When Something Good Comes From Something Bad

Last week I didn’t much feel like moving a muscle. I couldn’t keep anything in my stomach. My bladder was driving me crazy with the spasms. 

But sometimes something good comes from something bad. 

This week I feel much better. 

I had the ultrasound and learned it was a fatty cyst on my ovary. 

But I’m pretty excited about something else.

I haven’t had any real pain in my ankle since I stopped putting caffeine in my body! 

Could eliminating caffeine make that much of a difference? 

Or is this a crazy fluke of some kind?

The thing is, if I hadn’t been so sick, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor. And he wouldn’t have ordered any tests. 

Here’s how this unfolded…

I was in bed sick for over a week. Weak as could be. 

I stopped drinking my morning coffee. And later sweet tea. And after that chocolate.

One day I tried a carbonated drink, and my symptoms returned, so that’s out the door.

A few days in, I realized that I hadn’t put my tight stocking over my ankle in a few days. And out of habit, I reached over to pick it up and put it on. 

I haven’t gone one single day since I broke my ankle five and a half years ago without a stocking to make my ankle feel stable.

I’ve told myself: Okay, I have scarcely done a thing. Lying in bed isn’t much of a true indicator for ankle pain. Maybe I’m just rested up. 

And maybe that’s partially true.

But this week I’ve done some pretty difficult things for me. I moved my big cart in the kitchen. I took everything off and cleaned it. 

In so doing, I found a small dead mouse and this prodded me to move it to the other wall just for a change. I hate the idea of a dead mouse being in my home! Ewww!

Then I cleaned out drawers and took probably five pretty heavy kitchen trash bags to the corner dumpster. 

I had back pain from carrying heavy trash bags. I’ve had discomfort from doing and lifting, but not true pain.

I did ice my ankle at night just to be safe. And I decided to take it easy for a few days because I was feeling it in other areas of my body.

I also noticed that I haven’t been snacking like I used to. I don’t get these strong urges to eat something, usually sugar.

And I feel pretty darned good!

Yes, I’m 60 years old. I’ll never feel like I’m 20 or even 30 again. 

But this is a vast change since I broke my ankle on both sides tripping and falling with my camera in July of 2012. I’ve had two surgeries.

When they called and told me about the cyst, I got online and looked for things that could possibly cause it. 

Lack of exercise, caffeine consumption and obesity. Diet. Red meat or dark poultry.

Well, I sure could stand to lose some weight.

I learned that arthritis and inflammation can be caused by caffeine.

Now you know I love me some sweet tea and coffee. And I’ve been crazy for chocolate all my life. I used to drink Dr. Pepper too. 

Now I’m drinking water and juice.

I didn’t drink that much caffeine to begin with I didn’t think. My morning cup of coffee. Then a glass or two of caffeinated tea. And always chocolate. 

I read that decaffeinated is not usually the answer for some reason. So I’m not going down that road either.

I’ve changed my diet and have not really missed the constant sweets I had sitting around here. I always thought if I didn’t have chocolate it might just kill me. It would at least take the fun out of life. 

But no, that hasn’t happened.

I met my daughter to take her to lunch on her 39th birthday Tuesday and brought her a big bag of all my chocolate to dispense with as she chose. I also gave her all my coffee.

I didn’t tell her about my ankle improvement. Kind of like when it’s early in a pregnancy and you’re afraid to tell anyone yet. 

I feel better. I sleep better. I’m calmer. 

And not only have I had virtually no pain in my ankle, but I haven’t had any stomach pain since Monday.

I thought: Could diet be that important? Could it change my life?

And maybe it has. Whether it lasts is anyone’s guess. I’m sure I’ll push it too far because, well, I always do. And it will flare up to keep me in check. The pain from the cyst may come back too.

But I’m over the moon right now!

Do you know much about the effects of caffeine?

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  1. Hi Brenda,
    I know that caffeine after lunch time can keep me awake for hours at night, but nothing else. I have cut sugar out of my diet at times and have found that I have no arthritic pain or joint swelling. If I stay away from sugar my feet no longer hurt even and I have had painful feet for more than twenty years and I have tried unsuccessfully to find a reason for it. My doctor had no idea even. A change in my diet has changed my life. And I'll be 60 in a few months.

  2. Brenda – in July, I became really sick. I've been a severe migraine sufferer for decades, and the meds stopped working. Since then – had to change diet completely. Sugar feeds migraines. I'm with you … a big sweet tooth, but the cravings have really dwindled. Cut back on caffine too. Eating healthier, has helped. I struggle to fit in exercise, but it does seem to help too. Health is everything.. we learn as we go 🙂 Good luck and stay well!! LOVE the post. Thanks so much b/c all the info really helps to manage healthh and aging. <3

  3. I do drink green tea every now and then, but no coffee, no soda of any kind and no fruit juice other than sometimes an orange that I juice myself. It seems it has helped reduicing inflammation, though of course I can't be sure it's due to that.

  4. Brenda,
    I am sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. I have had some dilemmas with my health recently too and it sure is not pleasant. I am impressed that you have been able to get off the coffee!

  5. PS – you are right, decaf coffee isn't ideal either. It still contains caffeine – people mistakenly think it's caffeine-free! It's highly acidic, which can cause problems with heartburn, inflammatory bowel and bladder problems, etc. And, the decaf process also uses chemical solvents. Not good news all the way around!

  6. You asked, "Could diet be that important? Could it change my life?" Oh, heck yes! I not only read and research about food and nutrition and health a LOT (it's one of my passions, as you know), but I'm living proof. I have lost weight, lowered my blood pressure, got rid of my psoriasis, and controlled my IBS all by eating healthy and clean(exercise has helped with the losing weight and lowering blood pressure too, of course). In a nutshell, if you eliminate foods with "bad" ingredients (which is most pre-packaged foods…high fructose corn syrup; hydrogenated oils, especially soybean oil; excessive sodium & MSG; food colorings; nitrates and nitrites), fast food, and sugar, your health will greatly improve. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and inflammation is the root cause of most diseases and ailments.

    I do drink one cup of coffee in the morning (or sometimes, Earl Grey tea), but I use organic stevia to sweeten it. This is my only caffeine besides a bite of dark chocolate once in awhile. You might be extremely sensitive to caffeine, which is not uncommon. My son, Tim can't handle caffeine. It makes his heart race badly.

  7. Well, hallelujah and good for you! It's all very interesting and amazing. I definitely believe what we put in our bodies makes a tremendous difference in our health and longevity. Way back in the seventies I started reading Adelle Davis's books on nutrition. This was well before taking supplements was common and before the "medical" use of foods. I learned a whole lot from her books, some of which is outdated now, but gave me an excellent foundation for understanding the importance of consuming healthy foods and not consuming foods that are not health-building. I've read, and keep reading, many other books and articles on nutrition since reading Adell and am constantly trying to give my body what it needs. That doesn't mean that I have no health issues. I do. I have arthritis, mainly in my hands and feet, I take thyroid medication and antidepressants. BUT, I know I would be in much worse condition if I were not eating well. The respiratory allergies that plagued me as a child and young person have disappeared completely.

    I've never been a coffee-drinker nor a soda pop addict. Caffeine just wires me to the extent that I am jittery all the time and can't sleep at night. That's not difficult to give up! However, I do have a great and undying love for chocolate and the only way I can curb it is to not have it in the house. I find that I can eat a moderate amount of organic dark chocolate, but that's it. Do I always behave myself with the chocolate consumpton? No. I had quite a bit of the kids' Halloween candy! But no more–it's hidden from them and me!

    I am thrilled that you have been discovering these dietary things that make you feel better, Brenda. It sure does improve our quality of life when our bodies are pain free and we can do the things that give us pleasure. I hope you will explore the many books available about nutrition and health to learn other information that might help you gain and keep an excellent quality of life. Keep on keeping on!

  8. I'm so glad you are feeling better!!

    Look at how much science is now learning about our gut micro-biome;how it can affect our health, and that it is influenced by everything we ingest.

    Be well.


  9. I stopped eating anything with chocolate about 40 years ago for lent and never went back. Once you get over the "hump" of the craving, the desire for it disappears. I stopped drinking soda years ago also, but I have two cups of coffee daily and enjoy it, nothing after 9 am or I will have trouble sleeping. The body does try to heal itself; maybe that's what is happening to you. Wouldn't that be marvelous.

  10. I gave up soda years ago. The caffeine in it seemed way more than in a cup of coffee. And the fake sugar is probably a poison. Even tho I only drank a little it was like dynamite. Now I drink coffee tho I didn't until I was past 60. But what I drink a day is probably the equivalent of half a cup with a lot of milk. I brew one cup and it lasts 3 or 4 days. Next I will have to work on giving up bread or sugar.

  11. Brenda, I'm not sure about the effects of caffeine, but even though I drink diet soda it still makes me crave food, not necessarily sugar, but just anything I can eat while drinking it. Sugar makes you want more sugar, but even though there's no real sugar in diet drinks, the brain recognizes sweetness and wants more. So the fact that you haven't had sugar has probably reduced your craving for it. Good for you! Glad you're feeling better so we can do lunch one day soon!

  12. Wow, that is wonderful! I never imagined that just one cup of coffee a day could have such a strong effect on overall health.

    I guess your initial bladder problem was a blessing in disguise.

    1. I don't think it was the one cup really. I'm thinking the tea and chocolate and things that might have ggravated my bladder but maybe also helped cause the cyst to begin with. Guess I'll never know for sure.

  13. i'm so happy for you! it's time you had a break!
    and probably diet IS that important. I know when I went off all sugar and grains… the joint and back pain literally disappeared. but did I stay on it after 6 months? of course not! human nature I guess. now I'm trying again and feeling more determined.

  14. So glad you are feeling better Brenda, I hope it continues! I know that much of the food we eat isn't really that good for us. I read a book called Wheat Belly that just amazed me how bad wheat is and how much it's even in!!


    1. Read the label on your wheat bread and see what's in it. Just because it says wheat bread on the outside of the pkg doesn't mean it's made with whole grains. And most wheat breads also have soybean oil and high fructose in them. Your better grocery stores, like Trader Joe's, have some healthy breads. However, a lot of people have problems digesting wheat products/bread in general. I limit my bread/gluten, or else my tummy gets very bloated. I read Wheat Belly, too. Very eye-opening!

  15. Brenda- I am happy you're feeling better. I understand how you feel as someone going through health issues right now. I need to read more about caffeine and inflammation- do you have any books or sources you recommend?

  16. I can no longer drink caffeinated coffee. I have 2 cups of 1/2 decaf and that's it. I too can't drink regular coffee since using a thyroid med. Eating sugar for me breeds eating more sugar, so I try to stay away from it. I never drink soda. So it's bye-bye the candy I loved. So yes, I'm finding a different diet is HUGE at this age. Just huge. Exercise is another huge one. I have a bum knee now, but I sleep well when I exercise! Ah… getting old is micromanaging our bodies! Nice to hear that you are feeling better!

    1. I did, too. But when you eliminate processed sugar from your diet, you eventually lose your taste for it. If you truly need to sweeten something, you can use either a little bit of organic stevia (a teeny bit goes a long way!), raw organic honey (from a beekeeper; not the stuff in the grocery store), or organic pure maple syrup.

  17. I limit my caffeine to one cup of coffee a day and no more. I should probably stop that too. I find my stomach gets very upset if I have more, and it is the coffee not just the caffeine. I know when a woman has cystic breasts they tell you no chocolate or caffeine so maybe that is why you feel better. Less meat may be helping too You should check out the blog Life After Money. It a lady in the UK who is 68 and healthy as can be. She walks everywhere and eats tons of veges while saving money and being frugal. She also lives by herself. I think you would enjoy it. Glad you are feeling better.

    1. I only had one cup of coffee the past year or so. But yes, I've read it's not just the caffeine in coffee that can be problematic. I'm looking up that blog right now!

  18. So happy for you Brenda, I don't know much about coffee as I am not an addict (coffee!) like my husband. Some people can't start their day without a few cups, it has never done anything for me.
    I do binge out on candy but chocolate I can take it or leave it.
    Here's hoping you continue to feel well without anymore pain.

    1. I've always preferred chocolate candy. Guess for a treat I'll find another. Looked at some at the grocery yesterday, but figured I didn't really need it!

  19. For me not eating sugar is key. It's hard to do because it is in everything. Plus all the whites — rice, flour, dairy…most of it is simple sugar. If I cut all that out I feel fantastic. Lean protein, mostly veg, some fruit and water-water-water-water!

    1. I've got to be better about looking at labels. I'm cutting out beef, just eat a bit of chicken here and there. I'm not crazy about meat anyway. Never liked the texture.

    1. Maybe it's all the sugary stuff I put in my coffee that was also the culprit! Didn't know sugar was an inflammatory. Sometimes wish I was back in childhood where we ate mostly veggies from the big garden!

    2. Sugar is one of the most inflammatory things you can put in your body. Didn't know you were putting that in your coffee. So sounds like it was the sugar, not the coffee itself that was the culprit.

  20. That's great Brenda! I don't know about caffeine but I do know I can't get near coffee because I am ultra sensitive to it. It kills my thyroid and makes me feel like I have the flu. I hurt all over and it literally sucks all the serotonin out of my brain.

  21. Hi Brenda. I don't know if eliminating caffeine is specifically helping your ankle, but it surely is helping to give you an overall better feeling of health. We might not be 20 or 30, but we can be the best 60-plus year-olds we can be!

    By the way, could you consider getting a small dolly (hand truck) or a small luggage cart or something for hauling things to the dumpster? There are small ones for $25 or $30 at online stores, and you could even use it in the apartment to haul a tub from the closet to the living room. It could be like a little helper for you and save your back and shoulders from injury.

    1. I had a dolly when I moved here that I gave to the maintenance shed because I didn't have anywhere to store it. Guess I could have put it on the patio, though it would have stuck out like a sore thumb. I do need to find something. I'd haul my vintage wagon from out back, but getting it out the front door with the dogs not running out and down the street is difficult.

  22. What great news!! I am in the same boat of low fat, less red meat and losing weight. I haven't gone caffeine free but do limit it to one cup of coffee a day. Right now I'm finally starting to feel better also. I hope this continues for you! Hugs!

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