Friday, January 26, 2007

My Dark Passion

I am talking chocolate. I am talking the very darkest of the dark, the kind that is slow to release its sweetness and leaves you with an aftertaste of bitterness, wanting more. The one who said that sex is just a substitute for good chocolate may have been joking but those of us initiated into its compelling embrace laugh darkly.

This kind of pleasure must have a sting in its tail. In my case it’s migraine – what I get if I have too much or sometimes even if I have any at all. I can eat as much milk chocolate as I like and nothing happens except that I get fatter, but eating it is like kissing a mere mortal after Zeus. I have adapted. I have made compromises. It compels me still, whispers to me in words only I can understand, and I have the occasional mouthful.

Now I am told that eating 45g of it every day is good for people with M.E. There have been clinical trials at Hull Royal Infirmary that have produced “exciting results.”
I am like a lifer who is occasionally confronted with the promise of parole, the hope of which waxes like the moon, and wanes like it too. I have done alternative therapies, dietary regimes, acupuncture, drugs, supplements, crystals and, yes, Affirmations. I have done it all. And now they are telling me to eat chocolate.

They are not promising a cure. What they say is that the results are significant. People feel better and stronger when they eat the chocolate than when given a placebo. Hardened old-timer though I am, I cannot help but lift my head a little. We are not talking Cadbury’s Bournville here, we are talking a specially formulated 85% cocoa product: in other words, a real head-banger. Well - pink Migraleve has always been my friend. I am tempted.

Suddenly it doesn’t seem sexy any more. It seems like a potentially beneficial medicine. Something lost, something gained. I could cope with that.


nmj said...

Oh dear, Signs, You are more optimistic than me about the chocolate, I blogged about this trial a while back and I was not very optimistic. Perhaps I am too battle-weary, but I think until they truly get their biomedical acts together and get to the bottom of the pathology of the illness, we have no cure. I too have tried everything, plus quite scary clinical trials inc. a plasma exchange with steroid therapy which made me much worse. The only things which have helped slightly were ACTH injections, and, later, intravenous vitamin C. But, of course, any improvement, no matter how slight is worth it. Maybe there is something in the chocolate. Who the hell knows.

Reading the Signs said...

you are right of course, nmj, that there needs to be proper study and I wasn't for a moment suggesting I thought of this as potential cure.I suppose I was trying to express a kind of vulnerability (this, I think, rather than optimism) I still have to something that might help with symptoms - at the crudest level. Your clinical trials sound very scary. My scariest trial was Prozac. They said that "trials" (clinical?) had suggested it helped significantly with muscle fatigue. It nearly made me bonkers. At least the chocolate won't do that. I'll keep you informed.

nmj said...

Actually, that chocolate would do nicely right now as I wait for the boiler repair man! Yeah, the plasma exchange was vile, but I was so young (20) & so ill & it was the dark year of 1984, no one had a clue about the illness & you just trusted what the neurologist said . . .you poor thing, Prozac for muscle fatigue? I know the old tricyclics have anti-inflammatory properties, but hadn't heard of Prozac helping with fatigue. I wouldn't go near it!