo, I don’t know.
As for medications, I have not used the Gabapentin that was prescribed to me. It is interesting, that the neurologists I have spoken with about this, pretty much tell me its safe to use, particularly in low doses. However, the FDA label has some pretty bad side effects in it, including 1 in 500 people becoming suicidal. I’ve read some really bad patient reviews of it, including people who start hallucinating and hearing voices. I really don’t want to mess with a drug that could do that. At the same time, about half the people who use it, seem to get a very good benefit from it, and so I don’t discount that. I just don’t think in my situation it warrants going down that path, unless my pain was at a 8+ level every day, and simply had no other choice. As of today, this is not the case.
I have also read that Gabapentin may effect neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and adjust to its corresponding environment, learn new things, etc. Neuroplasticity represents my great hope at the moment, that I will be able to heal naturally. I do not want to do anything that could potentially close this window of hope.
Given that I feel my condition was likely triggered in part by an antibiotic I had taken a few years ago (which I wrote extensively about in my Oct 3 post), I remain ever-the-skeptic when it comes to pharmaceuticals, and am well aware of the unintended consequences that can occur when the risks are downplayed or glossed over.
And so, I continue down this path, in hopes that the pain will continue to be at low and manageable levels – and will appreciate each and every moment when it is 🙂