I seriously think my doctor is trying to kill me.
It just wasn’t enough to have bread, pasta, cake, cookies and any other type of wheat-based food out of my life 6 years ago because of my wheat and gluten intolerance. Not to mention the 5 years I had to avoid all fruits and most vegetables (including corn, tomatoes, onions and anything high in fructose) to avoid the constant migraines. But now, the doctor is telling me I have to avoid the three most delicious parts of my diet: cheese, chocolate and wine (I think I just died a little inside).
The Reasoning Behind It
My most recent blood test of my T cells (a.k.a. white blood cells) showed that I have more than double the amount of these inflammatory cells in my bloodstream. This means that my body is obviously on the defense against something (probably one of the neurotoxins or bacterial infections I’ve developed in the past month). When this count is really high, it’s not necessarily a good thing though — especially in an auto-immune disease, because it causes flare-ups and inflammation around the joints (and all over the body), which can cause joint damage and chronic pain. The test also found a high sensitivity to environmental molds and bacterias (which is kind of hard to avoid in such a moist climate like San Francisco). Molds are just gross, but medically they also can also cause inflammation and allergies in someone who is sensitive to them (who am I kidding, I’m just an overly sensitive person on all accounts).
So with both of these test results not leaning in my favor, my doctor decided to suggest that I limit my dietary intake even more to avoid inflammation and infections that are making my RA “out of control”, as he put it.
In other words, he said to avoid foods that are high in mold and yeast, including aged cheese, chocolate and wine — um, excuse me doc, but if you tell me I can’t drink VINO on difficult days, you’re basically shortening my lifespan of happiness. When I tried to make that argument on the phone last week, his counter-argument was that I already shouldn’t be drinking alcohol with Methotrexate…oops. What the heck do doctors know anyway?!
There are various studies out that also suggest that night-shade vegetables can cause inflammation in some people (night-shade veggies include tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. I’m sorry but if you think I’m giving up my potato chips and french fries too, you are crazy! And then the Arthritis Foundation suggests having a diet full of Omega 3 and fish oils (except I want to avoid too much fish because I’m on a roll for lowering my mercury levels in my body) that are a natural anti-inflammatory. All of this really just makes me depressed…
Taking Away Happiness
It has only been a week since I have been given the dietary restrictions from my doctor, and I’m already seeing how much fun this is going to be. I really do love cheese — especially as a snack with some sour green apples and gluten-free sea salt crackers. And what about my mexican baked dishes and parmesan on my pasta?! There is hope though, because I can have some cheeses, like mozzarella and provolone and maybe even goat cheese. Just nothing aged and delicious.
And don’t even talk to me about giving up chocolate during “that time of month”. I don’t think you want to be around me…just FYI.
And then there’s the wine limitation. I know I have not been very good at limiting alcohol while taking Methotrexate for the past 6 months (it’s just a suggestion on the label, anyway). What’s one glass of wine to help me fall asleep at night?! And I was doing fairly well cutting back my wine intake this past week while I have been on the various antibiotics (okay, I know my sister will call me out on this, so I should be honest — in one week, I cheated with a glass of wine on Friday night and then an Irish Coffee on Sunday…oops). But seriously people, I really don’t know how I am going to nearly STOP drinking wine (emphasis on the nearly). It is killing me just thinking about it.
At the end of our phone consultation last week, my doctor laughed when he said he must be taking away my dating life with these limitations too. He’s probably right…wine, cheese, chocolate are all very romantic foods. Taking away these indulgences that help fulfill my little sweet tooth is like taking away my happiness.