- Pregnant or nursing
- Are under the age of 18
- Have active cancer
- Have liver disease, hepatitis
- Have Type 1 Diabetes
- Are on medications for bipolar disorder
- Have an allergy to any ingredient listed
It was the spring of 1966 and an orthopedic surgeon who was also a golfer was having a drink next to the putting green at the Meadow Club, where an 11 year old boy was practicing his stroke. After watching the boy for awhile the doctor turned to his golfing buddy and said "Stew, your son has a back problem". Of course the son was me and I had a condition called spondylolisthesis (say that 10 times fast) which was not a particularly supercalifragilisticexpealidocious thing to have but the only immediate impact was that I was not allowed to play football which didn't bother me that much because the coaches were all mean sons of bitches that couldn't talk without yelling. It cropped up in my early thirties from the jogging addiction that I shared with most of the population of Marin at the time and laid me out such that I had to wear a brace for several years. Then I discovered a fitness class that consisted of geriatrics and...me. But the gentle exercises and breathing worked a miracle and within weeks I threw the brace in the trash and went back to all my outdoor recreational activities. My good fortune lasted until just a few years ago when, in the wake of the passing of both my parents and my wife's mom, a shoulder surgery and an elbow surgery, L5 decided to slip just enough so as to effectively eliminate the remaining space above S1, creating a bone on bone situation that was intolerable. After a couple of more years of pain management, which became an exercise in pill management, I had spinal fusion surgery. 3 months later my feet went numb.
And so begins one of those medical cluster fucks that will one day become a bittersweet backdrop to a romantic zombie thriller, but for now only feels like someone is dining on my flesh, specifically the flesh of my feet. The condition is described as "peripheral neuropathy", which is common among diabetics but in my case was caused by nerve "damage" - the reason I quote that is because my sciatic nerve may not actually be damaged but is behaving as if it is. However it may be that it was impinged for so long - 40+ years - that suddenly having so much real estate to play around in has caused it to be a little overactive. At any rate it causes debilitating pain in my feet which only recently, after two years of trying every pain remedy known to man and some that are only known to chimps, is finally under control. That is until 9 days ago, when I started THE CLEANSE.
I noticed the pain returning within 48 hours of my first shake, and by day 3 it was if it had never left. So naturally I got in touch with the incredibly kind and supportive people at The Clean Program and told them what was going on, and they informed me that it was possible that the detoxification agents in the powders that are added to the shakes could be interfering with the absorption of the opioid medications that I use to manage pain. Also, the medicine I use to help me sleep, which has been a sore spot for many years, is also used to treat bipolar disorder (so you weren't completely wrong!), even though my dosage is a 100th of what would be used by the manics. We felt it was an unlikely cause. By day 7 my misery had compounded and the folks at the clean program told me to back off the cleanse and go back to the elimination diet for a few days to see what happened. But I wasn't about to give up so easily and stuck with the shakes, until tonight. Tonight, and I don't know which is more painful - sitting here writing this blog or listening to my lovely companion rail at me for sitting here writing this blog. But now, after an hour or two of relative calm and relatively high doses of schedule 2 medications, the pain is creeping back.
So, in 3 or 4 days I should know whether I'm cut out for this cleansing business or whether I shall appear pregnant forevermore. Actually I think the elimination diet will be very effective at eliminating the old jelly belly but right now I really don't give a rat's ass so long as my feet stop hurting!! But don't go away...for the next several days rather than "One Shake at a Time" it might be "One Mango at a Time". Perhaps I won't be such an ornery cuss with a couple mangos in me.
*Of course all of my characterizations are gross exaggerations and none of what I've said from the day I was born and until the day I die is meant to be taken seriously and on the rare occasions that it is you will know because there will be a gravitas so downright depressing that you'll want to slit my wrists. This disclaimer is the direct result of being browbeaten by my beloved for "dissing" the clean program which is really the most effective and user friendly cleanse out there but when I told her I was only trying to get laid she was okay.