Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...Tell Me More
It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!
The first time it happened I panicked. My vision was slowly filling up with shiny blobs of light. Instinctively I went to a dark room and, 15 minutes in, I couldn’t see. Eventually it ramped down just like it ramped up. And as soon as it cleared, the pain started. I was never one for much pain medication, so I just put a cold rag on my forehead and bore it. Then the nausea kicked in. The pain subsided after a few hours. But it happened again the next week. And the next.
The third time, I hyperventilated from the pain and my boyfriend drove me to the hospital at 2 a.m. A scan cleared me of any brain tumors and I was diagnosed with ocular migraines. The doctor gave me a prescription for a drug used to help cancer patients deal with nausea and told me to get a bottle of Excedrin.
People who have had ocular migraines know what I’m talking about. It fills your world with panic. What will trigger it next? Bright white snow? Car headlights? My mother tells me my aunt gets shots to stop them, so I figure it must run in the family. I became attached to my sunglasses. I’d wear them even at night sometimes to block building or street lights. I had to pull over in my car once because I couldn’t see through the “shinys,” as I called them. It’s not a good way to live. As a college sophomore, I was kept out of class and work with pain. I eventually learned to stop the pain by taking the Excedrin as soon as I saw the flashy lights. But that much medicine would leave me in a haze for the rest of the day.
Here’s what gets me. As a sophomore, I had put on the freshman 15 and wanted to start the year eating healthy. I cut out all white grain products and switched to whole-grain bread and pasta. I ate healthy lean meats but would binge on sugar on the weekends. Years passed and I accepted migraines as a part of my life. I carried a big bottle of meds everywhere. Here’s a look at my old diet:
I graduated college and married the boyfriend who drove me to the hospital. He was always overweight and I, being a journalist/graphic artist, was constantly bombarded with health information and the newest studies. So we tried a few of these popular trends to help him get his weight down (6-foot, 245). I wasn’t as worried about mine at the time (5′ 7″, 145), but I figured I could stand to lose a few. We did P90X, the Abs Diet, lots of whole grains and really boring food. I still had migraines. I still had IBS, acne – oh and regular headaches, too!
In late 2011 my husband found your website on some message boards. He started Primal and two weeks later, he says he feels like Superman! Able to leap tall buildings! Inspired to run around and lift things! The weight came off fast with his fasting schedule. I looked at the catalog of research online and it just seemed right. I couldn’t be left out, and he needed my support like he always helped me through my migraines. I got the book and started in January 2012 with a meal plan that looked like this:
And yes, I dropped down to 125 pounds (high school weight) and my husband lost 70. Yes, my IBS symptoms are gone. My skin is glowing and there are no more sugar crashes. But what makes me tear up in gratitude is that I haven’t had a single migraine since.
Looking back, I have to pinpoint those grains/gluten as the migraine trigger. I’ve had sugar since (I still love ice cream). I’ve had legumes a few times, but I’ve been gluten free. And I won’t go back. In July I stopped carrying around the industrial-sized bottle of pills. If Primal just cured the migraines alone, I’d still do it. It’d be worth it. The fear is finally gone.