Whenever I meet new people / make new friends, as we hang out more and move on from being mere acquaintances, get past first impressions, etc., (usually after 3-5 social ‘times’ that we share), some kind of verbal declaration is eventually made to me of the substance that I am ‘unusual’ or, perhaps ‘unlike other people they’ve met’ or, sometimes I get it as a question, something along the lines of:
“What are you?”
Well the answer to that, it turns out, is a mutant.
Disclaimer #1 – All of us are carriers for gene mutations (but not all of us express those genes in a significant way).
Disclaimer #2 – If you are expressing a mutation, it’s usually a bad thing.
I am now in the process of finding out what kind of mutant I am. We’ve narrowed it down to two likely culprits, and I wish the choice was between mutations like the ones possessed by the X-Men, like, shall I be Wolverine OR Magneto?…
But no, instead it is between something called the MTHFR gene mutation and an (unidentified?) gene mutation that is theorized to lead to a condition called Pyroluria. And no those don’t come with special powers.
At least, not ones you’d want.
Maybe I should back up…
You may remember that last year I started having panic attacks. I eventually figured out that these were related to sensory issues, where everything gets dialed up too loud and then my whole nervous system starts doing this feedback loop thing and, well, it got to be debilitating. I know it sounds kind of like Professor X but I’m telling you, it’s not like that.
More like if I was a superhero, my kryptonite would be those crackly cellophane wrappers people wrap food and candy in.
ME: “That green stuff that hurts Superman in the movies.”
YOU: “OHHHHH, KRYP-tonite.
ME: “Yes that.”
YOU: “I get it…like the crackling of cellophane drains your powers and eventually kills you.”
I went to the acupuncturist, but that didn’t help.
Then our holistic doctor (real MD but with a holistic worldview) suggested that maybe I wasn’t ‘methylating’ properly, that maybe I had this MTHFR gene mutation, etc. He scribbled a supplemental regimen and said that it would either help me or make me way worse and then we’d know for sure.
Well long story short, the supplements helped. I got better. A LOT better, but then the pooping started:
ME: “Man, I’ve had diarrhea for like, forever.”
WIFE: “What? For how long?”
ME: “Well……..I don’t know. Couple of months, maybe.”
WIFE: “COUPLE of MONTHS!!”
WIFE: “That isn’t OK, you should have told me!”
ME: “It just kinda creeps up on you, not like it’s all at once.”
WIFE: (staring, incredulous)
ME: “You get used to it.”
WIFE: “We have to back you down on your supplements, see if that helps.”
And yes, it did help, but then my sensory issues started to come back, Big Time, (as President Trump would say) and this was a problem. So we inched my supplements back up, the symptoms subsided, the stools stayed pretty normal. My body sort of found a balancing point, at least for a while.
But then more months went by and I found that my ‘dosage’ wasn’t working as well anymore, that my issues started coming back (the sensory issues, not the diarrhea).
I found I could control it by taking booster amounts of a related supplement that our doctor has prescribed for ’emergencies’ but with every day being an ’emergency day’ I became worried that maybe I was building up some kind tolerance.
I didn’t want to just keep taking more of it forever.
So we sought out a shiny new naturopath who specializes in MTHFR gene mutations, anxiety, Autism spectrum stuff, all of that, and after a 3 day food study and a lengthy interview, she suggested that I probably don’t have an MTHFR gene mutation (yay?) but perhaps a different gene mutation that causes this Pyroluria thing (boo). Similar symptoms, different causes, means switching from supplementing with B12 to B6, among other things, etc., but we can’t be sure without some tests.
So we’ve sent away to have my genes sequenced by 23andme (pretty cool) and are going to be sending away a urine test to check for Pyroluria (less cool).
FYI I’d love it to be Pyroluria, which is WAY less serious than an MTHFR gene mutation (think: Cancer), but as I step down my original supplements and go on to the new ones, I’m having trouble again with sensory issues…
So which is it? MTHFR or Pyroluria?
We’ll find out in 6-8 weeks.
In the meantime please avoid crackling cellophane near my person…unless it’s like in a jokey way…because it’s always super funny when Batman hides kryptonite under Superman’s chair at Justice League meetings.
Batman’s such a prankster.
*Wolverine graphic used without permission, please don’t sue. I just love Wolverine. Here, go buy some Wolverine comic books….
NEXT TIME, ON THE CRUNCHY DUNGEON…