Saturday, December 3, 2022

My Food Journey

As a general norm on the anniversary of the snow boarding accident that forever changed my life, I usually go out and do something crazy, PR a lift, try something new with one arm, give it all the middle finger and say, watch me live my life to the fullest despite you trying to destroy me. This year, for the big 13 years, I decided to do something different. Talk about my story and the power of food in my journey. 

To truly understand the power of food in my world, I have to talk about the accident, the CRPS, complex regional pain syndrome, let you into my world. I don't do this. I don't talk about it. I have become good at being able to nonchalantly say I have a disability, CRPS, very little use of my arm and go on. Watch me live my life. You would be hard pressed to know I have what I have by watching me live, that is intentional. Time to change this. I don't talk about my journey or what it has taken to survive these last 13 years. This is so much more difficult than PRing a lift.  

Here is my vulnerability. Putting myself out there, hoping to inspire others.

I went snow boarding 13 years ago trying to save the marriage I was in. In less than a year it had broken down and I set about to rebuild our friendship. This is the only reason I went snow boarding. I fell trying to figure out how to slide and move on the board. I landed on my hand and rolled over my wrist. Once I was no longer going to puke, pass out or both, knowing my wrist broken and I would end up the O.R., I got up and snow boarded the rest of the way down the mountain. NOT a smart choice. I made snow patrol and my doctors day by doing this, while changing my life forever. 

I had four different breaks, shatter my radius into a puzzle and a compressed fracture, put the bone into my joint. On my ulna, I had multiple fractures and a styloid fracture. I was in the O.R. the next day to have the shatter put back together, plated and screwed and the compressed fracture pulled out. It was decided to allow the styloid fracture to heal on it's own. Better idea than more hardware. No fault of anyone, my shattered radius did not heal properly, I lost a lot of bone and it moved because of this. 18 months after the accident, my wrist had to be fully reconstructed again. Bone grafting was taken out of my hip and placed in my radius, I have no clue how much hardware sits in my wrist any longer, enough that it has not moved in the years since, that was the only goal. They also found significant damage to my TFCC, shredded it along with all my joints, tears throughout my arm tissue from the fall, arthritis and other damage from losing so much bone in my radius. Let's just say, it was a big mess. 

Reconstruction fun

In the midst of all of this, I was diagnosed with an extremely severe and completely uncontrolled case of CRPS, complex regional pain syndrome. Medical science will tell you there is no pain greater than the pain of CRPS. How they figure and decide this, I don't know. It impacts your brain, nervous system, bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, every system in your body. Most who have CRPS have many, many other health issues and struggles. It is a devastating disorder/disease. It is ravaging my entire arm, from fingers into my chest, back, shoulder and sometimes my face and ear, the cold gets it. The case I have is rare in that mine freezes along with all the other pain. Burning pins and needles, being flawed off layer by layer with burning pain, bone pain that is deep, throbbing, shooting, feels like someone is taking a hammer to my arm and beating it. Muscle pain, never pain, changes colors, swells terribly, freezing pain. It is pretty bad when it is burning like hell and freezing at the same time. Nothing can touch it due to the burning, but it has to be wrapped up to keep it warm. Sometimes I can't get it to warm up because the bones are deeply frozen, my whole arm freezes. No one, including me can touch it. Look, but don't touch. These are some of the symptoms I deal with.

Through the years, there was no such a thing as pain control. The disorder ate through everything that was given to me or any procedures that were done for it. Plowed through anything like it was nothing. The CRPS has even obliterated ketamine, woke up towards the end of an infusion, I was being given the maxima amount of ketamine for my weight I could be given, at a 10 on the pain scale. You are not supposed to do that my doctor told me. I laughed and told him to tell that to the CRPS. It didn't care. I have walked through deaths doors twice from the pain. I have survived 11 months straight of a 9-10 on the pain scale every day. Maybe 6-7 weeks of relief and back to new levels of a 10, each cycle was worse than the last. I have lived through none-functioning states of pain multiple times. One of the worst cycle was when I was in the midst of my separation and divorce. Pretty scary when you look yourself in the mirror, knowing you can't put cloths on or off, couldn't even move my head without severe pain, can't walk without dying of pain with each step, not sleeping, if anything touched my arm, it was instant hoarrying pain, no job, no income, walking through a divorce. Not the best time in life.

After my last surgery, I found myself physically addicted to oxycodone and OxyContin, I was on both due to the severity of the pain. I was losing the battle of my life from the pain. Pain can kill you. I did a really stupid thing, I decided I was done with both of these drugs, hated how they made me feel and it wasn't helping with the pain enough to continue the nightmare from hell. I told one and cold turkied the drugs. Stopped taking them. Depths of hell is an understatement for what this withdrawal is. Please, please, please, please, seek help to come off any drugs/medications you are taking. Do not do this alone. It is very dangerous to deadly. There is no reason to go through this type of hell, there are other medicines and treatments to help with the withdrawal. Seek help. There is hope and a life on the other side of these addictions. This withdrawal left me utterly depleted. My body was ravaged. I already had nothing from the last 2 years of pain and surgeries, walking through deaths door, this withdrawal about did me in. I was exhausted, depleted, could barely function, I had nothing left. I was at the bottom struggling to survive.

spinal cord stimulator battery 

My body has been ravaged for the last 13 years managing extremely severe CRPS and everything it is doing to my body, surgeries, plates, screws, spinal cord stimulator, broken bones, arthritis,  healing, cold turkey withdrawal from oxycodone and OxyContin, it hasn't been a good 13 years for what my body has had to deal with and manage. 

Here is where foods comes in.

My food story isn't so much about how I have found healing through food, all my alignments went away and I am living the best life. The success story most are able to talk about. Yes, I did correct my hypoglycemia, blood sugar issues, being pretty sure I was going to end up a diabetic doing everything they told me to do, along with the debilitating struggles from leaning vegetarian and very low fat for so many years, fatigue was rampant. I corrected these issues with a Primal lifestyle. I would have a great story of healing if this is all that I had. 

But it is not.

I began eating more ancestral, Primal about a year before the accident. I was struggling with crushing chronic fatigue and nothing was working. I read Dr. Weston Price's book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" and found Mark over at reading everything I could get my hands on in ancestral health. I began drinking raw milk, full fat cream in my coffee, then switched over the bullet coffee, I was eating more and more meat, cut out the grains, and began making bone broth. I was well on my way in my Primal health journey. Then the accident. 

As much as I could, having other making meals, I continued eating Primally through all the surgeries and procedures I went through in the first years. Sometimes, I had to eat what was provided for me by others, it was generally good food, I can't complain. When I had the energy and ability to cook, it was Primal, lost of meat and fat, I craved meat as my bones were healing. As time went on, I began figuring out how to work through and with the pain, a lot of this included asking for help with cutting up food and then I would cook it. 

Foods that have had some of the greatest impact on my healing, recovery, and ability to be where I am health wise 13 years later:

Bone broth and collagen: I have been making bone broth and taking collagen before it was ever popular, 14 years ago. Bone broth is one of those deeply nourishing foods. Giving my body the minerals from these bones to help build and repair my bones after being broken and keep them healthier as the CRPS is eating my bones. I am fighting back with the minerals from the bones. Collagen from taking collagen as a supplement but also from making gelatinous broth, I am helping my joints that I shredded, muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue throughout my body heal, repair and strength. The benefit to my skin and hair is awesome!

Adding protein back in: I did the mostly plants, leaning towards vegetarian thing, it left me depleted, sick and getting worse. I was miserable. There is no way my health would be what it is today by not adding in all the meat I have. In recent years, it has been  more and more red meat, beef. I am giving my body the basic building blocks it needs to create me, build, repair muscles, nerves, bones, and give my body nutrients it needs to combat the evil CRPS is doing to my body. Animal protein provides the basics building blocks of amino acids that is needed to build, create, repair, along with key vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that we don't even know are there to be healthy. 

Animal fats: butter is one of the most amazing foods, edible gold, along with egg yolks. I eat these in abundance along with other full fat dairy, coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat, avocadoes, olive oil. All those healthy fats are needed to create hormones, our brains are mainly saturated fat, by eating all this fat, I am giving my body the nutrients needed for health, hormones, brain tissue, protecting my nerves. Animal fats are vital for health and longevity.

I do eat veggies and fruits. I strive to be more seasonal with these, not perfect. Berries and winter squash are some of my favorites. Great ways to add in more fat with fresh whipped cream and butter. 

My food journey isn't about how food healed me, I overcame this disease. Endless amount of energy. No more struggles, pain is gone, I am healed. I did correct my blood sugar issues, overcome a large portion of chronic fatigue, have lots of energy, feel better in my 40's than I did in my 20's, effortlessly maintain my weight. My food journey is on the other side. Yes, I still have CRPS. My eating hasn't taken that away. Food hasn't taken away the pain or swelling. Food has kept my body healthy, thriving even despite having CRPS. Food is giving my body the energy and nutrients required to fight back against something striving to destroy it. Sometimes it is not about taking away what it is that ails us, that isn't always possible. Sometimes we have to learn to live with what we have and make the most of life and support our health through food. This is what I have been doing for the last 13 years.

I hear about others who have CPRS and they have this health problem, that health problem, something else is breaking down in their body constantly, the laundry list of what is happening to them is insane. It is so sad. Every time they turn around it is something else. It is mind boggling. I don't have any of it. Nothing else but the CRPS. That is what food has done for me. I am giving my body the basic building blocks it needs through food, whole, nutrient dense, rich, real food, animal protein, especially beef these days, bone broth, collagen, lots of fat, butter, cream, whole eggs, and fruits and veggies to keep me healthy as I battle CRPS. Because my body is being deeply nourished and given what it needs through food, it can build, repair and keep me healthy so I can go chase my dreams, live my life to the fullest I can, despite having severe CRPS. Food is powerful. Food is healing. Food is life.

After massive doses of ketamine through an infusion and months of hell, the cycle finally broke. I have been living these last couple years at more manageable levels of pain, with bad days and periods. I am also taking LDN, low does Naltrexone, which has been a tremendous help in the battle of pain control. It might sound crazy, but I have said, if I could live between a 4-7 on the pain scale, I can live a great life. Most of the time, this is where I am currently. I am fighting like hell to stay here. No guarantees. It could all change tomorrow. I strive to make the most of where I am and live to the fullest for today.

We live in a fallen world. Sometimes damage is done that cannot  be undone. Eating healthy, deeply nourishing our bodies is about being as healthy as we can be despite what life has thrown at us. For me, it is saying, I am healthier today after 13 years of managing uncontrolled and severe CRPS and a month shy of 40th Birthday than I was in my 20's. I am healthier despite walking a road that has gone deep into the depths of hell. I have managed to stave off my body falling apart through deeply nourishing it. Food is medicine. It has the ability to heal to the best it can and fight back from what the world throws at us. This is the power of food, mindset and choosing to live life to the fullest I can no matter what has been sent my way. 

All my best,


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