I spent most of last week at mum’s, as my 9-year old niece was with us for half term (she doesn’t live locally so every second is precious). She’s a real whirlwind and keeps everybody on their toes but, while it was great to spend some time with her and the folks, it also meant being surrounded by temptation on an almost hourly basis. Wine, beer, cheese, bread, chicken in sauce, sausage and mash, Vienetta….. sheer agony.
I don’t have a problem doing what I have to do, when I’m at home, because it’s just me and I have a routine that I stick to religiously. It’s not a chore, it doesn’t bother me, in fact I enjoy the scheduling, planning and preparation required to arrange my meals and make sure I don’t go hungry. But when I’m out of the safety of my organised apartment, everything can go haywire.
For five days, I found myself forgetting to take my supplements, not ensuring I had proper ingredients to make what I needed to. But trying to co-ordinate my own meals to coincide with everyone else’s so we could all sit at the table together, was a real nightmare. I was treading water, losing my resolve, and I felt anxious and vulnerable all week. Instead of feeling stronger the longer this has gone on, I actually felt weaker, mentally, as though I would slip up at any moment. I realised that I felt much more isolated in company, than when I am on my own, because everything I cannot have, is right in front of me. Seeing, smelling, and almost tasting what everyone else was eating, was torture, and I can honestly say that I have never, ever craved a glass of wine or a slice of cheese on toast more than I have this past week. I even started having words with myself, like “well you’ve done 40 days, so it will be FINE to stop now. Go on, HAVE A DRINK…”.
But there were two things wrong with that suggestion – firstly, my symptoms were still there so, even if I had have stopped at Day 40 and begun reintroducing one food (ie. wine), there would be no way of telling if alcohol was a trigger, because I still had lesions. And until they disappear, or go dormant, for at least a week, then I can’t reintroduce anything and hope to either identify it as ‘safe’ or ‘a trigger’. Secondly, I’d have hated myself completely if I’d have given up before the full 60 days. I know I have to follow this to the letter, even if it’s to confirm that it doesn’t work, otherwise there’ll always be a doubt.
So it was a pretty tough week, temptation-wise, but the good news is that, after the pain of Weeks 4-5, things seem to be back on track and the lesions have reduced dramatically. I’m guessing that was the antibiotic cream, in large part, but it could also be a leveling out of hormones and/or results of this detox. It may also be the turmeric & ginger tea I’ve been brewing and drinking on a thrice-daily basis. Ah Jeez, it could be anything or nothing, let’s face it. But turmeric is well known for its magical anti-inflammatory powers, as is ginger, and the number of HS patients reporting an almost complete cessation of their symptoms after taking regular turmeric tonics, is too great to ignore. Problem is, it has to be fresh turmeric, not the powdered stuff you get from Schwartz. And can I find any? Can I buggery. Today, I wasted hours trudging from Chinese supermarket to Turkish grocer to L7 Village Market, to Pakistani deli, and even to Sainsbury’s, nearly four miles away, after their rubbish website happily declared they had fresh turmeric in stock. They lied. In the end I had to order online, at four times the cost and with an inevitable time delay for delivery, so I hope the interruption in my turmeric-tonic-taking, will not hinder my recovery.
Much of this is trial and error, anyway, so the good days I’m having right now could be bob-all to do with the turmeric, it’s just that I tend to cling on to anything which might be the sign of something magical. My only wish right now, is to be lesion-free, or at least lesion-dormant, by Day 60 (which happens to be Friday 13th…), so I can begin reintroducing small amounts of, yes, alcohol, on Day 61-64, and maybe have a proper night out on Day 65. That’s Wednesday March 18th… and it’s marked in big red pen on my kitchen calendar.
In the meantime, I am trying to stay in as much as I can (aside from my daily walks), and remain detached from temptation. There are a couple of events I do want to go to, and they’re going to be just as tough to cope with as staying in a house with a wine fridge, especially since one of the gigs has free food and drink, none of which I can have. But at least I can now see and feel something positive happening, and just hope it continues because I feel at a very delicate stage now, where one more setback might just send me running into the arms of Mr and Mrs Smirnoff and their children, Dairylea and Primula.
But hey, I’ve lost a stone, and another meat box arrives tomorrow (thank GOD!), so that’s worth a celebratory peppermint tea and a banana, right?
Week 6 (of 8)
Average daily calorie intake: 998
Energy level: 8/10
HS severity: 5/10 (yay!)
Weight loss: 3lbs
Total weight loss (42 days): 14lbs (one stone)