I had so much hope. Recently during an Internet plunge, I had discovered a simple treatment, potentially a cure, for an ailment that has plagued me since I was five years old.
Diving deeper I discovered lots of anecdotal evidence and lots of praise for this juicy therapy. There was no scientific evidence, no double-blind controlled clinical trial, and no big-pharma pushing this natural remedy, but I was ready to perform my own therapeutic test. What did I have to lose?
The condition that gets me down? It's canker sores, those little white punched out ulcers that pop up on the inner lining of my mouth with annoying frequency. They come in crops, they last for about a week and can cause pretty intense pain. Sometimes they come after minor trauma such as biting my cheek, other times they come from nowhere.
Most people don't complain of any systemic symptoms, but mine are frequently accompanied by a prodrome of fatigue and swollen lymph nodes that on bad outbreaks will last as long as the ulcers persist.
In recent years the sores have shown an increasing tendency to arise on the undersurface of my tongue, leading to sluggishness of my speech. If you hear me slurring, I haven't been dipping into the Macallan 12, I am just dealing with a bout of canker sores.
Remedies, I've tried a few; but they have failed, hardly worth the mention. Special toothpaste, adhesive strips lined with secret healing agents, avoiding spices, steroid unguents. None have done much good.
Ibuprofen, lots of ibuprofen, cuts down on the pain but does nothing to shorten the course. Oral steroids do promote faster healing, supporting my theory that the sores are an auto-immune phenomenon, but I hate to overuse the potent drugs.
My medical colleagues haven't offered much for me. My dentist just gives me soft toothbrushes. A rheumatologist I once spoke with scoffed at my notion that the swollen nodes had anything to do with the sores.
And then I stumbled across kiwi fruit. The online article described relief, and even prevention, by eating one kiwi a day. What was the preventive factor? Was it in the juicy green pulp, or in the tiny black seeds? Did the woody center core contain some homeopathic marvel? I didn't know, and I didn't care.
I became a kiwi hunter, buying cartons of the little gems every time I shopped. Woodmans, Sunset, Publix down in Orlando--I got my greenies from all of them, even paying a few pennies extra for organic varieties. It became my evening ritual, scooping the fruit out of its skin and enjoying the sweetness while I played Jeopardy! with Amazon Alexa.
And for a while, it seemed to be working. Two weeks, then three weeks, then a month, pain-free. Not a record, but encouraging. Until last weekend. I recall accidentally chewing on my cheek--and a day later the sores were there. AND under my tongue and on the opposite cheek. My kiwi cure had collapsed.
So now I look sadly at the crate of fuzzy New Zealanders in the fridge. I suppose I will find a way to eat them, though it will be with a heavy heart and a sore mouth, looking for the next "cure." Any suggestions?
Last week's blogs:
photo credit: Laurence Vagner <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/86078191@N00/11824496485">January photo challenge #7 : Fruit</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
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