Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm Back and My Back

My breastfeeding days are numbered.  Rory is down to one feed per day (just before bedtime).  But what I feared has become reality....my arthritis has returned.

Those who have been regular readers of this blog for quite some time will know that I have a type of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondyltitis in my lower back.  I was diagnosed after a year of thinking I had a back injury from sport or from sleeping on bad mattresses.  My local doctor picked it up straight away when I complained of back pain in the early hours of the morning which eased when I got up and moved around.  A blood test confirmed his suspicions as the test showed I have a genetic marker called HLA B27.  AS is an autoimmune condition where my white blood cells mistake my own cells for a bacteria called Klebsiella (so they basically attack my own body).  Most people manage the condition with anti-inflammatories and lots of exercise, but I decided I didn't want 20 years of Celebrex.  Two months after my diagnosis, Duncan's cousin's husband told me about how the pain can be managed by a low starch diet.  The Klebsiella bacteria feed off starch in the intestine and that sets off the autoimmune reaction.  If there's little or no starch in the body, the bacteria will effectively starve and therefore my back will not be so inflamed.

Here's a recap for those who are interested:
The Back Verdict
Life With AS
Six Months of Weird Diet Complete!
Diary of an Incubator: Pregnancy and AS

The thing I really enjoyed about being pregnant and breastfeeding is that the arthritis went into remission.  After a year of little or no bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, bananas, corn, cakes, chips etc (basically everything I love), I was scoffing vast quantities of them again with no pain!  It was one of those mysteries.  Even Dr Google doesn't know what causes it.  Most articles I read said sometimes pregnancy makes AS better, sometimes worse, and sometimes no difference.  Now that I'm nearly done with breastfeeding, I have to go back on the low starch diet.  Booooo!

I've been back on it for nearly three weeks now.  Bye bye cereal and a banana for breakfast, hello fruit and yogurt and a fruit smoothie (and sometimes scrambled eggs).  Bye bye cookies with flour, and hello cookies with almond meal.  Bye bye looking at menus with glee at all the wonderful options, hello thinking what the heck am I going to eat at this cafe (a limp salad does not sound appealing).

Almond meal choc chip cookies

Low starch breakfast - fruit and yogurt and a mixed berry smoothie

I still often wake up in some discomfort in the mornings.  My left hip has been playing up recently.  I don't know if I'm not being strict enough with what I eat, or if the diet is not as effective this time around.

I'm going to try a Bioflow wristband next.  Everyone I've talked to who has one reckon they're great and, besides, what have I got to lose?

It's very tempting to have another child so I can go into remission again (Duncan says, "NO!")

1 comment:

Iris Flavia said...

Awwww, that´s an awful diet, Sarah (I wish you strength, though!) - and... bet Rory´d just love a sibling.
My Brother was born when I was already 5 years old, all those years I was an only child weren´t good and then the gap between us was too large for many years, so.... two good reasons for talking about another Baby?