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Seeking foods that help heal nerve and spinal cord damage

 
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A member of my family has received an allopathic diagnosis that is less than hopeful. The problem is probably permanent damage to the spinal cord and nerves that causes extreme pain and electric shock sensations.

It is not a problem with inflammation, and due to other health issues, the standard anti inflammatory foods trigger some rather unpleasant symptoms. We need something that focuses on helping the actual nerves.

Are there any foods that would help heal or at least sooth some of the symptoms from the nerve damage?
 
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I'm not sure if you mean nerve damage caused by trauma or by disease, but I suspect that in either case you could learn a lot from researching Terry Wahls and the Wahl Protocol.

Here's a video of her talking about her work, which she has since extended to include full-blown medical trials.

 
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I know of one or two natural supplements that may help with nerve repair beyond just inflation, but also contain enough anti-inflammatories they may still be a problem. Although I find it hard to believe there isn't any inflammation, everyone has inflammation problems with modern diets.

Having bad side effects from anti inflammatory diet or supplements usually means a bacterial infection, h pylori, in the stomach. Most people have h pylori and it is part of the cause of ulcers, so getting rid of it is just a good idea. Treat that first with a month of daily cayenne capsules, 100,000 heat units or stronger. A bottle of 100 pills is $4.99 on Amazon and will treat three people at the minimal dose. Then see if anti inflammatory diet or supplements help.

 
r ranson
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Although I find it hard to believe there isn't any inflammation, everyone has inflammation problems with modern diets.



So true.

We participate very little with the modern diet. It's difficult to express how different my diet is without walking you through my kitchen, so I'll wander off topic for a moment to tell you why we don't prescribe to a modern diet.

In my personal experience, I find that food is one of the most powerful medicines. I got very ill, and allopathic medicine did all it could for me. Doctors started talking of my life expectancy in weeks instead of the decades I'm suppose to have left. They had all but given up. It was about this time I found Sally Fallon's book, Nourishing Traditions. With the help of family, I drastically changed my diet. I use to eat fairly healthy by modern standards, hate fast food, ate maybe four chocolate bars a week, no soda, my pre-fab meal would be something like comercial pasta sauce which I added a whole slew of home grown vegi too. All that changed. I took every New World Food out of my diet, focusing on pre-industrial diet from England (where my family is from) and Japan (without the soy, and because it's delicious, nourishing and makes me feel vigorous), low fibre (due to crohn's like issues), and every single scrap of nourishment we make from ingredients that we source with great attention, or grow ourselves (it also involved moving from the city to a farm). A complete drastic overhaul of not just what I eat and how it's prepared, but also how the ingredients were made. I want to eat bacon, I find a farmer that raises the pigs on a diet and method that I can eat, I take the pork home, cut it up, cure it with ingredients I can consume, smoke it at home, slice it and fry it. I want to eat miso, I grow some chickpeas and barley... &c. It is almost a decade later, I've added a few new world foods back to the diet to improve variety. The infection that they suspect caused my problems is thought to be in remission, but there is damage to the body that is permanent. I am still hugely sensitive to contamination in my diet, and if I'm lucky and eat something wrong, I just spend three weeks in intense pain. I haven't yet found a commercially made supplement that won't cause me symptoms, I can't even take a multi vit, but thankfully my diet seems to be varied enough now that my doctor has stopped pestering me to take a multi vit, as she sees my blood work, and she says I must be taking one.

Thankfully, I've always enjoyed cooking, and as I found out later, this style of sourcing ingredients is far more ecologically sound than the 'modern diet'. Very in keeping with the Permie way of life. It lead to farming, and as an added bonus, some of the benefits of this diet have rubbed off on my family. Although less strict and sometimes snacking on processed foods, one family member who was just about to start insulin for their diabetes, was off all diabetic meds after a year, and still tests with very stable blood sugars to this day.

So you see, I'm a very strong believer in the healing power of foods. The closest thing to modern diet I have is un-enriched white flour, which I mix with the locally grown whole grain wheat flour to reduce the fibre content of the sourdough bread I bake. Also, the grains grown locally are low in Se, so getting some flour from the prairies is useful.

The person with the spinal cord problem can take some commercial supplements but is sensitive to one of the fillers used by some companies. He has severe crohn's which is controlled primarily by a low fibre, healthy diet. I can also make herbal teas and tinctures if it's something that needs to be used as a supplement instead of a dietary change. The issue with anti-inflammatory foods, comes with too much. For example, cooking heavy handed with the turmeric twice a week, is fine, but three times a week, or taking a capsule of turmeric causes a crohn's flare-up. There is no inflammation markers in the blood and the MRI shows almost none (I doubt anyone has zero inflammation, but the levels shown and their location indicate that inflammation is not the problem here). We include a variety of fermented foods with most of our meals, which I also attribute to the reduction of crohn's symptoms.

Please don't think I'm not willing to add or subtract from our diet - I am. We are at a point now where we can see what we are doing is not doing enough, so something needs to change. We are just a little bit limited as to how drastic or sudden that change can be due to the other medical issues. I would like to focus on food more than supplements, if possible, but don't hesitate to include supplements as well - quite often there is something good in there that I can translate to food, like cooking with cayenne. I love cayenne, so time to dig out some yummy recipes that heavily favour that spice.

Back to spinal cord and nerve problem.

The spinal cord is the major problem, the nerves are also painful, but tolerable. The problem is caused by two sources of damage, one from repetitive stress injury causing stenosis of the spinal column - which they cut up his spine to relieve the pressure, and the other injury is from whiplash one week after the laminectomy. The MRI shows the damage is permanent and all that remains is to manage the pain. I have trouble swallowing that diagnosis. It's been less than a year since the whiplash, and I suspect most of the current issue is from that not the pre-surgical damage. The recovery from the laminectomy was better than textbook prior to the whiplash, and there are new symptoms post whiplash that weren't there before (namely the electric shocks). The damage to the nerves (let's pretend that nerves and spinal cord are separate entities to make things easier) is part from the spinal injury and part from the surgery.

Very interesting video about MS. I've been wondering how similar the damage is to our situation. Given how similar nerves are to brain, and how much brain relies on healthy fats, I wonder if there is any way we can apply this to our diet. There is a genetic tendency in our family to malabsorption of B12 in the gut, through supplements and most foods, which is interesting given how important B12 with MS treatment. If the nerve is damaged, surely the myelin sheath suffers, especially with electric shock symptoms? I'm glad you posted the video.

Funny how this sort of timing works - I came across Fallon's work right when I needed it most, and last month I read a book by Carol Deppe called the Resilient Gardener where she talks about how certain people cannot absorb certain essential fats like omega three through a plant based diet. I need to re-read this chapter, now that I'm beginning to understand that choosing the right fats may play an important role in healing the spinal cord.


 
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It sounds like you and your family are facing some of the same kinds of issues I have dealt with and that we are on similar journeys in trying to find things to help our bodies heal.

I am, myself, suffering the after effects of having been t-boned by a drunk driver a few months ago. I immediately sought chiropractic and massage therapy hoping to head off some potential issues at the pass, and it helped a lot considering the severity of the accident (totaled my truck). But in spite of the preventative measures, and a self-imposed period of taking things easy (not lifting anything heavy, etc.), I found myself in excruciating lower-back pain several days ago and had to go in to urgent care. Turned out a bulging disc that hadn't bothered me in years was acting up again and had also pinched a nerve, causing stiffness and pain that made sitting for any length of time miserable.

Needless to say, I've been again seeking out whatever I can that can help with the spine/disc/nerve issues. I, too, have read "Nourishing Traditions" (lots of good info in there), and more recently, "The Abascal Way" (an eating plan book I got off Amazon which counters inflammation. It's something that helped my mom when she was having trouble with arthritis and carpal tunnel type issues a couple of years ago.

Anyway, some of my own findings on my own journey to better health and healing are as follows:

Years ago, I learned that fresh pineapples (1/4 cup servings) were very helpful in healing carpal tunnel issues, some of which is tied to the membranous sheath around the tendons in the wrist. Because my nerve troubles could well involve the myelin sheath, I've begun buying fresh pineapples again, figuring it can't hurt to try...I really can't lose, because they're delicious food any which way. The enzyme, Bromelain, can be found in supplement form, but I've found the fresh pineapple seems to work the best for the tendon sheath issues, but I'm hopeful that it might work simliarly in my spine. It might seem a stretch to some who know more about how the body works than I do, but I'm going to give it a whirl and see. Just now I found a little snippet on Wikipedia that said bromelain (or a derivative substance) is used in a product called NexoBrid for the removal of dead tissue on severe burns. My thought is that those enzymes are pretty healing to tissues, so it's worth a shot.

There are some essential oils and a technique called raindrop therapy that might be useful for the nerve related injuries and issues, especially with a spine condition. There are a lot of testimonials out there that will tell you which ones various folks have tried for just about every conceivable condition. I hesitate to suggest any specific essential oils or blends, because I believe folks who use oils should really extensively research which ones might help them, taking into consideration other health concerns, and then to implement them gradually and with great care. One oil might work very well for a specific condition or ailment in one person, but not for another, because each persons body, chemistry, underlying conditions, etc. are all so diverse. Overall, I have found them to be tremendously helpful in my own household, and with this recent nerve pain, have been using two different blends over the affected area of my spine with good success. I've only taken the pain meds once since I got home from the hospital, and haven't even needed the steroids (I put up with some pain and discomfort, but mostly just so that I listen to my body and don't overdo. Between that and continued chiropractic and massage therapy, it's subsiding much more quickly than the initial injury which caused the bulging disc (and similar pinched nerve/pain issues a few years back, and for that I am grateful.

If this same person in your family is suffering from Chron's and other digestive type issues, you might also find that fresh coconuts are very healing and soothing to the gut, from the throat all the way through to the other end. Several years ago, I suffered terribly for about a year and a half with acid reflux, stabbing pains in my stomach, and what was ultimately diagnosed as a large duodenal ulcer. During that time, spicy or acidic foods and anything deep fried or greasy was out of the question, as was lying down after eating or drinking anything. The episodes I suffered during that period of my life left me with very little that I could eat or drink without paying for it later, and led me on an extensive search then for anything to help. During that time, I found that super papaya enzyme tablets helped greatly, but for someone with sensitivities to supplements, chunks of papaya in it's fresh form would be even better. Trouble was, those tablets only helped with the symptoms for that meal. The stabbing pain or stomach aches would keep coming back. When I happened to read somewhere that coconuts were very good for stomach lining and that something in coconuts had even been known to kill the h pylori bacteria, that they were anti fungal, anti bacterial and even candida fighting properties when eaten fresh, I went right out and bought a few of the fresh young thai coconuts (sold in plastic wrap in most grocery stores near me) and watched a YouTube tutorial on how to open those babies properly. Wherever it was that I'd read about this, it had suggested eating a whole young coconut on an empty stomach every morning for a week. One caution would be to make sure you strain the liquid into a clear glass, and if it's at all pinkish or purplish, it's past expiration and should be tossed. Anyway, I would drink the liquid first, and then scoop the soft coconut layer out with a spoon and eat it, too, as my breakfast for the day. By the end of the week, I pureed both together and just drank it down. The young coconut texture is a bit...slimy. I cannot even tell you how much that helped me! Three days in, my husband brought home some fragrant Thai food, a spicy dish I used to love, and I took a bite, sure I was going to pay for it later...but it didn't affect me at all! And literally, from that point on...I could eat spicy stuff without issue after months and months of avoiding it out of fear for the consequences. I still have no idea where I found that information (I've looked and looked), but it was a huge answer to my prayers! I've since passed that information along to numerous people, some with other gut-related health issues, and they've also had good success with it. Very occasionally, maybe twice in the last four years or so, I will get a little twinge of heartburn again...and I'll immediately go out and get a couple of coconuts and repeat that process again, but I've never had the same stabbing pain or heartburn issues since.

Another thing that I have also found to be helpful when we've eaten something that disagreed with us is activated charcoal powder. We rarely ever need to use it, but for the rare case of food poisoning or even just a nervous tummy (before one of my kids school plays), but I read recently that it can even help people have have inadvertently been 'glutened' (and are suffering a miserable episode of gluten intolerance). Taking activated charcoal powder can help to nip that in the bud. There is a lot you can read about it for helping with 'episodes' people with food sensitivities and even allergies might have. The only caution I know of is that it's used to take toxins out of the body (both by Vets and ER doctors), so you're not supposed to take it within an hour of any prescription meds.

Those are the things I can think of off the top of my head that have helped me in some way. Hope you and your family members are able to find something to help, especially with the nerve pain. I'll say a little prayer that you find exactly what you need to bring some relief.
 
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I came to the food as medicine forum to search for anti-inflammatory and nerve healing foods for Paul's cervical radiculopathy. This is a helpful thread; and R Ranson, I would love to hear how things are going for the person on whose behalf you posted.

I think fats might be a major player. One thing I have heard that the only vegan source of fatty acids needed to protect/support the myelin sheath is coconut oil, and those vegans not eating enough of it tend to get irritable. Plus, there is the ketogenic diet which is high fat, low-to-no carb and reduces seizures, so there must be something aligned there with the nerve pathways.

And of course when babies' brains are growing the most, their mothers' breast milk is one of the fattiest foods (fattier even than other mammal milks) available to support that growth.

There was something about fish oils that was mentioned in the Perfect Health Diet (affiliate link) which led the authors to recommend eating fish once per week (like a good Catholic ), and that the omega 3 / omega 6 fatty acid ratio in grassfed beef and lamb was a better daily source of omega fatty acids than fish. I still don't have that completely worked out though have wondered if putting Paul on extra fish oil supplements was helping or not.

In the Perfect Health Diet, there was also a lot of comparison of how our guts have evolved, i.e., shortened, and are less able to tolerate foods that require longer digestion times, or even fermenting digestion processes (cows), to be utilized properly. The Western Lowland Gorilla was mentioned repeatedly as having a much longer (how long, I can't recall) digestive system enabling it to eat more fibrous plants, even grains and such as the main part of its diet. Might make sense to someone with Crohn's, I suppose.

The Terry Wahl video summed up so many diet recommendations very well - thanks for that Burra! For Paul's situation, we're good with getting plenty of fat, and healthy meats, and staying mostly low carb, but my sense that we needed more vegetables was heartily confirmed by Terry's recommendations. 9 cups of veg a day - three dinner plates full! That is a lot. Plus the seaweed and organ meats and B vitamins. I think Paul's intrinsic factor is basically non-existent, and he's stopped his B12 injections while being in distress. Can't say that I blame him. So...I have some lovely seaweed in the pantry (and we both take a kelp supplement), and will bringing that out at lunch. And will continue to crank up the veggies. Plus getting more B12 for Paul one way or another. The organ meats are a struggle for Paul, so some creativity will be needed there (he noticed the meatloaf tasted "off" when we tried putting minced liver in it once).

Terry Wahl's mention of bioflavinoids and polyphenols rang true to me as well, again supporting the 9 cups of veg per day. The way it was once explained to me is that the bioflavinoids are basically part of the structural integrity of fruits and vegetables and that they support our (cellular?) structural integrity as well. Then I listened to Eating on the Wild Side (another affiliate link here) which listed study after study in support of how the darker colored fruits and veg, and the older or wilder, less sugary varietals (in general, broad strokes, mind you) have denser nutrients. The kind of nutrients that fight cancer, prevent or heal disease, and otherwise support optimum health. While probably a bit more reductionist that what Michael Pollan has been advocating in how we think of our food, I still found it incredibly enlightening.

Though I wonder how someone with Chrohn's Disease could tolerate that much veg fiber. According to all these sources though, Wahl, WAPF, the book authors I mentioned, it seems all agree that veg and fruit are easier to digest than grains and legumes.

 
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mothers' breast milk is one of the fattiest foods (fattier even than other mammal milks)


While I was working with marine mammals, I was told that an orca's milk was 27% fat.
I guess they need the fat while roaming arctic waters.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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John Polk wrote:

mothers' breast milk is one of the fattiest foods (fattier even than other mammal milks)


While I was working with marine mammals, I was told that an orca's milk was 27% fat.
I guess they need the fat while roaming arctic waters.


Ah, that's right! I think I've been corrected on this before. Maybe human milk is only the fattiest milk of land mammals.

To follow up on my comment about humans having shorter digestive systems (though the participants in this thread likely do not need this), which, according to the Perfect Health Diet authors, is, among other things, a powerful indicator of eating less fibrous foods (grains?) and more omnivore foods, as part of an optimal diet. Here's a table from the book to illustrate what they mean.
PerfectHealthDiet_table4-comp-organs-humans-v-primates.png
[Thumbnail for PerfectHealthDiet_table4-comp-organs-humans-v-primates.png]
Table 4 - Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet, Ph.D., and Shou-Ching Jaminet, Ph.D.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Collagen! Bone and meat broths and stocks. Consuming those connective tissues I think would be incredibly healing/nourishing to the nerves and spinal cord, though it's a guess. I'm trying to find healthy ways to get these into Paul, as well.
 
r ranson
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It's a challenge. Not certain anything is helping or not. Here's what we are trying.

  • More fish
  • more healthy fats, including animal fats
  • no red meat - not because it's 'bad', but because we've stopped being able to digest it for some reason we can't figure out. (fats from these animals are fine, and so is bone broth, it's just the meat that's causing problems.
  • more pulses (chickpeas and favas - less insoluble fibre than many other pulses
  • more green veg, and local in season veg
  • for some reason a strong craving for bananas, so we broke our no-imported food rule and started buying bananas
  • main meal of the day changed from evening to noon or early afternoon


  • We are also avoiding a lot of the anti-inflammatory foods as they seem to worsen the nerve symptoms and/or the crohn's. Why they work for so many people and not us is something I've been looking into. There is a theory rattling around in my brain about why these healthy diets don't work for everyone. But I can't quite articulate it yet. I'm not a doctor or dietitian or anyone else with the authority to say this is a way to customize your healthy eating to your body. Yet more and more I wonder... there seems to be something to this idea. It's just a matter of finding a way to express it.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Thanks for the update! I'm surprised to hear more pulses are working, though again, there are those differences for different people.

    I think your observations about different supplements not working is quite brilliant, and to get these things from food instead. I'm trying to get us there.

    There is controversy around magnesium stearate, a commonly used "flow agent" in the manufacture of supplements. I tried to find a magnesium supplement for Paul that did not contain it (erring on the side of caution) and found a liquid mineral magnesium (with other trace minerals) that I thought would be helpful. I tried a 1/4th dose in plain water myself and it made me sick to my stomach. Me, who takes all kinds of bitterest of bitter herbal tinctures, undiluted, straight on her tongue! And while it might be coincidence, I had severe digestive distress for two days after (sorry for the TMI). I had given Paul a 1/4th dose in some cherry juice with ginger extract on the same day and it didn't seem to bother him. That was 4 days ago, I'm going to try a little bit again tonight to see if it might help him sleep.

    In a way, I'm not surprised some of the anti-inflammatory things aren't working as much. Tumeric is pretty powerful stuff! So is ginger (I don't always tolerate it very well myself). I'm not sure what all else you're lumping into that category (maybe the bromelain?) though anything that potent might actually be doing damage as it does some good. Sometimes gentler, milder, albeit slower ways are called for.

    My best to you!
     
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    I think you are n the right track with the Weston Price diet, bone broths and veggies are excellent, along with saturated fats. Perhaps there are herbs that can target strengthening the spinal discs as well. This post by herbalist Jim MacDonald records his success with herbs:

    "Along with chiropractic, I used the rather agonizing experience to figure out how best to treat this condition. I ended up blending together a formula with Solomon’s Seal, Mullein Root, Horsetail and Goldenseal to excellent results (I daresay…). This was created not so much as a pain reliever, but to restore strength and integrity to the disc itself. To address the attendant muscle spasms (which were the worst part, in terms of outright agony), I used a combination of Black Cohosh and Arnica tinctures, taken in frequent small doses to help ease the sensitivity & reactivity of the muscles. The results were excellent. I could literally feel the disc growing stronger and the muscles relearning how to be relaxed. "

    http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html

    I myself have not tried this remedy, as I am lucky enough to have a healthy back at the moment. I will be trying it out once I can find the plants in my neighborhood, I may end up growing them as Mullein is not difficult at all. The neighbors would get upset if I started cultivating Horsetail, though, it's impossible to get rid of! I will post my own results then.
     
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    You could look into cbd rich oil, also the homeopathic Hypericum perforatum may help reduce the pain though I think that would only give temporary relief.
     
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    Google Dr. Robert Morse.  Call the clinic if you wanna hear examples of people with spinal trauma that have healed.  Here's a new one to me that I just heard of, who followed Dr. Morses suggested protocol.  A man jumped from an airplane, his chute either didn't open or fully open, he hit the water at 80mph and was paralyzed, he followed Dr. Morses protocol and recovered.  There are lots of other people who had similar traumas who have healed via following the suggestions of Dr. Morse.

    The body heals and regenerates, if given the opportunity.
     
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    I've been using Hericium (Lion's Mane) to good effect with my spinal stenosis of the neck, as well as some memory issues. As an anti-inflammatory I've also been using curcumin in a gel cap (commercial name I'm using is Phenocane) for my chronic pain from disc issues. I also experienced what felt like electric shocks to the point it felt like my body was on fire - but only if I bent my neck a certain way. Weird stuff all the nerve and spine things that can happen to a body.
     
    pollinator
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    I read about person, who healed his sciatica nerve pain with chaga mushroom. I can't remember if he used just tea or also double extraction (water and alcohol) tincture. If you have birch trees growing, this medicine is free (but leave some, when you harvest, to let it regrow, and not to kill the birch as chaga mushroom covers its wounds. It is a good tonic to drink all the time instead of coffee (it looks like coffee, although it doesn't particularly taste like one, but tastes nice.)
     
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    r ranson wrote the following in the "dailyish":

    My cut healed beautifully well, but it was bone-deep, and now that the bandages are off, I find there's some severe nerve damage.


    Not really enough detail, but I thought a quick primer on nerves might help:
    Picture a "nerve" like a big phone cable coming into an office building. It has one wire (nerve cell) surrounded by insulation (myelin sheath) in a bundle with a whole bunch more each going to an individual phone.
    If you squish the big wire (bruise or compress a nerve) you can damage both the insulation and the wire. This can stop the messages from getting through totally if there's a lot of damage, or partially if some wires are working and others aren't, or can cause cross-connections if wires are touching due to damaged insulation (that's where the "electric shocks" may be coming from that people have commented on), but more or less, since nerves are living, if you get the pressure off, provide all the necessary building blocks (nutrition) there will hopefully be primary healing of the nerves and everything will start working again. If only real life was that simple!
    If some of those wires got squished to the point that the wire is broken, but the insulation is still intact, since we're dealing with magical human wires here, the tip of the wire can re-grow, and since it's got a nice myelin tube to follow, with good nutrition it should grow right on back down that tube. Unfortunately, they only grow at 1-5mm/day so if they've got a long way to grow the results may be complicated.
    If the big wire got totally cut through (what r ranson probably did no her finger) the myelin sheath tubes need to be lined up to give the nerve cell a scaffold to grow down. Doctors can stitch nerves back together (assuming they're smart enough to ignore the blood during an emergency and *realize* a nerve's been cut - they didn't in a cut my mom had at the base of her thumb), but simply aligning the sides of even a sharp cut will *not* likely have aligned the nerve endings. If r ranson has a large/critical area of numbness, it's probably time for a consult with a reliable Plastic Surgeon who may feel it's worth re-opening the wound and aligning the "ends of the wires". *Even* if they do this though, they're *only* aligning the ends - the insides won't line up to the phones they used to, so the regrown nerves still won't "feel" the same way they used to. But human brains are awesome, so you can "train the brain" to where the new phone patterns are (mostly through use, but there are extra tricks if people are interested.)
    Lastly, also because nature is awesome, if an area is numb, nerves in the surrounding area will/may grow toward the damaged area to a small degree. (greater in the under 2 year old department, but that's not what we're working with here.)
    Warning: the area that is numb will be more likely to suffer damage from both heat and cold, even if the surrounding finger is fine. How much that is really due to the numbness, or whether because  blood vessels were also damaged and are also operating sub-optimally is a good question that don't have an answer to. It was a *long* time ago that I took an anatomy course!
     
    Joy Oasis
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    For damaged nerves people use externally essential oils known to support and repair nerves: helichrysum and  frankincense. Maybe mix some in the herbal salve and use several times a day?
     
    Jay Angler
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    Quick add for people whose guts don't seem to tolerate certain things: The reason salves work is that our skin is our largest organ and capable of absorbing things, so if you think you're low on something like magnesium, instead of a pill, an Epsom Salt bath can do the trick. If you're in pain and getting in a bath is too hard, Epsom salt in a bucket for your feet or a hand (lots of surface area to absorb through) might do the trick. The question is whether your *whole* body isn't tolerating something, or only your gut. I'm not an herbalist, so I don't know which anti-inflamatories work through skin absorption and which don't, but it's definitely an avenue to explore (cautiously if you're sensitive! First be safe!)
     
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    Wow this has given me a lot to think about.  I have a host of medical issues.  One doctor told me I have everything they can do nothing about... then he walk out the door had the nurse come back in with a script for prozac.  So he was saying I can't help you but here are some drugs to numb your brain so you won't care.  I have Fibromyalgia,arthritis, thyroid issues, heart problems,vertigo, costochondritis, stomach issues etc,  The kicker came when I injured my back over 4 yrs ago.  After 3 surgeries, the last with metal plates and screws put in my lower back, and countless other procedures, I still am left with permanent nerve damage and a mess up spine. I have had stage 4 endometriosis, gallstones, dozens of kidney stones. But the pain with my back and leg were the worst pain I have ever felt. It was beyond a pain the body can endure. And nothing really helped.  I can no longer do much of anything.  Even sitting and standing are very limited. And some days the pain is so horrible the thought of having to get up and walk to the bathroom almost makes me cry.  All the doctor wanted to do was pump me full of steroid injections, that really messed with my heart. It has just been so frustrating not knowing what to do.  I do have an appointment with a functional medicine doctor, since my rheumatologist basically kicked me out and told me to just go see a pain specialist. I am sick of having meds that do nothing but give me other symptoms.  I have changed my diet but it just doesn't always seem to help.  Really hoping the Functional Med doc can help with at least some of the issues.  
    Reading all of these posts has also given me hope that some of the problems with my spine and nerves might be helped. Since all the other doctors have basically written me off. The most positive one said I had a 20 % chance of it getting 20%  better in the next 10 yrs. I Don't expect miracles but more functionality would be nice and some way to lower some of the pain would be awesome.  
    On a side note about cut fingers. I sliced my little finger 35 or so years ago pretty much done to the bone. Never went to a doctor and the tip of my finger was numb for about 25 yrs.  I noticed 20-25 years after the cut that I was feeling a little in that finger,  it slowly started getting more feeling in it. Now there is very little pain or numbness.  So they can heal....just took a very long time
    I don't really have that kind of time with my back.  In 25 years I will be 79, while it might be nice to not have the pain then, sooner would be better.   So thanks everyone for all the info on nerves. It will give me some hope and a place to start researching and asking questions.
     
    Jay Angler
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    @Lyda Eagle - It's important to recognize that pain interferes with many other bodily functions which can snowball. Pain = poor sleep. Pain = tendency to avoid movement when movement is essential for healing and health. The trick is to find ways to attack the problems from multiple angles, making very slow, very gentle changes so that things don't crash and burn. One example I've used in the past is to set a 5 minute timer and do an activity like sitting/standing that lead to pain for *only* that limit. If post standing pain increases, 5 min is too long and try 4 min. If post standing pain didn't change (give it a good 1/2 hour to judge), the next time try 6 min. I know that adding a minute at a time might sound ridiculous, but reinforcing the pain cycle just delays healing.
    If laying down is the least painful option, at least try to investigate exercises designed to be done laying down and start very slowly with them.
    I have a friend with fibromyalgia and she made good slow progress after getting some chickens just because caring for someone else helped both her mental and physical status.
     
    pollinator
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    So sorry that so many are living in so much pain.

    Solanine sensitivity is a major source of pain for many. And some foods which contain solanine would otherwise be considered anti-inflamatory (blueberry/capsaican/etc)

    As far a nerves go, there is a class of plants called adaptogens that may help. Wild lettuce is so good at pain relief that its nickname is opium lettuce.

    I'll end by encouraging detox (celery juice bkfast) via food and soaking (epsom) and adding good fats (grass fed butter in quantity!)

    Blessings of ease.
     
    Lyda Eagle
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    Jay Angler..... I did make it sound like I don't move at all. And there are days I don't move much.  But I do my PT exercises most every day. Some are done while lying down.  Others I get up and do.  I just have to do them through the day instead of all at once.  The vertigo is a BIG problems lately.. If I am up for more than a few min. I throw up from all the dizziness. It hits fast, one min. I am fine and the next I am ,well.... not fine.  Sometimes this last for days on end.  The meds I was given no longer help.  Of course the vomiting doesn't help with other issues.    I don't mean to make it sound all doom and gloom. Not everyday is that bad.  I do make myself get up and move even on really bad days.  It's just not fun.   I use to be an active person. Even with the fibro and other issues I would walk 2 to 5 miles most days. Or do something else.  Now I am happy to make it 25 feet sometimes.    My leg feels like I am carrying around a big log. It always amazes me that something can be so numb feeling and yet have so much pain. I get spasms or often very intense nerve pain, that feels like a hot electric knife is jabbed into my back and/or leg.  It is a fine line as to how much to move and not do to much and cause the nerve to go crazy.  I also have two more bulging disc in my neck that life to push on nerves and make my arm numb or worse hurt horrible.  The doctor want to do more surgery there as well. I have resisted since it did not help so much with my lower back.  Also with my last surgery my blood pressure bottom out and my heart stopped for a few beats.  Which resulted in not get ANY pain meds for two days after surgery. NOT an experience I want to go through ...ever again.  I have a considerable amount of arthritis around that area.  That has caused some bone spurs to press on nerves also.   I can usually calm this down in a few days with cold/heat and using my TENS unit . And some stretching exercise.  
      I am hopeful that some of my issues can get better with more changes in my diet or adding the right supplements or increases in certain foods.   I really am a normally positive person. Just been having a few hard days in a row.  It does get frustrating when doctors don't know what to do for you and so just want to get rid of you.  I know there has to be ways to make some of this better.  And I will keep trying until I find them.  I feel like people are finally realizing there are better ways to heal than just throwing more pills or surgeries at the problem.  And that our diet really does matter.  We can't keep eating processed foods and expect to be healthy.   I hope one day the medical field will realize this and not give into big pharma and really find ways to treat people and not just cover up their symptoms.  
     
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    Good luck! Blend a bit of science, folk lore, diet fads, and snake oil, throw in some ego, then compost for a few years. Hopefully something will grow. I remember hearing how wonderful glucosamine would be, but when I tried it symptoms worsened. Too much rest, or too much exercise does me in. I’m doing better with a plant based diet, but that could just be weight lose. I suspect the fruit and vegetables are healing. I seem ok with whole grains, but bread puts me in pain. I love bread! I have baked my own bread for years. Have a killer Dutch oven sourdough bread.....but the pain is too much. I’ve tried different mushrooms, spices, exercises, sorting out what helps is confusing. Easy answers have not worked. Hope you have better luck.
     
    master pollinator
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    Some of this might be redundant, hope it will be of benefit.

    Just information, not prescriptions, in no particular order:

    Nutritional supplements:

    A high quality b-complex - Assists in protein availability for reparation of nerves and myelin sheath, nourishes the nervous system.
    Alpha-lipoic acid - Amazing antioxidant, both fat and water soluble, free radical scavenger
    Magnesium - Used in hundreds of enzymatic reactions and helps promote nerve regeneration
    Acetyl-l-carnitine - Assists in regeneration of nerves
    Vitamin C - Promotes healing
    Vitamin D - Promotes nerve regeneration
    Phosphatidyl Choline - Helps protect and repair myelin sheath
    Omega 3's and GLA - Reduce inflammation and building blocks of sheath

    Herbal Supplements:

    Oats (avena sativa) - Oats and oat straw extracts nourish and soothe the nerves
    Oat Straw
    Forskolin - Extract of root in mint family, stimulates nerve regeneration
    Skullcap and Passionflower - Help to calm the nervous system in general

    Topical Applications:

    Epsom Salts soaks - Topical magnesium
    Helichrysum essential oil - Rejuvenative, healing, repair
    Marjoram essential oil - Helps in healing the nerves
    Arnica Montana - Gel, oil, lotion, pain and trauma

    Extended Fasting:

    The optimal way to create healing and regeneration in the body - creates a state of autophagy - the breaking down of dead, diseased tissue, transforming it and using to rebuild healthy tissue.

    Editing - duh - forgot to include homeopathics -

    Arnica
    Chamomilla
    Magnesium Phos
    Belladona
    Hypericum
    Kalmia


     
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    healing the body is much more like healing the land through permaculture. Treating specific problem as isolated from the rest is not what I understand permaculture. In the human body you dont just try to heal the nerves or any illness in particular but rather its best to make the whole system in good shape then it takes care of itself. All diseases are curable by the immune system. Then we also have to realize that no one size fits all. Rather than go through what is healthy as alleged by random studies, I find it healthier to just listen to my senses. Our senses is there for good reason.

    That being said here are some of my suggestions.

    -Intermittent fasting. start with eating only when hungry then buildup.
    -eat the foods you like regardless if they are fat carbs or meat or anything as long as it is whole unprocessed food. Then of course observe the result.
    -Go for the variety. The human body acts more like a factory constantly producing and replacing old cells with new, What is needed is a complete line of raw materials (nutrition). before I started producing my own herbs I had this  small box with a variety of store bought herbal supplements I take one or two kinds each day.
    -get as much sunlight and water.
    -I also found out that modern diseases can be cured by simply cleansing the blood and nerves. The weed in pic is what I use for nerve and blood cleansing and tonic.  Blood is the vehicle it carries the oxygen and nutrition as well as garbage to the dump (kidneys) nerves are the roads. Without proper transport you will be wasting most of what you put into your mouth.
    -And finally a being called human is an integrated mind body and spirit. Each form affects the rest and therefore should get as much attention.
    eleusine717_102.jpg
    [Thumbnail for eleusine717_102.jpg]
     
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    Rather than nerve damage, r ranson may actually have cut a tendon. It's the sort of thing that needs to be sewn back pretty quickly otherwise the tendon will just retreat backward (they are quite tense things, because they have to be). Weeks after the accident, it may be impossible to stitch the tendon back together. I hope that is not the case.
     
    Joshua Parke
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    All of these herbs are either supportive to the nervous system and/or grow the nervous system.   ashitaba, gynostemma, bacopa monneria, gotu kola,  holy basil,  ginkgo biloba, rhodiola rosea, panax ginseng, amla, rosemary, ashwagandha, astragalus, lions mane, reishi, turkey tail, chaga,  I'm sure there are others I'm not recalling.

    I'll say it too...  Fasting.... ;-)  Fasting increases NGF...nerve growth factor.
    Hyperthermic conditioning increases NGF.  ----hot sauna.  Dr. Rhonda Partick has info on this.
    Berries are said to be very good to regrow neurological tissue...with herbs, it's accelerated.  Dr. Robert Morse

    Julian Gerona - I've seen a couple of your posts, you may like this...it sounds like you're doing some studying on the subject of health/healing/regeneration.  Information on the lymphatic system...actually here's a simple search on youtube. Lymphatic system :-)
     
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    There are a lot of good responses here. I'd like to share two important therapies that have worked for me. Exercise and magnesium therapy. I know the title of this thread is foods for nerve and spinal cord damage so this may not be the best location, but here goes.

    I ruptured the L4-L5 disc 34 years ago and the disc jelly was pressing on the sciatic nerves and causing excruciating pain jabs down the leg and creeping numbness. I was luck enough to have the orthopedic surgeon for the WSU football team do my surgery so it was the best for that time. It was a success but the pain continued for 2 more years with the doctors saying to rest more. Finally I realized they were wrong, got on a stationary bike and within 30 minutes the pain was reduced. Exercise is very important after an injury, but it needs to be done slowly, with thorough range of motion movements, and focus on how your body feels. You have to push, but not too much. Very hard to define since what this means changes as you heal. Once I started feeling better, I began doing weight lifting, especially dead lifts with light weights. The dead lifts strengthened the spinal erector muscles (among others ) so that my lower back would support itself, resulting in less pain. Good form is critical here so make sure that the posture is correct. I've also found that gentle yoga has been very beneficial for all of my joints, tendons and muscles. It even helped reverse the vertigo I've had for years by moving the crystals that form in the fluid of the ears into an area that doesn't result in dizziness.

    I take a good magnesium supplement just below bowel tolerance (you will know when you reach it 'cause you'll get the runs!). But one of the most important treatments I use is transdermal magnesium therapy, which I do using two different methods. The reason I do this in addition to supplements is that my gut can't absorb enough for my bodily needs without unfortunate side effects. My skin will absorb a lot more without these side effects.

    1. Epsom salt baths and soaks have already been mentioned, which are excellent and I do one every week. What's important is using enough salt. None of this cup or two in the bath. I use the whole 6 lb bag in my bath and I get it at Costco so it's not too expensive. Since the salt needs to diffuse through the skin, the concentration in the bath is important. Higher concentration means more can be absorbed in a set period of time.
    2. Concentrated magnesium chloride: This is the heavy hitter than allowed me to walk pain-free from plantar fasciitis that made it excruciating for to walk, and I've had no pain in my back since I started using it. I use the bath salt crystals from www.ancient-minerals.com and make my own "magnesium oil." It's not an oil and I wish they wouldn't refer it as that. It is concentrated (apx. 50:50 MgCl2:water by weight) salt solution but it has a slippery feel. I make a quart of the concentrated solution, then dilute it down as needed. If you use the concentrated solution on your skin it can cause irritation but I've used it on my legs with no problem although it can leave an odd feel to the skin that some people don't like. I add this concentrated solution to my homemade lotion at the rate of 25% solution to 75% lotion and use it on my arms and legs after every bath. I find that the oils in the lotion counter the salt after it dries on the skin, and my body can continue to absorb the magnesium all day. This is the most cost effective use of the fairly expensive salt crystals. If I'm having localized muscle/tendon pain or cramping, I'll use some of the concentrated solution on the skin and follow with the lotion to keep the skin from drying out. There are lots of variations on using this salt and the key is to start slow with a small patch of skin, and work your way up to what works for you. Do NOT ingest the solution because that much magnesium would result in disastrous effects on the bowel. The ancient minerals web site has a lot of excellent information and I'd suggest reading all of it. There are also whole books on this topic so I've just relayed what works for me.

    When my cousin was visiting last year, I told her about the magnesium and she put the concentrated solution on her knee that had been injured years before in a car accident and since then she used a cane to walk. She felt a reduction of pain within a few minutes and the next morning she could walk slowly and carefully without the cane. Sounds like a tall tale but it isn't. She's telling her friends who are in their 70s with varying amounts of pain and disabilities and it has helped all of them in reducing pain and helping with mobility. One of the least expensive and safe remedies that I have ever used.

    If anyone is interested and has questions, I am working on developing more detailed notes about the magnesium therapy and the lotion I use.


     
    pollinator
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    There is very valuable food and activity suggestions already given so I will concentrate my reply on my specialty. Antalgic Posture Pain: Algia is the word for pain. Antalgic is against pain. Antalgic posture is a distortion of normal posture to avoid a pain signal. The problem is that the distorted posture can only be sustained for a short period of time before it causes pain somewhere else. Then effort is made to avoid that pain so the cycle continues with more and more fibers and muscles reporting pain = fibromyalgia = fiber muscle pain.
    With injury to the spine pain is not the only consequence; inhibition of some muscles and facilitation of others to hold the Antalgic posture put pressure on nerves that regulate organs that regulate the absorption of nutrients from food and tolerance of some foods. Therefore just being able to function becomes a problem.
    A mime used by the C.H.C.K. Institute is very helpful in this case. If FUN is removed from FUNctional it is no longer functional. What I use  as an instructional is "Pain is the body's message to the conscious mind that something needs to be done different."  Therefore as indicated by many of the replies to this thread, a whole person approach is necessary. When function is impaired only small increments of change may be tolerated before the messenger says this is not fun; I cant function at this level.  Therefore time with food, function, position and activity in balance allows the self repairing organism to functionally improve.
     
    pollinator
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    Hans, I am very interested in your take on how to retrain MSK systems after injury. I had to go through it once, all better now, but I'm not sure what I did for that would work again because I stubbornly get older. Honestly I don't use herbals, mostly because I don't trust the provenance and I don't have them on my place yet. I'm big into wood-grown fungi, the evidence seems pretty good and I can grow lots.

    I guess I'm interested in modalities. I do Tai chi, postural exercise with loop bands, ballistic lifting. I get a lot of baseline exercise from my work most days (I walk alot and have to squat and change posture) and on the hobby farm. I'm struggling with what to do when I inevitably get hurt. Right now I can just lay off for a while, but there is an inflexion point that I won't be able to do it without help. I'm asking you specifically because I've read your stuff and philosophically I agree with a lot of it. And I'm an opinionated sort.

    I've tried chiropractor (some really good, some an injury waiting to happen), Graston (no benefit from a practitioner I respect), dry needling/acupuncture (again, sometimes worked), massage (most are not deep or disruptive enough, some are not strong enough to work on me and just mash on bony points). Oh and active release, which was the best, but have really struggled to find one locally that wasn't trying to sell me x-rays and vitamins and was skilled.

    So this means I have a mixed bag of modalities that might work, but the trick is finding expert practitioners. Honestly I've given up on chiropractic, the quality control is lacking and one jacked me up. Is there a certification or something that means to you- Hans- that someone knows what they are doing?
     
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    I did a quick search for any instances of 'Raw milk' and was surprised when nothing came up.

    From what I've heard from one of my first providers of Raw Milk (Cow), Raw Milk and the butterfat from it is excellent for regenerating the myelin sheath around the nerves, and for treating conditions such as MS and forms of other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as epilepsy. I talked with her for maybe a half hour on the phone, and she was telling me she sold milk to more than a few people with these conditions whose symptoms dissappeared with the addition of raw milk to their diet.

    This is the website to the farm, and if you gave them a call, I'm sure she'd be happy to talk to you http://saveyourdairy.com/

    I did a quick google search for the same, and came up with this

    'An Arab woman with MS lives next to a camel, so that each day she can get some very fresh raw camel milk. As long as she gets that, she is healthy, and has no symptoms of MS. If she does not get it, she might relapse. So here's what the arabs found out, as told to me by Ms. horse vet.:'

    http://thebirdman.org/Index/Others/Others-Doc-Health&Medicine/+Doc-Health&Medicine-Foods&Supplements/DoesRawMilkCureMultipleSclerosis.html


    Moving away from the food side of things, their are a few herbs and mushrooms that are crucial for brain health.

    Rosemary has been used for centuries at least for this- I've personally seen huge leaps in my ability and speed of recall.
    Nettles is a nourshing nervine, and has shown beneficial effects on persons with neurodegenerative disorders (https://www.jni-journal.com/article/S0165-5728(14)00594-3/fulltext)
    Gingko Biloba
    Gotu Kola
    Ashwaganda

    Many mushrooms have demonstrated their ability to promote nerve growth after damage from surgery or accident
    Reishi, (ganoderma Lucidium) has a wealth of studies out there showing it's benefits as legion- among them the demonstrated ability to promote the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor in the brain


    From https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2016/10/10/genefo-doctor-austin-webinar-effects-of-natural-remedies-mushrooms-on-multiple-sclerosis/

    Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) – this mushroom has been studied for its potential in treating neurological disorders, including damaged nerve cells. In a 2013 study, published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, it was suggested that, in animals, lion’s mane can trigger the production of myelin and boost nerve growth.

    Willow bracket (Phellinus igniarius) – this mushroom has been linked to suppression of demyelination and a decrease in the daily incidence rate of EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalitis; a frequently used animal model of MS). The Willow bracket mushroom seems to suppress the infiltration of several immune cells involved in MS, such as CD4+ T-cells and CD8+ T-cells, among others. The findings suggest this mushroom extract could have a high therapeutic potential for stopping MS progression, and were presented in a 2014 study published in BioMed Research International.
    In regard to these medicinal mushrooms, Austin presented a case study of a 61-year-old man diagnosed with MS in 2009, who presented a rapid decline in cognition, energy, severe spasms, inability to walk for five years and no leg movement for two years. A protocol combining the two mushrooms mentioned above was introduced in this man’s treatment, with the following results:

    Within one month cognition and fatigue had improved and severe muscle spasms had almost disappeared.
    Within three months motion in the patient’s legs had been restored, he was able to initiate voluntary movement at the ankles, knees and hips and, alongside physical therapy, the he continued to improve. The patient slowly regained his ability to walk.



    Psilocybin mushrooms shouldn't be ignored either-  https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)30755-1?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124718307551%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

    https://beckleyfoundation.org/2018/06/13/psychedelics-promote-neural-plasticity/




     
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    I haven’t read all the posts here but look at Paul Stamet’s (and others) work with Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms. They have neuroregenerative effects—stimulating neurogenesis.I have started foraging wild mushrooms here in Pennsyltuckey and have been incorporating them into my foods and making tinctures, etc. I have yet to find a Lion’s Mane Hericium species, but I may grow my own here at home. I have oyster and maitake mushrooms growing on logs out back. Good luck!
     
    pollinator
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    I was going to suggest Paul Stamet's work. There are a few mushrooms that contain neurogenerative compounds, and luckily some, like lion's mane, aren't illicit. He tells a story in the YouTube clip I have posted below that details his experience healing a stuttering condition in a dramatic and memorable way, which is probably due to their neurogenerative properties.



    -CK

    EDIT: Sorry, that link is the wrong one. The one I had meant to post was the one below.

     
    What do you have to say for yourself? Hmmm? Anything? And you call yourself a tiny ad.
    All about the Daily-ish Email!
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