Could a little-known drug really revolutionize treatment for autoimmune diseases, cancer, depression, and more?
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) holds the potential to help millions of people suffering from various autoimmune diseases and cancers, and even autism, chronic fatigue, and depression, find relief. Administered off-label in small daily doses (0.5 to 4.5 mg), this generic drug is extremely affordable and presents few known side effects.
So why has it languished in relative medical obscurity?
The LDN Book explains:
The drug’s origins
Its primary mechanism
The latest research from practicing physicians and pharmacists
Compiled by Linda Elsegood of The LDN Research Trust—the world’s largest LDN charity organization with over 19,000 members worldwide—the book features ten chapters contributed by medical professionals on LDN’s efficacy and two patient-friendly appendices.
The LDN Book is a comprehensive resource for doctors, pharmacists, and patients who want to learn more about how LDN is helping people now, and a clarion call for further research that could help millions more.
What I Thought:
I really appreciated how this book was structured. While I didn’t read the whole thing, I did read the Introduction, Chapter One: The History and Pharmacology of LDN, and Chapter Two: Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus.
There are other chapters on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid Disorders, Restless Legs Syndrome, Depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cancer. I may actually read the chapters on Depression and Cancer at a later date but I only had a few hours to spare this past weekend and wanted to make the most of the education I’m seeking.
I sought out this book as I am currently dealing with my first MS flare since my diagnosis in 2014. I’ve heard about LDN but hadn’t thought about it for my treatment. As I dive back into the world of MS research I wanted to see if this would be a viable option for me.
After reading this book, and consulting with a nurse practitioner I feel knowledgeable enough to want to take LDN. My only concern is that it is yet another drug/supplement that you have to be on long-term that doesn’t actually address the root cause of the disease and the flare-ups. However, I do believe it to be a great option for treatment while you figure out how else to create vibrancy in the body.
Well, February came and went and I completed my month-long resilience challenge of doing Wim Hof Breathing every day. To give you a bit more context here is more information about my resilience challenge for 2023. Each month, I’m tackling one challenge a month to build more resilience.
I wouldn’t say I was super successful in daily compliance with the Wim Hof breath technique in February. But I would say I completed this daily challenge at least 90% of the month.
So why did I choose this for a resilience challenge?
I have had the most profound mental health healing while doing breathwork. When I connect to my breath I am calmer, kinder, and less prone to anxiety. I wanted to tackle daily Wim Hof breathing in February as the winter for me was really hard last year. I needed to up my game in being able to handle outside stress and breathwork is one of the many tools I use to support my mental health.
When I got up in the morning, after using the bathroom I’d climb back into bed, open my YouTube app and follow along for 3 breaths. I did the recommended hold times but I could see myself trying to improve my breath hold times in the future.
There were a few times when I would forget to do my morning breathwork and would jump right into starting my day so I would finish my day before falling asleep doing the breathwork. I found that I really needed to use the guided breathing on the app vs. trying myself as I definitely think I fell asleep a few times trying to do it on my own.
When is the best time of the day to do the breathwork?
When I did the breathwork in the morning I noticed that I start my day more calmly.
And when I do the breathwork in the evening before I sleep I am actually able to calm my nervous system much faster than without. I did notice my sleep was quite deep when I completed the 3 rounds of breathing right before I fell asleep.
I’m not sure I really have a preference of when in the day I like to complete it. It’s definitely a great way to start or end the day. So for me, it’s when I remember to do it. LOL.
You mean, I have to sit here for hours on end and just be a vessel to feed my babies?
I was not prepared for the identity death of Robyn, as she was before I birthed twins into this world.
I hadn’t even heard about the concept of a motherhood identity death before becoming a mother and the new accompanying identity birth that would come with it.
I had purchased all the supplies we need to bring new babes into the world.
I took an online breastfeeding course so I could be prepared to feed not one but two babies at the same time.
I researched different possible birth scenarios for giving birth to twins in a hospital setting.
However, I was truly naive to think that I could give birth to twins, take maternity leave from work for 6 months, keep the twins alive, and then go back to work like nothing really happened.
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger non-mom self to take more weeks off work before giving birth to truly settle into just being. I would not go straight from work, into only taking one week off of work, and then jump right into a scheduled induction. I would tell that Robyn to take more time to relax, to nurture herself before she would be thrown into a double whammy scenario of having to take care of two babies and herself at once. And if I really could go back in time, I’d tell her to tell the OBs to screw their induction and trust her body who carried her perfect twins even further to term.
Of course, I didn’t have the foresight to know that a scheduled induction would railroad me into a birth trauma scenario, having to stay in the hospital for two weeks, where I would then develop a thrush infection that would last months. I had no idea that I would be trying to figure out how to just be with my babies while also healing physically and mentally from birth trauma and PTSD.
I would have way more conversations with other mothers on what it was like to transition into the role of mother and how to be prepared for just being. And yes, I’m well aware that you can’t really “prepare” for just being. But as an a-type, organized personality, I would’ve really appreciated time to at least think about what that meant for me.
I knew that my job after giving birth was to breastfeed my babies. Even after seeking tandem breastfeeding resources, I was truly not prepared for how non-stop and all-consuming breastfeeding would be. At the start I would attempt to feed both babies. Sometimes it was a success and at other times I would have to pump and then bottle feed my son (who got a bottle early on in the hospital – but that’s a story for another blog). I then shifted to feeding just my daughter while bottle feeding my son in a boppy pillow beside me at the same time. At the start I would spend ALL day on the couch and then ALL night in bed just feeding my babies. It was exhausting, all-consuming, and HARD. Remember that thrush infection I mentioned earlier. It lasted for 3 months and I had no idea I had it until later. I was in so much pain, and I thought it was normal.
Something else, I would go back and tell pre-mom Robyn was to ensure I was supported so that I didn’t feel like I had to do it all. I would have hired a cleaner to come weekly, I would have hired someone to do the laundry, I would have prepped more freezer meals (although I had made a ton) and I would have asked for more help to sleep. The birth trauma + sleep deprivation + working woman identity death was too much for me. I experienced not only PTSD from birth trauma to postpartum depression and anxiety. Because I lost so much control while in the hospital it translated into me wanting full control of everything at home. I would’ve asked for monetary gifts to afford help instead of a registry of gifts.
I am writing this now 2.5 years after the twins were born. I am acknowledging that I am still healing. I am still processing it.
This has been my healing soundtrack…
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. I do want to talk about the hard parts because I wish I had known that I was going to have such a hard time with just being with my babies. When you identify with doing for so long when you have to stop doing and just be THAT’S REALLY HARD on the nervous system!
I do really want to highlight the beauty or the light that exists amongst the darkness.
While I’ve been able to find many resources talking about identity deaths, I haven’t seen a ton of language around motherhood identity births. And I have been birthing the most beautiful new version of Robyn.
For the first time in my life, it’s completely acceptable to just be. I do really wish I could have come to terms that my only job for the first few months was to feed, eat (for myself), nurture (the babes and myself), and sleep. I would have stopped trying to strive to manage the house. I would’ve relinquished control and really asked for more help.
As our twins grow into toddlers I’m learning this even more so firsthand when they experience “big feelings”. They just need me to be. They need me to regulate my nervous system so they can regulate theirs. And they’ve been growing with me for 2.5 years so it’s understandable that they’ve absorbed some of my postpartum depression and anxiety. I cannot dwell on that but I can be in the present and be what they need. A calm presence that allows them to feel. Someone who allows them to cry. To hold them when they want to be held. To keep them from banging their head on the ground in frustration. To tell them, I understand they are frustrated. I hear what they are frustrated about and guide them in what we will do next.
I’ve birthed a new Robyn. Robyn the capable twin mom. Robyn, a loving, caring working mom. The person who would do anything for her family. Who has work boundaries in place so she truly be with her family when she’s not in her home office. Who gives hugs and kisses throughout the day as she comes out of her office. Who helps put the twins down for naps if they need their mom. A working mom who gives them kisses and hugs before going down to her home office and tears up as they stand and blow me kisses and yell “see you soon Mom”.
If you are reading this as a mom to be, I hope this was a new perspective you might not have been aware of. If you are reading this as a brand new mom and struggling to just be, I hope it gives you inspiration to take charge of your nervous system healing so you can be present for your babe(s) and yourself.
And in this post, that I wrote for my paid subscribers I share all the scientific resources on cold dipping that I’ve found as I was researching this topic.
How To Get Started With Cold Dips
I had 4 ways of easing into it.
Step 1: I started by always finishing my showers with a cold shower. You can download the Wim Hof app and there is a cold shower challenge you can follow.
Step 2: I would have an Epsom salt bath every other night. I would leave the bath to cool down overnight and cold plunge in the morning.
Step 3: I would run cold baths with the tap turned all the way to cold.
Step 4: And finally I worked up to running a cold bath with the tap turned all the way to cold and then I’d dump 2 huge ice cubes in. I made the ice cubes by leaving water in Tupperware containers outside in the cold negative Ottawa weather.
My Next Step: I want to challenge myself to a cold plunge through the ice in the local river. I just haven’t had a chance to go out and meet with our local Wim Hof community of dippers yet. But I’ll definitely try before this winter is over.
The Benefits I’ve Seen This Month
I’ve been able to experience two benefits within a short amount of time.
I’ve experienced more energy when I dip in the morning.
But weirdly enough, when I dip in the evening after an infrared sauna session I experience deep sleep.
Are you a cold dipper? How do you make it happen for yourself? And for how long is each dip?
For us, this is would be the next level of planning.
PACE is an acronym that stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency
Many Fieldcraft Survival staff are former military so I believe that’s where the use comes from. The PACE acronym is actually used in communication planning but can apply to preparedness plans.
This year I’ll build out our food, water, and shelter PACE plans.
Typical Emergency Scenario Requiring a PACE Preparedness Plan
Since we live in Ottawa, Ontario our city has fallen prey to several kinds of natural disasters from Tornadoes to Ice Storms. With many of these weather scenarios, parts of the city could be out of power for hours, days, or weeks at a time. So for this blog post, I’ll use a multiple-day power outage example to map out our PACE plan for 3 key areas of survival.
Food PACE Plan
Primary: Our primary way to nourish ourselves is farm to table. This includes acquiring foods from farms during harvest seasons and learning how to store them. From packing freezers to shelf-stable canning.
Alternate: If we were to lose power, we have a generator to keep our freezers cold. We have quite enough food stored on hand to last us a while. And depending on the weather if it’s winter our lovely Canadian climate lends itself well to having an outdoor fridge/freezer. For primary and alternate, you may also want to think about how much food you want on hand to feed your family from 1 week, to 3 months to a year. The amount of food you have on hand will be different for everyone’s comfort levels.
Contingency: We purchased several freeze-dried buckets of food that have at least a 10-year shelf life so I’ll put this in the contingency bucket. And if we don’t end up using them to survive they are perfect to take on future canoe trips (so we can use them up before the expiry date).
Emergency: My wanting to garden and learning how to grow our own food is definitely not a primary or alternative way of feeding our family (yet). So I’ll put that in the emergency bucket for now. This would be based on an emergency that halted all food supply changes in addition to our local farmers who I currently source food from.
Water PACE Plan
According to this blog, on average we need at least 1 gallon per day per individual. 1/2 of this gallon is used for drinking, 1/4 for cooking, and 1/4 for washing. A recommendation is to keep at least 3 days of water on hand in the house. So that means I need at least 12 gallons on hand for our family of four.
So if the power goes out we only have a bit of time before we don’t have access to water from the taps in our house. Here are the things we already have in place and what else we need to do to have a PACE plan when it comes to water.
Primary: Our primary water source is the water that runs through our reverse osmosis system in our house. There is a reservoir, so we would have access to what is in there at the beginning of a power outage. It actually isn’t a lot so we’d move to our alternate plans quite quickly.
Alternate: We have water stored in glass containers in our pantry. We currently have 1 large carboy which is 5 gallons and then 3 1-gallon glass containers which used to have apple cider vinegar in them. That means I still need to add 4 gallons to my storage shelves.
Contingency: We have a water filter that we bring camping with us. While this is a great contingency solution it takes quite a while to pump one Nalgene of water with this filter. I’ve been thinking about buying a Berkey for large filtration at home. We will just need something to carry the water into the house. Whether it’s catching rain or sourcing it from nearby rivers. I’ll be looking at purchasing something like Water Bricks, a WaterBOB for filling a bathtub, and a collapsible rainwater barrel.
Emergency: Boiling water can be an emergency solution. If the emergency lasted longer than a few days we might choose to move locations. Our bug-out location is on a lake. I also have several supplies in my mobility bag in my vehicle for purifying water such as Life Straws and AquaTabs while traveling to an alternate location.
Shelter PACE Plan
Primary: Our primary shelter is obviously our house. As previously mentioned we have a mobile generator to keep our fridge, freezer, X, and a few lights working in a power outage.
Alternate: As part of my self-reliant challenge for the year, I do want to upgrade the mobile generator to a propane one that isn’t reliant on gas. We’ll purchase and install it later this year after the snow melts.
Contingency: We actually have two friends who live nearby in the country with generators. We could always go and stay with them if our house wasn’t safe anymore.
Emergency: If our two friends’ houses are not available we also have our emergency bug-out location.
Do you have PACE plans in place for food, water, or shelter? Let me know if I should add anything to ours.