First the Basics: LDN 101

"LDN" (low dose naltrexone) is an "alternative" medication used with surprising success in treating immune disorders, both autoimmune and immune deficient. Taken orally at bedtime, LDN works by briefly blocking opiate receptors, thereby "tricking" the body into increasing endorphin production. Endorphins being a central part of the immune system, increasing their production has been shown to help correct immune defects.


Leaving My Comfort Zone- 1st Vacation in 8 Years!

UPDATE: It was freaking AWESOME!

I went to the beach and played (carefully) in the surf, but only in the early mornings because it was way too hot later in the day; the heat index got up to 100 every day by noon. 

I went to the old kite shop and bought a couple of little souvenirs, but didn't actually fly any kites on this trip because it was just too hot; pretty much the whole time I was on the beach, I was in the water. 

And speaking of the water, I didn't go out as far in the water as I used to; only to about waist depth this time, because I could feel my relative weakness against the waves and didn't care to drown.

The only negative symptom I experienced at all was a case of exceptionally bad leg cramps the first afternoon from that first morning in the surf, but after resting my legs on soft pillows in the air conditioning for a few hours they were fine. 
Beaucoup de seaweed, but ZERO jellyfish or man-o-wars.
"Shells Seafood and Pasta"; only 9 tables in this little gem- wonderful food!
Virginia's on the Bay, open air dining on porches right by the water; comfortable enough thanks to ceiling fans. Lovely food!
We ate several wonderful meals of fresh seafood in great restaurants and just generally enjoyed the coast. I'll definitely go back, but never again in the heat of summer- next time maybe October or April.
My last time on the beach at Port A, 2005.

Well, it's summertime here in Texas again, and in the spirit of making lemonade out of the considerable tonnage of lemons dumped on me by the heat, I'm psyching myself up for an actual, spend-the-night-away-from-home vacation!
This is a HUGE big deal for me; I haven't been anywhere other than day trips to San Antonio since 2005, largely due to complex logistical challenges coupled with a general lack of wherewithal, but also due to waning self-confidence. 
Venture out of the Comfort Zone.
But a few weeks ago, in an unexpected moment of clarity, I suddenly realized how small I've let my comfort zone become, and while there are plenty of valid reasons and excuses for it, I had to admit that in many cases I've simply been giving up too easily. I used to be pretty fearless, but as an MS patient, avoiding stress has become a natural reflex, and I've become very comfortable in my tiny routine. The result is that I don't attempt much anymore and just don't fully live, which is a waste and stupid.

In my state of resignation I guess I never really expected to travel again, although I hadn't thought much about it. For the last few years, I've only left home (I don't mean the house, I mean the property) two or three times a week, and 99% of the time that's to go to the grocery store in the closest town; a pleasant errand but kinda pathetic for that to be the highpoint of the week when you really think about it.  
Anyway, just as I was pondering the need to reverse the shrinkage of my comfort zone, I was invited out of it by my little brother Billy, and this time by golly I'm driving right on out of my comfort zone! On more than one occasion years ago I planned (but eventually cancelled) this same trip, but this time dammit I'm seriously gonna go. 
Sunrise over the Gulf
Specifically, we're going to my favorite place on the Texas coast, Port Aransas, for a few days in late June. I'll be meeting brother Billy there. Throughout childhood we went to Port A at least twice a summer. 

Little brother Billy is an active "youngster" of 60, a sweet and gracious man who will hopefully be joyously celebrating the San Antonio Spurs victory over the Miami Heat by then. I'm a Spurs fan too but Billy's a serious enough fan to hold season tickets so obviously we scheduled our trip for right after the finals.
I'll be taking my rolling walker along, which has big tires that ought to semi-function on the beach, at least well enough to get me from the car to a spot on the sand; it has a big pouch and a basket, which I'll use for sunscreen and other supplies, and any seashells I might find. Mostly I just like to sit on the beach, but I plan to take a tape recorder along so I can record the sounds of the waves and the sea gulls. I'll take a lot of pictures too and I'm sure I'll eventually go in the water:o). I get seasick easily so I keep off rafts. 
My kites soaring over the beach, back in the day...
Awesome kites; the place always used to smell like patchouli:)
I used to fly kites on the beach because there's always a breeze, and I had a nice collection, but I gave them all away a few years ago when I was feeling defeated. Maybe I'll get a new kite and fly it.
And of course there will be the wonderful feasting on plentiful, fresh seafood, not so easily found inland.
This time, and hopefully in general, I'm not letting myself entertain doubts or concerns; I know I have "issues" and some things will be tricky, but I'm just gonna go for it while I still can.
Wish me luck!

Oh, and, for the record, I'm still taking LDN for my MS, 4.5 mg nightly as always, and have no plans to ever switch or to add anything pharmaceutical. I believe LDN has helped keep my immune system more stable than the conventional meds would have, but of course there's no real way to know. If I ever do change or abandon my LDN protocol, or if for some reason I simply can't get it and have to stop taking it, I'll announce it. So basically always assume I'm still on LDN and am still an advocate for LDN for MS. 

No comments: