7th Dec 2016
The past 3 months have been tough for me mainly because of a relapse of my autoimmune disorder. As a result my old injuries have been resurfacing one by one and they aren’t healing because of the overwhelming amounts of inflammation in my system. From Plantar Fasciitis in both feet, to a swollen ankle, left ITB irritation, left hip impingement, stiff thoracic vertebrae and most recently, a severely strained right rhomboid. Its really depressing and thank goodness for the holidays which allow me some free time to research, rest and relax. Reluctantly, I’ve had to stop most physical activities for a week now (expecially the part of having to stop ring work and pull-ups 😥 ).
There is still one more shot of Humira left in the fridge but I’m saving that for a dire emergency. Its really effective and all my aches and pains could go away in a few days after one jab but there are downsides to becoming dependent on an immune system suppressing medication. From costing nearly $1000 a shot to weakening my immune system. Thus, I’ve been slowly trying to wain off these jabs.
Having heard of the ability of a water-only fast to reduce the symptoms of autoimmune disorders, I decided to try fasting. My plan was not to jump straight into the deep end by going on a 7-day fast right off the bat. I’m going to progressively increase the duration of the fast while allowing my body ample time to recover from them. Naturally, I started with a 1 day water fast first.
I have no blood work to show as my next specialist appointment is in January so I can only write on how I felt about my symptoms before and after the fast.
During the fast, I started to feel progressively lower in energy as the day wore on. This is normal from what I’ve read and heard on podcasts. The hunger and “zombification” is said to peak on day 2/3.
1. Overall body ache
This comes as a result of the vast amounts of inflammation in my system. Its like the stiffness you’d feel in every joint in your body when you get a fever. There is also this inflamed feeling in your head behind your eyes. Getting out of any static position is painful and awkward and takes a looong time. Almost as if miraculously, after water-fasting for a day, I can safely say 90% of my aches were GONE!
2. Chronic Injuries
- Ankle Swelling – The swell and redness in my right ankle was significantly smaller but still visible. This particular injury came about after overstretching in plantar flexion 4 days ago while doing yoga. The swelling didn’t go down but kept growing with each day…
- Plantar Fasciitis – The pain in my left heel was much lesser than the day before. Right heel is also feeling much lesser pain when the plantar fascia gets stretch when walking. It does help that I have been doing stretching exercises and a contrast bath protocol of icing it with an ice pack and soaking it in a bath of water + Epsom Salt (magnesium sulphate) at room temperature whenever the cold numbed me too much. I’ve also been wearing custom orthortics everywhere I go. At home included.
- ITB – almost gone! Its worth mentioning that I’ve been resting it a lot recently and it has been improving.
- Hip Impingement – This one was tricky. It started to get better on days 1 and 2 after fasting but then I must have irritated it by stretching it too much. (I’m an injury-prone idiot that tends to take things a little too far sometimes… ) Today, 11th Dec, its gotten so bad that I’m walking with a visible limp and need close to 10 seconds to stand up straight from a prolonged sitting/static position…
- Rhomboid strain – this injury was my own doing (no surprise here). I got too zealous in one of my workouts. That wasn’t the end of it. I continued working out the next few days (probably weeks) with rest days interspersed, despite feeling that sharp pain in my back at the start of each workout. Its like coach Christopher Sommer’s analogy of slamming your finger in a door. The stupid athlete, in his eagerness to continue training at all costs, ‘continues slamming that friggin’ finger in the door, day after day after day after day, until its too broken that he suddenly realises, “Oh, I should stop this before its too late!” Usually its too late by then and that’s the start of chronic injuries.
- Lumbar Back stiffness – I felt much more relieved of the stiffness and mobile 1 or 2 days after the fast. However at present, 4 days later, the stiffness in my lower right spine has started to build up significantly again. Could this be the source of my left hip pains? Possibly since it has gotten so bad that I find rotating my hip extremely difficult and my walking gait is severely compromised now.
The effects of that simple one plus day fast (32 hours) speaks for itself. Fasting IS an effective and brilliant recovery tool. However, as reported in the paper and my own experiences, to completely reduce symptoms and put an autoimmune disease into remission, I would have to fast much longer than a day (“from one to three weeks”). Then maintain a strict diet (vegan in the article, but I’m going to try cyclic-keto again) to prevent symptoms from returning. Tomorrow, after 5 days of returning to my normal diet, I’m going to attempt fasting for 2 days, possibly more.
Fingers and toes crossed,