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!
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!
Picture from Pexels
Quote from the book: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
By Sheryl Strayer
I’m excited to share a podcast that I was invited to participant in to represent the Wahls Protocol and my experience utilizing it. Podcast: https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/2018/03/13/dizzycast-ep-3-a-dietary-dizzy/
The podcast introduces the diets for MS (really all autoimmune illnesses will benefit from these diets). They are The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Swank’s and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS). The podcast was conducted by Heather of “Dinosaurs, Donkeys and MS” Blog. Heather is from England, has MS and follows the OMS diet. Her blog has been voted one of the best 50 MS blogs worldwide. My interview is first, followed by interviews with Jen, Robert, and Heather on their experiences with Swank and OMS (the latter being a variation that has roots in the Swank diet). All in all, I think it was an excellent introduction to these three methods. I appreciate Heather’s inclusion of the Wahls Protocol, even though she follows OMS. I was thrilled to take part in it. I believe it is important to offer information on all these methods and the Autoimmune Wellness’ method (AIP). No one during this interview touched on AIP, but it is equally as good as the others, in the vein of Dr. Wahls. I did talk about Dr. Ashton Embry’s work being the roots of Dr. Wahls’ Protocol. And, important to remember is that all of these diets owe their beginnings to Dr. Swank, who realized a connection between MS and diet in the 1950’s.
Because I believe that there is more than one way to skin a cat, I have looked into each of these till I found the one that suited me best, which for me was the Wahls Protocol, others may fare better on Dr. Swanks, OMS, MS hope’s, or AIP. I heartily encourage anyone considering pursuing one of these, to look at them all, which is why I have links to each on my page research, websites and books You’ll find that there are similarities between all these, feel free to research each with an open mind. I hope that you’ll take the time to listen and pass it on. If you care too, I’d love to hear what you thought.
Next month on the 27th marks one year on the Wahls Protocol! Can’t believe its already been eleven months. I won’t say it flew by, it was hard, but it has become second nature and a normal part of my life. So much so, that I’ve become lazy with my blog. The blog’s most important role was to help me learn, stay on track and look back when frustrated at my progress. And, it has done just that. The side benefit is to carry the message to anyone seeking, that this exists.
I am actively living level III, which is nutritional ketosis. I have completely eliminated gluten, dairy and processed sugar (I only have stevia once in a while). I have a fermented serving most days. I eat mostly organic according to the clean 15/dirty dozen list and I eat clean meat which is antibiotic, hormone free and pasture raised. I have completely failed in the eating organ meat and seaweed sections. But, it is something that I will tackle again.
I practice detoxing by using the steam room at the gym four days a week and I take Epsom and sea salt baths. I have detoxed my household and now use cleaner antiseptics and personal care products and got rid of my microwave and Teflon pans. I continue to improve in this area.
I completed physical therapy with great success. I was blessed with a fantastic physio who knew exactly what didn’t work in my drop foot leg and taught me a series of exercises to strengthen the groups of muscles around what doesn’t work. As a result of that, I walk straighter, my gait is far better, quicker and walking stairs is even better. Physio is over, but I practice the exercises four times a week at the gym. I have completely dropped the ball on e-stim. I need to get back to using that machine.
I am counseling with a fantastic social worker, lucky me. She’s wonderful and doesn’t pull punches, which I like. I am, painfully, taking her suggestions. I have signed up to volunteer on the board of a local theater. If I do that well, then I will continue on into the work force, one prudent step at a time. I am also seeing an occupational therapist for career counseling. She basically said that I have good handle of what I can and cannot do, what is a mystery for all of us, is how many hours of work will affect MS fatigue. I have improved dramatically in this area, however, it is still an issue and these are untested waters. The volunteering is a beginning. I’ll career counsel with an agency soon too.
I am excited for my future! It has been a long, long time since I’ve experienced hope like this. It is profound.
I gave away my walker last week. A woman in my lobby was waiting with a walker unable to get into her cab because her heavy duty, older walker didn’t fold up. I thought of my aerodynamic fold up walker that I haven’t needed to use in six months. I gave her the walker, she was thrilled to have it and I was thrilled to not need it. A friend said, “What if you need it again?” I said, “A. I’m not going to need it again and B. If that’s not the case then I’ll buy one.” Its like giving away clothes that are too big for me. I want to keep them in case I put the weight back on. That thought is self defeating. I live my life in the day and keep a vision for tomorrow well stoked. My vision for tomorrow is abundance, health and physical fitness. My responsibility is training my thoughts and body for that future today.
I am a sober alcoholic. It would be the same as keeping bottles of my favorite alcohol lying around, in case I drink again. Sobriety has been the act of thinking sober. Losing weight has been the act of thinking thin and fit. Getting well has been the act of thinking spry, active, clear minded and to stay focused on that. I had to tackle the disabled mentality and identity that one becomes accustomed to when reduced by an illness as devastating as MS. I’m preparing to work again. The MS Social Worker said as she motioned two fingers slowly pinching closed to a one inch gap, “Baby steps.”, she cautioned, “Try volunteering fifteen hours a week first.” My instant retort, “I already volunteer fifteen hours a week.” That is the perfect example of a closed mind. First of all, the volunteering I do is sporadic, not in eight hour shifts. That’s what I need to do.
After allowing the idea to sink into my head (took a week), I contacted a friend who is involved with a non profit that had asked me a few years ago to get involved. I declined then, because I was way too sick to commit. However, that isn’t the case now and is a prudent way to test the working waters and see how I do over the course of several months. That is wise. If I leave it up to my head, Miss, “I want to jump into a forty hour a week job after over a decade of not working first!”, mentality can and will set me back leagues. Slow and steady wins the long haul race. I’ve asked professionals for help so that I do this prudently and don’t set myself back. Asking for help is part one, part two is taking direction. We see advisers as a weakness, but it is actually a sign of strength. Most powerful and successful members of society have advisers. For a complete picture the balance is to research your advisers (make sure they have the expertise you need), weigh the information they offer and look up your own information. In other words, don’t follow blindly, do your due diligence and don’t close your mind to other’s valuable experience. Its a balance. I see the Social Worker a second time and have my first appointment with the Occupational Therapist this coming Wednesday. Woody Allen said that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I have learned that this is absolutely true and that the rest is following up with what is offered. I am on a fact finding mission to understand what I can do and what I can’t. This way, I am protecting myself, making myself as useful as possible and not wasting anyone’s time.
I have a clear vision that is growing and expanding. I see myself successful in my work, my personal life and will be financially set. My responsibility is to do whatever I need to do to realize this. That is to stay positive, change my thinking to that of an able bodied person, to think abundantly, to get to the gym, eat the foods needed for health, and continually cut out toxic products and toxic people from my life…..
…….One day at a time.
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.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/
I’m on Level III roughly two weeks now and the energy came in today. Ketosis flu wasn’t bad and this time around, I knew what it was, a big bonus, since it scared the hell out of me the first time I experienced it not knowing what was going on. I lost a big 6 lbs this past months, mostly in the last two weeks, due to a return to level III. I’m now 154 lbs. Been decades since I’ve weighed this little. I am 24 lbs from my ideal weight, which will be 130 lbs. One hundred twenty five was my ideal weight in my 20’s, I am allowing 5 lbs for my age.
I am asked questions frequently about my healing. I feel that I have a responsibility to explain how I was able to do it every chance I get. How else can anyone know that there is another way, a better way and that its within their power to grasp it, they only need want it bad enough and to be willing to go to any lengths to get it. The rewards are so dramatic that over time, it far out weighs the inconveniences. I look at birthday cake and I say to myself, “Do I want birthday cake or do I want to walk.” Because that is literally what it means to me. If I have a piece a cake, no, one slice of cake will not undo all that I’ve done, but it will weaken my resolve and make it that much easier to slip again and again till the tide rushes through the dam I’ve built. No way!!! Not for anyone am I willing to do that.
Over the holidays, I did step back a bit to Level I to make it easier to get through the holidays, thus allowing me more foods I could eat. I don’t consider this a slip because, even though I did slide back a little, its still on the Protocol and I was still healing, but at a much slower rate. I’d do that again, possibly next year, because it did help me enjoy Christmas and Birthdays of which there are several around the holidays. I am happy to be back on level III though. It did show me just how much healing can be had on that level as compared to level’s I and II. Cognitive healing? I’ll say, “Hell yes!” to that!
Note: I updated the symptoms page.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/marketing-school-business-idea-21696/
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.
The cramping is over! And the spasticity is subsiding. I still have bloating, but my sinuses have dried up. You wouldn’t think that cheaper foods could cause such havoc, but after eating better for five months, my body reacted badly to it. It just strengthens my resolve to be strict. I mentioned in the last couple of blogs how I’ve been sick, about five days now, from a culmination of cheap meat, almost no organic vegetables and not taking digestive supplements which really are crucial. That coupled with off and on Ketosis, causing the Ketosis flu which is a need for Potassium, Sodium and Magnesium. I ran into these problems because I am on disability, which means, I don’t have a lot to spend, leaving no room for financial mishap or error. This diet is more than double the cost for groceries, that which includes only some of the supplements recommended. I have to rigidly juggle my expenses, which I have done successfully for five months, but the carpal tunnel surgery, a convention I attended and overspending on supplements and an event caused me to have to cut way back on spending for food and supplements. Suffice it to say, that won’t happen again, if its within my control. I stayed compliant, in that I didn’t have dairy, gluten or sugar (a minuscule amount in sauces at the convention). It was rather, the lack of supplements needed for this diet and cheap meat (that was the worst I think).
Right now, I am finally feeling better and even danced earlier to Jeff Beck. If you know 1970’s Jeff Beck, then you know that that man had a lot of funk in his music, especially the albums Wired and There and Back, both of which featured Jan Hammer. Jan Hammer who was originally with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and after his years with Jeff Beck, later went on to write and perform the award winning music for Miami Vice. Okay, the trivia break is over.
An important component to my staying the course is imagery. I see myself going back to work and succeeding in six months. I see myself regaining my driver’s license in one year. I see myself owning a car in one and half years. Everyday, I am getting more flexible, stronger, more balanced. I do still tip a lot, but have no doubt that too will come with time, patience and hard work. All of this is hard work. It is a commitment. But, one that pays and pays and pays.
I bought another ticket for the final showing of Living proof in Calgary to accompany a friend, to be supportive and for another shot of inspiration in the arm (that never hurts). Everything is still up in the air with e-stim. One of the physical therapy rehabs I had spoke with before is in the same building as where I exercise. I am going to talk to them tomorrow and see if I can get this attended to so that I can begin……finally!
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/melting-yellow-tablet-in-the-filled-drinking-glass-34505/