Its a question of patience, initiative and time.

I am diligently working on preparing myself for the workforce. I am career counseling with one center and will make an appointment with another tomorrow. The two centers have different strengths. I am utilizing an online site run by the Alberta government as well. My resume was a challenge to configure due to lapses in time making my resume look like hell in chronological order. Dealt with this by grouping my experience and listing them by years rather than specific dates. I finally called my university to inquire about the hold on my transcripts. I had to drop out in 2009 due to a MS attack and qualified for a government bankruptcy due to disability of my student loans. However, one small one was overlooked and that loan has now tripled due to nine years of fees and interest. Until that is paid, I can’t access my transcripts. I gave them my information and expect to be hounded by them soon to pay. Which will have to wait. Oh, the wreckage of Multiple Sclerosis!

I had thought to start right away on full time and actually applied for a full time job, than had a heart attack over it. I’ve been cautioned to start with volunteer, then part time first. Which, I am doing. I applied for a reasonable job and hope to hear from them. If I take on too much, too fast, I’ll lose track of my commitment to the Wahls Protocol, which is the reason I am able to work at all. Fatigue is the other problem, there are still days where I need to sleep and do nothing. How will that work with a full time job. My ultimate goal is to eventually and slowly build myself up into a full time job situation while successfully incorporating the Wahls Protocol into that schedule, thereby, if this goes well, allowing me to wean off of disability. Time will tell that story.

Time….I’ve been held back for so long, I am raring to get out there and do something! I am ambitious by nature. A self starter. Patience is needed or I can set myself back. Not the plan! This month, I want to get to a registry and learn what is required for me to get my license. That’s a priority. I have the use of a friend’s car to practice with once I get my Learner’s Permit. I am sure it will be like riding a bike, I drove for 25 years, but its been eight years and I will need to rebuild my confidence behind the wheel. In the mean time, I am anxious to begin a part time job, I am sick of being flat broke all the time due to the cost of the Wahls Protocol. I have debt to pay on, a driver’s license to obtain, citizenship to file for (I’m on a Landed Immigrant Status) and, eventually, a car to finance. I am getting there….one carefully stacked boulder at at time.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Note: The monthly symptoms page has been updated.

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One year on Wahls! Before and After photos.

 

 

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After three months on the Wahls Protocol. End of June, 2017
after picture
Taken one week ago, one year on the Wahls Protocol, March, 2018

The before picture is with my, then, constant companions cane and leg brace at the gym. I’ve always exercised in some form or fashion. The healing is all due to the diet, along with increased exercise. I lost 40 lbs and my skin has a nice glow these days. Cane, leg brace and walker (the walker was becoming the new reality at the start of my journey on the Wahls Protocol), all are no longer needed. I walk strong, a little unsteady, but strong. Still have a limp, but not pronounced as it once was. My lower back was going, which was why I was needing the walker, unable to stand for more than five minutes at a time and falling down in my own home. My lower back will still weaken, but only after several hours of activity.

If I were more organized with this, it would be fun to make a life size cut out of the first picture and have someone film me dancing around it. My movement has improved that dramatically in one year. Today was, coincidentally, my first appointment with a career counseling agency. I said at the beginning of this journey that after one year on the Wahls Protocol I would be working. No, I don’t have a job yet, but I am sure that I am ready to try. Its been nine years.  All I can say is

Thank you DOCTOR WAHLS, MATT and DOCTOR ASHTON EMBRY, DOCTOR SWANK and EVERYONE on the DOCTOR WAHLS FACEBOOK GROUP and most importantly, MY FAMILY and FRIENDS for being so supportive! 

 

Bonne Sante!

 

 

 

A shift in attitude

Until I stop crying about the state of my affairs where I am consistently focused on what other people have or don’t have, I will go nowhere. Even if good breaks come, I won’t see them because I will be entrenched in the practice of someone else who has it better. Having Multiple Sclerosis is not what I had hoped for, but here we are. I must see past the “unfair’s” in order to cope my very best with what I’ve been dealt. For one thing, we never know what another’s “cross to bear” is. When practicing jealousy and self pity I then constantly compare with what I assume other’s have: more money, more opportunity, better upbringing, ready access to education, etc. I assume a lot. You never know what that person has been through or where they’ve been in their lives by the one day I stand with them feeling the “why them’s and not me’s”. And just consider the complete waste of time, energy and how ultimately destructive this is. Time and energy I could direct into working towards an abundant future as I seek my path of purpose, whatever that is. Even if its only the purpose of being the positive one in the room, the big smile that greeted you and made your day better.

I grew up in an unconventional way, outside mainstream society. It wasn’t easy to work out of that and learn all that I hadn’t had the chance to learn. When I think that that wasn’t fair, then I remember I’ve been given a gift from my experiences. That being the opportunity to live among people of many walks of life giving me a birds eye view of the human condition more than someone who has been sheltered all their lives, living in one place with little experience outside of their one culture. On the other hand the person who has been sheltered all their lives may find that they are satisfied with a simpler life and is a stable, steady person. Something that I’ve always had to work hard to be.

Sickness happens, I’ve been given a gift. The Wahls Protocol is my ticket out, but it has taken a commitment of mind, body and spirit. Having MS is a great deal of work all by its self. If I have to work that hard to deal with an affliction and someone hands me a tray of tools that I need only commit to the path to reap the rewards of health and well being, then really I have two choices. One is to continue being disabled in mind, body and spirit and hang onto my old ways of doing things, looking for the magic pill that will heal me without me having to change anything in my lifestyle and causing me to deal with the horrible fall out of another MS attack. Or, I can accept that I’d rather put that time, energy and effort into exercise, diet and a change of attitude that will bring me increased health and well being and no more MS attacks. I am human and stubborn, it took me two years to wrap my head around the fact that it is absolutely necessary for me to do this and become willing to go any lengths for it.

I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity in my life, as I am sure others have too, and each time it has been the same process. Change or die. There is such a thing as death of spirit too. Doesn’t have to be a mortal death. The process was always enough pain from the conflict to finally cause a moment of defeat and throwing in the towel, thus opening my mind to a better way. Once I do that, there is no more warbling back and forth, I have accepted that this is it. Then I let go of all the “poor me’s” and “its not fair’s”. Of course, there is no hope till the kit of tools is revealed. Diagnosed in 2004, I was not made aware of this till 2014. That said, it is not your fault if you’ve not been shown a way out, but once you have been shown a way that works. Then its your responsibility to give it all you’ve got. To “play the Hell out it”.

I love the quote above from Sheryl Strayed who is the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail her memoir of her own overcoming journey. A movie adaptation from the book was made called Wild (released 2014) featuring Reese Witherspoon. This is another practice of mine, I am always on the look out for others who rise above their difficulties. I fill my life with them. Instead of filling my heart with the sickest people’s antics, I choose to instead fill it with people getting well. On the 27th this month I am celebrating one year on the Wahls Protocol and will post my before and after pictures. Thank you Dr. Wahls!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels

Quote from the book: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

By Sheryl Strayer

 

 

Maybe having a cold is a reason to celebrate?!

I have a cold. Big deal right? Granted, I do get colds once in a while, but literally, I can count the times I’ve had a cold or the flu, together, on one hand since 2004 (the year of the onslaught of my disease). I asked my Neurologist about this once and he explained that he’s heard the same from others with MS that he works with. He explained, “Your immune system is hyped up.” That made sense to me and was what I also suspected. It is my antibodies attacking my own body because somewhere along the line, the lines of transmission were crossed and the antibodies mistook my myelin as a foreign threat to the system and they attack. Since my myelin is always there, my antibodies are always on guard. Weird, huh? A benefit of having MS. Of course, I’ll take the cold or flu over a MS attack any day.

So, I’m thinking, but certainly could be wrong, that this cold may be a sign that my immune system has relaxed a bit. Is it a sign of healing or the odd cold I would’ve gotten anyway? One will only know as time goes by. Before I sickened with MS, I traditionally got one cold and one flu most years. We’ll see how that goes in years to come. I’d be interested in posing this question to everyone on the Wahls Protocol Facebook page, we have members following longer then me. As well, I’m curious to know if other autoimmune illnesses experience this phenomenon. A two part question then. It is a diverse group of autoimmune illness sufferer’s treating their respective diseases with the Protocol. The perfect place to ask a question like that.

No exercise this week, a bummer. But, I’m sure that my classmates appreciated me not putting my body with its accompanying cold in a body of water with them. I will resume Sunday. I am feeling better today. Its hard to eat when everything tastes like metal, yuk. I had cold seed porridge with blueberries and coconut milk for the first meal and banger’s and mashed cauliflower and carrot for dinner. Didn’t get the greens in today, but that’s okay, we’ll catch up when I get my appetite and taste buds back. For now, I’m off to rest some more.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Ugh……Snow Bound

I workout four days a week, Sun, Mon, Thurs, and Fri. Monday I saw the MS Social Worker and today and now tomorrow, I’ve had to cancel due to the snow storm were having. It is a slow storm over the course of two days, but this city is huge, 512 square miles or 825 square kilometers. Huge. It takes them a while to clean up after storms. It makes me nervous to miss exercise sessions. It is motivating me to take the time to sit down and make jewelry. Its been awhile. That does feel good to do. Jewelry making is an old friend of mine going back 25 plus years. Things could be worse, I could be working right now trying to get to my job. Which will be a concern, hopefully, next year.

I’ve been experimenting with recipes and store bought level III adaptive snacks. Sometimes, you just need something, chewy or salty and crunchy. I’ve tried beet chips, which are good. I learned how to make Kale chips and almond flour biscuits. All hits.

Crunchy Dried Beets

The beets are dried, thin, crunchy and naturally sweet. The bag I bought’s only ingredient are dried beets. Nothing else added. That’s important, look at the ingredients always for fillers or oils we can’t have. What I especially like is that they are high in Potassium. I didn’t realize beets were high in Potassium till I read it on the bag. Potassium is helpful for me on level III, whereas that’s one of the elements that can take a hit in Ketosis. This is the brand I bought in Canada at Costco:

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These chips are sturdy enough to be good dipping chips. Dips I use are olive pate, Tahini sauce, salsa or guacamole.

Salty Kale Chips

Baked Kale chips. Helpful, whereas I can use kale as either my vegetable portion of greens or sulpher as they fall under either category. I found this recipe online:

http://ohsheglows.com/2014/03/12/6-tips-for-flawless-kale-chips-all-dressed-kale-chips-recipe/>

This has an excellent tutorial to make the perfect crunchy chip. The spices are good, though I could cut down a bit on some ingredients. Play with it till you get it where you like it.

Chewy Almond Flour Biscuits

This is a recipe I found for almond flour biscuits. I make good homemade biscuits. If that is what you’re expecting, these don’t fit that bill, however as something, new and different. They are very good. More like a soft chewy cookie, they have a nice texture and make a good base recipe that could go in the direction of cookies or flavored biscuits. I no longer have the website I found this recipe from, I apologize to the creator of them, I am going to reprint:

Almond Flour Biscuits

  • 2 cups Almond Flour
  • 2 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs (beaten) or 1 tbsp flax or chia seed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each egg
  • 1/3 cup Ghee or Coconut oil (measured solid, then melted)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I didn’t have any, so light greased with coconut oil, worked fine).
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in wet ingredients.
  3. Scoop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the lined baking sheet (a cookie scoop is the fastest way). Form into rounded biscuit shapes (flatten slightly with your fingers).
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden. Cool on the baking sheet.

I played with these already and attempted a Keto friendly cookie. I added 2 tbsp Cacao, stevia to taste (optional), and 1 tsp vanilla. They were okay. I would add more Cacao, maybe 1/4 cup. I really need to play with that more, liquid will be needed or fats increased. Play, play, play.

Everything I learn is another tool in my arsenal, giving me more options and increasing my success.

 

Bonne Sante

 

All or Nothing? I Pick All.

When I tackle something, I have learned through the years of my life to bring all of myself or nothing. I am an open book. Following the Wahls Protocol and how I am defeating MS is no different. My goals for this blog have been:

  • To help keep myself motivated and accountable
  • To provide a detailed record of one person’s healing
  • To inspire others
  • To give a truthful account, good and bad
  • To share helpful information and shortcuts that I have learned
  • To give a realistic account that does show how hard, yet how doubly rewarding this has been and is
  • To prove that its all worth it

At this time, as I have written in the past few blogs, I am rehabilitating in preparation for the workforce. I will have a job that fully utilizes all that I have to offer. Too be successful, I have had to look at some tough to swallow truths about myself. I have written about these as I deal with them. Is it wise to publicly speak of a crippling past fear of success, of horrible wreckage at the hands of MS, of darker issues that I have worked very hard to successfully overcome, thereby preparing me for a one hundred percent commitment to the Wahls Protocol?

Fear….what if a future employer reads about these issues and discriminates and I lose the opportunity for this job or that? Here’s my answer to that…..I bring all of myself or nothing. That includes any future job on my horizon. My learned skills, my experiences, and my wisdom comes with me. I once lived in a self constructed prison, terrified that the world would know where I’ve been and what I’ve done and that secretly, deep down inside, I knew you knew that I was worthless. It has taken me a long time to overcome that. Today, I have so much to give, so much I want to learn, and so much to share. Because of the Wahls Protocol, my body is finally catching up to my ambition and drive to help others. My mind is out of the fog, awake and hungry to learn more.

I had a friend in the early 90’s who had Progressive MS. She was diagnosed when she was 18. She managed to complete her degree in education, but was never able to realize her potential in her chosen career. By 26, just as I met her, she lost her right to drive, her husband left her for someone else and she then had to let go of her position as the primary caregiver for their three year old son. She was athletic, she went to the gym five days a week. A tiny, muscular thing. She strained as she forced her spastic legs to walk, her hands shook uncontrollably and the day she messed herself, but then calmly gave us direction to help her, all of us embarrassed for her, whilst she stayed calmer then us all. I think often of her courage and dignity in the face of all that ugliness.

That year a new drug, the first ever, was introduced. Copaxone. I watched her face light up with a renewed hope, only to see it fall just a few days later when she was told that the drug could do nothing for her as she was Progressive. Well Joanne, I just want to say to you, I have relapsing remitting MS and I have been on Copaxone for ten years. I started the drug when I had 20 lesions and now I have double that. I too lost my ability to drive, lost my ability to work, had incontinent bowels and had to give up primary care of my children. So, my dear friend, you missed nothing. She died a few years later, bedridden. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, I immediately thought of Joanne. Terrified, having watched what it did to her. If she had been given the knowledge that I have been given, she would’ve jumped on that band wagon in a heartbeat. She was far more disciplined than I am. If she’d known that Dr. Swank had published his 30 year trial on MS and diet with astounding results around the same time as the release of Copaxone, she’d be here telling me about the new exploits of her now adult son.

That’s why I have a responsibility to share my experience, strength and hope and that includes the dark stuff. So anyone afflicted with not just MS, but other autoimmune conditions, can have a chance to take control of their own health again or even better, prevent themselves from ever developing one of these diseases. This is my personal journey, and like all journey’s, though they may be the same road, each will be its own.

My success is in memory of Joanne.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Step by Step, Habit by Habit

I am busy renewing my resolve, not that I have for a minute considered giving up, but I have slid back a bit on my enthusiasm. I am blogging daily again, taking in written and viewing materials like What’s with Wheat on Netflix and The Wahls Protocol in preparation for preparing for Wahls level III. “Step by step and habit by habit”, was a wonderful line someone said in What’s with Wheat. It is how its done. It is change in many ways. Exercise, nine cups of varied vegetables a day, whole foods, organic foods, gluten free cooking, fermented foods and probiotics, bone broth, seaweed, organ meat, extra time cooking from scratch resulting in more dishes and more time doing them, e-stim, physio, detoxing via sauna, mud baths, Epsom salt baths, and or steam baths, meditation and other stress relievers, supplements, non toxic household products, juggling finances, learning how to make everything homemade because its ten times cheaper than buying it, etc.

I just learned to make bone broth, finally. Now that I know it isn’t that big of a deal, I will make more next month. I am working up to making my own Kombucha tea. Kombucha tea is a fermented drink. Fermented foods help to build good bacteria in your stomach, which you want. To buy it is expensive, but far cheaper to make it and by all accounts not that difficult. But, its still something new to learn about, what is it, why is it good for you, what materials do you need, how much for the base materials, and so on. Kombucha tea is organic black or green tea, filtered water, sugar and flavorings like ginger or berry. To start its suggested that you buy a kombucha scoby or “grow” your own. Now there’s an intimidating word, “scoby”. What is a scoby?! I will let this very good and simply explained and illustrated blog on the subject explain it: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-kombucha-scoby-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-

My plan is to learn to grow my own following the instructions above. I need a large glass pitcher, therefore, the end of the month is when I will be fully committed to this lab experiment. I will take pictures and share my scoby journey with you. In the mean time, what definitely helps my enthusiasm is, as I’ve said before, the fact that hardly a day goes by without someone mentioning my remarkable transformation these last nine and a half months and today is no different. At the gym where I swim, a woman, who was my cane buddy, remarked today, “Where’s your stick (cane)?” As always, when someone asks, I take it as an opportunity to introduce them to the Doctor Wahls Protocol, which I did. Most times, even though they asked and I am living proof right before them, when I mention the dramatic eating changes, I watch their face fall flat, my cue to discontinue the conversation. Which was the case with this woman, but later, at my physio appointment, something truly remarkable happened.

I’ve had a course of nine physio appointments one every two weeks. I have one more after today. I’ve explained what I’m doing, and all have been interested, but today was something. Of course they’ve had time to see me transform here as well, because its been a couple of months and I am continuing to heal. My physical therapist is actively researching the information, and while I rested with the heat at the end, two other people asked questions, a lot of questions about my illness and what I am doing and what the Wahls Protocol is.

Now, if that doesn’t make one feel enthusiastic, then there’s just no hope for me!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Focus on the Successes

This is a short one today. I’m anxious to start Ketosis and have decided to begin this Wednesday. I’m mostly out of foods not okay on that level. Living alone, I have the benefit of not having anything in the house that could make it hard for me to get started on Level III. Most people live with others and must share the household cabinets and fridge with other foods, that is a benefit of living alone that I like. Not that its impossible to do this in those situations, I listen to Wahls members who tackle this very problem successfully. Although, I have noticed that the ones who do best with this are the ones who have supportive family who also adapt to the Wahls Protocol, although usually to a lessor degree, whereas they’re not sick, it isn’t necessary for them to be as strict as those of us who are battling an illness.

In the last few months, in my attempts to learn to like various foods required on the Protocol, I have focused on what I don’t like or have not found a way to adapt to more than what I have learned to like. Here are some of the weird and not so weird foods that I’ve come to love, or have always loved and didn’t know could be considered good for me:

  • Kombucha Tea
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Coffee with full fat coconut milk and almond butter blended in my Ninja Professional blender
  • Full fat coconut milk
  • Raw veggies, I crave them daily
  • Bacon (the Protocol calls for antibiotic, hormone and nitrate free, but I can’t afford the nitrate free, I buy antibiotic and hormone free, but with nitrates. When my financial situation improves I’ll go back to nitrate free, I figured 2 out of 3 is better than nothing)
  • Greens salad with fresh organic strawberries, almonds, purple cabbage and avocado
  • Purple cabbage
  • Cauliflower recipes, like Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian Fried Rice, mock mashed potatoes and Alfredo Sauce
  • Ground bison, which tastes infinitely better than beef hamburger and digests better
  • Chia seeds and chia seed pudding
  • Tahini Sauce

I’m sure there’s more than this, but I can’t think of anymore right now. I had a great workout this morning and a wonderful visit with a friend. I’m off to ready myself for Physio and exercise tomorrow.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/search/eye/

So, this happened to my bone broth after freezing…Ugh!

What a bummer. Well, at least it only happened to the two large bottles. I still have the four small ones I froze, two small jars in the lower fridge and a cup I drank yesterday. I threw these two out. I know what happened too. I did cool the liquid first, then bottle and cool further in the lower fridge before transferring to the freezer. I had filled the smaller bottles first, taking care to leave an inch of space at the top of each jar to allow for expansion when freezing. I forgot to do the same for the last two larger jars. This is what happens when you don’t leave space. Without the room to expand, the bottles broke. Oh well, lesson learned.

I am working my way back to Wahls level III (nutritional Ketosis). As I’ve said, there was a difference for me with level III as compared to the other levels. I had a greater result in healing, although, I have had healing on all three levels, but it was significant on level III, especially cognitively. I have some foods left over from the other levels, throwing away good food is not something I can afford. I am finishing off the Gluten free flour, dried whole cranberries and baby potatoes. That’s all I have left, once those go, I’ll begin level III again. Right now, I’m getting ready for it psychologically and physically. Some people can jump right into things, I have to prepare myself, which takes time. When I do this, whatever it is I am working towards has a far better success rate.

I am still hearing almost daily, people’s astonishment over my continued transformation. With the Protocol, it is dramatic and its fast. It’s only been nine months. I don’t look sick anymore. My gate, my sense of balance and my cognitive abilities have all significantly improved. However, I still have a lot of healing to do yet, hence level III. From what I understand, level III, over time replaces cellular structure with new cells, seven to ten years for complete replacement, to then be sustained by continuing the good habits I am learning and working on implementing into my life in a second nature way.

I am still stubborn about eating organ meat and seaweed. I have to find a way to include them. What worked best for me was taking desiccated liver and spirulina pills. But, I can not afford them. I need to research further ways to cook with organ meat, which can effectively hide them and the taste. I have looked into it here and there. What I need to do is compile a list of recipes, which I have been doing with notebook on my computer. I need to take the time, look at them again, compile them into one category and begin testing the recipes till I find the ones that work best. I am rebuilding my resolve to not settle for less. These are my upcoming goals.

In the mean time, I am still exercising four days a week and have two more physio appointments for my leg. The physio social worker asked if I wanted them to apply for more physio, but I said no. I said no for a couple of reasons. One, I don’t want to inundate myself with appointments, I am satisfied with what I’ve been taught and have been incorporating the exercises into my workouts with great success. The second reason is that it was made clear that I was allowed a max of $800 that could be spent on physio from disability. I don’t want to aggravate my worker, I’m going to further need her help with career counseling and my readiness to work. I am going to make an appointment with her around mid February. The end of this month, I have my appointment with the MS psychiatrist and the MS social worker to counsel about my goal to go back to work.

Whew! A lot to prepare for. There, now we’ll let that go, get ready for my workout tomorrow and take it a day at a time.

 

Bonne Sante