In August, Matthew started a three-month protocol designed to tackle biofilm-protected yeast colonies his gut.
Five months later we are feeling optimistic.
The Back Story
The symptom: debilitating nausea with no apparent cause.
The nausea first occurred in October 2013 after an autumn feast of chanterelle mushrooms I had picked.
It happened again when we ate chanterelles a second time that month.
And then just kept recurring. And getting worse. Until it gradually became Matthew’s most problematic symptom.
In fact, it was the severe nausea that finally prompted Matthew to take the leap and commit to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
After a few test runs, we both committed to the AIP long-term in December of 2013. Almost immediately, Matthew moved to an even more restrictive low-FODMAP version of the protocol to reduce his nausea.
Improved all of Matthew’s other symptoms, including arthritis pain, psoriasis and severe brain fog;
Enabled him to get off Methotrexate, a toxic medication that he had been taking for 10 years that caused its own host of nasty side effects;
Helped him significantly reduce prescription and non-prescription pain medication; and
Caused me to feel younger and more vital than I had in my adult life.
But Matthew’s nausea kept getting worse. Read More
Until recently we thought that Matthew’s disrupted sleep was just another one of his symptoms.
Yet another broken thing that needed to be fixed.
Now we’ve learned that his pattern of sleeping for a few hours, waking for a while and then returning to sleep for another session toward morning is a natural sleep pattern for humans.
The Paleobiology of Sleep
In 1992, a century after the advent of electricity, Dr Thomas Wehr published the results a groundbreaking study which simulated wintertime conditions for ‘middle-latitude‘ humans before we had artificial light.
Study subjects experienced 10 hours of daylight in which they could do as they pleased. And then 14 hours of darkness.
When not unnaturally constrained by electric light, it turns out that the human sleep pattern resembles that of other animals. It’s polyphasic, meaning that it occurs in two or more phases within a 24-hour period. Read More
Earlier this month I was at a noisy restaurant in Yaletown with my #2 kid and his best friend.
“It’s weird” his friend shouted (it was very hip and very loud), “all week at work I look forward to my days off, but when they come I don’t do anything. I have big plans, I want to work on my music and do stuff, but I just sit around and get depressed. It’s weird, but I’m actually happier when I’m at work.”
“Amazing that you’ve observed that about yourself!” I yelled back.
“That’s a thing, actually,” I hollered.
I was excited about his insight, so I kept shouting: “This researcher called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied optimal experience and found that people think they’ll enjoy their time off, but actually they’re happier when their activities are structured around goals that are set at an appropriate level of challenge and they can get concrete feedback from their environment…”
I figured I was probably out of bounds by that point.
I’m not adept at discerning where the boundaries of normal social discourse are, but I know they generally end right about where my interest in things begins, so as soon as I start to feel really enthusiastic, I know it’s usually time to stop talking. Read More
Before Matthew became disabled by autoimmune disease, we had a lot of really good sex.
In fact, when we first got together, a bunch of our friends broke up because they could tell (we weren’t saying anything, they could just tell) that we were having better sex than they were ever going to have together.
But then Matthew got sick.
Really, really sick.
And what had been a source of strength in our relationship became a real problem.
A real problem in a big monster pile of really-real problems.
It took years. And a devastating amount of vulnerability, maturity and compassion, but we figured out how to put our sexual selves back in the centre of our marriage.
They’re hiding in scraps of urban wilderness. In the wild (and rewilding) places that still grow all around us.
Inviting us to return to our habitat.
All the new research points in one direction: to be well, humans need to live as we evolved to do.
In our patterns of eating, sleeping, and moving, in our relationships with each other and with nature, if we can get ancestral (while maintaining all the best bits of our technological and medical advances) we’ll be fine.