Like I mentioned in my earlier post about Paleo f(x) found here, the main reason I made the trek down to Austin was to speak with as many experts, doctors, nutritionists, etc as I could in order to try and treat my epilepsy naturally and hopefully one day, come off my meds completely. I wasn’t disappointed. While listening to a panel (that included Amy, Robb Wolf, and neurosurgeon Dr Jack Kruse) talk about proper sleep and recovery and how they both tie into health and longevity, I had a stark realization that my lack of quality sleep definitely has a major impact on my seizure threshold. I’ve always been able to fall asleep, and sleep for a long time as well. The problem is, I am constantly moving in my sleep and waking me up on an average morning would take the sound of an avalanche cannon being fired right outside. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. While I was listening to this panel, however, something just clicked and I started to realize that my sleep quality could very well be due to poor adrenal function and/or cortisol problems. Since Robb and I have talked about my epilepsy angle in the past, I knew I had to try and grab him to chat about it some (with a crowd like this, MUCH easier said than done, especially when he was trying to catch a plane to head home to his family). When I finally was able to speak with him, he pretty much confirmed my suspicions. He recommended that I get a full hormone panel done (cortisol, testosterone, DHEA, thyroid) and if I could find it, an Adrenal Stress Index test. Luckily, I have a Dr’s appointment set up in the next couple of weeks so I can have him order all that. It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t able to speak with Robb a little more but he is a popular guy at events like this. Hopefully, we’ll be able to chat a little more once I get some results from my hormone panel.
The most promising information I received was from Dr Jack Kruse. I first heard about Dr Kruse (much later than most of the Paleo community I found out) during the Paleo Summit that Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness put together a month prior. As soon as Dr Kruse’s interview came up and he was introduced as a neurosurgeon, I immediately gave it my full attention. I couldn’t believe that there was a Paleo doc out there who was also a neurosurgeon. I absorbed all his information about leptin and circadian biology from that interview and also a couple weeks later, he was on the UG Wellness radio show talking about Cold Thermogenesis, or essentially cold adapting our bodies to improve metabolism, immunity, longevity, and a whole lot more (including something that Jack is holding onto called Factor X).
After Dr Kruse’s CT presentation at Paleo f(x), there was a small group of people (myself included) that followed him offstage where he was nice enough to answer everyone’s questions. I had to wait about 45 minutes until everyone else had their questions answered and then I was able to speak with him about my condition and whether or not CT and a ketogenic diet would help at all. As soon as I said ‘I have epilepsy and…..’ his eyes lit up and told me that CT + ketosis would absolutely help if not completely treat my symptoms. He went on to explain that there is some brain re wiring that happens with CT and because epilepsy is down to it’s nuts and bolts, an electrical misfire(s) in the brain, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t think this could re wire the epilepsy right out of my brain. I wish I could have seen my face when he told me that. It’s hard not to fill myself with hope at the prospect of a cure without the use of drugs or surgery, but I will admit that’s exactly what happened at that moment (and I still feel optimistic). I thanked him for his insight and advice and he told me to stay in contact as to my progress and if I had any questions don’t hesitate. I won’t.
I was flying high just on that brief 5-10 minute conversation I had with Dr Kruse for sure. The friends I was staying with (I had only met them through facebook groups like IPMG with the exception of three people I had met in person) all asked if I got some useful information and were all genuinely excited that I was able to speak with him one on one and he provided an avenue for me to explore for my journey.
To my surprise, the next day we were all celebrating St. Paddy’s Day in our own paleo way (although rules were definitely bent in the name of this amazing day), in walks a group of guests including Dean Dwyer of Being Primal and his brother Eddie, who incidently also has epilepsy but I didn’t find that out until later that night at dinner and of course, none other than Jack Kruse. We talked a little more about my situation and what I can do. But again, when we were talking about it, he told me straight to my face, without hesitation, that there was a good chance I could be seizure free and off meds PERMANENTLY if I did CT. I’m sure I did another Tex Avery style jaw-dropping-eyes-bugging-out face but if in fact it works, this could be HUGE for the epilepsy community.
In the end, I would say that Paleo f(x) for me was a HUGE success. I was able to meet and befriend a ton of new people as well as catch up with a few old friends. But the highlight of the entire weekend had to be speaking with the paleo experts about my situation and what my goal is to treat it. I absolutely can not wait for the Ancestral Health Symposium in August. By then I should have some results worth sharing.
Since leaving the conference and returning to L.A., I’ve definitely started paying more attention to my diet in terms of maintaining ketogenesis. There will be a series of posts coming up chronicling my experience with CT and it’s impact on my epilepsy as well. I should also mention that about a week after returning I finally perfected my Ketogenic Pizza. When I showed it to Dr Kruse, he went bananas and decided to make some of his own. Turns out, he’s going to include it in his next cookbook and call it the ‘Sean Series’. I’m pretty excited about that.