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!

 

 

 

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

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/

Okay….day one of 2018! Woo Hoo!

This has been a tough month for me, but a good one. It became necessary for me to step back from level III (nutritional ketosis) to level I with some II and III thrown in. I needed the added flexibility for financial reasons and to make it easier to get through holiday dinners with more food options to pick from. The strategy did work for me. With all the busyness and being overwhelmed, I backed off the daily blog in December. I wrote some, but not daily. Through this, I needed to tone down the intensity of my constant drive to work the protocol into my life. Where as, stopping the protocol is out of the question, I decided to forego the blog till I got out of the holiday month. Energy can still be an issue for me. I have healed and improved leaps and bounds in this area, but I still get fatigued when too much is going on all at once. As of today, I feel quite rested and ready for Wahls 2018!

Out of ketosis a month now, I can tell you that there is a difference in my healing. On ketosis, my cognitive damage was healing rapidly. I am still healing, but not at the same rate as ketosis. I will return to it by the end of this month. Why do I have to wait till the end of this month, because I need to rework it in. When I haven’t exercised in a while, I always, on the first day back, do only half of what I think I can do and this usually wards off the pain the next morning that can cause many to not return to the gym. From there I work up gradually, this also helps me notice all the little triumphs over weeks, instead of one big humiliation when I attempt to do what I once could do in more athletic days the first day out. Easy does it, but do it is a favorite motto that works for me in the long run.

How did I do with holiday dinners? I made the best choices possible, I wasn’t a complete saint, but I did alright. For example:

  • Turkey with traditional gravy made with cornstarch and butter. I did have a little gravy.
  • Mashed potatoes with butter and milk. I did have a very small dollop.
  • Wahls compliant Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, bacon and onion with balsamic syrup (balsamic vinegar cooked down). (the dish I brought, which was a hit by the way).
  • Green salad
  • Stuffing made with gluten free bread, chicken stock and butter. I did have this, but only one serving instead of two servings as this is my favorite part of the meal.
  • Homemade whole cranberry sauce that did have sugar, but I’d say half the amount of most cranberry sauces. I had about a tablespoon.
  • Sweet peas with lettuce and mint.
  • Gluten free lemon poppy seed (100% Wahls compliant) and banana breads (a lot of sugar). I had several slices over a two day period of the poppy seed bread and one slice of the banana.
  • Gluten free homemade cookies made with a lot of sugar, so I had just two medium sized cookies.

I said no to the traditional British Christmas pudding, cake and mincemeat tart-lets that my friend is so good at making and I gave away my milk chocolate gift (I brought a bar of Lindt 85% dark chocolate with me and ate that instead).

All in all, I wasn’t perfect, but for that one meal, the worst was sugar in the desserts and butter in the stuffing and the mashed potatoes, I shouldn’t have had at all. I did bring Ghee to the event of which I was assisting with the cooking, but I didn’t bring enough. What I haven’t done is overeat and I’ve stayed Wahls compliant every day and at two other holiday meals.

Onward and upward! I updated my MS symptoms page for January 1, 2018, here is the link: Monthly MS Symptoms

 

I wish you health and happiness in the new year,

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pixels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/sky-lights-night-new-year-s-eve-66277/

 

 

 

S M I L E !

Christmas in five days! Bet you needed me to tell you that, right? I have slowed down on my blogging to once or twice a week, which, I think from here on out I’ll keep that pace. It was daily for seven and a half months. I’m currently off nutritious ketosis (Wahls level III). I do notice a marked decrease in the healing rate I was enjoying on that level and will go back to it in January. For the holidays, this is easier. Gives me more choices, for example, at a luncheon a couple days ago, this level allowed me to eat something, level III, nothing. A beautiful spread, I had shrimp salad rolls, rice crackers, fresh fruit and coffee. On level III, only fruit and coffee, and of the four fruits served, only raspberries. I’m still healing, I’m not regressing, but it was remarkable on level III. So much so that it will be well worth the effort to make it work.

I was weak and put out a resume for a job that was directly across the street from me. But, regretted that the next day. I know its too soon. For one thing, I made a promise to my Neurologist that I would wait till rehabilitation is finished and that will take another three months. Plus, three months fits neatly into the original blueprint (plan) to work after one year on the Wahls Protocol, which is March 27th. I will keep to it and wait.

Today, we had the end of a storm this morning. I went Christmas and grocery shopping. I trudged through the snow with some balance issues, but got to the bus stop. Witnessed a car accident just before the stop. A woman pushed the flashing yellow pedestrian signal, the first car stopped, but the guy behind him wasn’t paying attention and plowed into the car that stopped, then into the pole. The guys were yelling at each other, but no one was hurt. Then my bus arrived. So, I trudged, I shopped, and shopped, and shopped some more. Four hours with two twenty minute sitting rests. Got home, rested for a short time, did some housework and made dinner for a friend. She left not long ago. Early this morning before going out, I did my laundry. A good productive day that I will remind you would’ve been impossible for me to do. I stayed away from malls. I was not free to walk around. A walker would’ve been necessary and bathrooms within walking distance and they never are at malls. But, neither is an issue. I do need to here and there, but I shopped at Sears, which is going out of business in Canada. The last time I went to Sears was last winter, I had a walker and I need assistance to get items low to the ground. I was exhausted after thirty minutes of shopping that required trying on one item of clothing. This is the first time back to that same Sears and I smiled when I effortlessly reached repeatedly for low to the ground items, without assistance, a walker or a cane. Then shopped for four and a half hours. S   M    I     L    E     !

 

Bonne Sante

 

Still At’er!

In reference to the picture, that apple is multiple sclerosis and that is me wielding the hatchet which is the Wahls Protocol.

I took a little blog break this past week. Things have been somewhat frustrating for me as of late in terms of swinging the Protocol on a very limited budget in the further complicated, midst of Christmas. Never fear, I am steadfast on the Protocol. However, I have given myself more flexibility by wavering somewhere between levels I and II till I get through the holiday season. I’ve also made a decision to get the other carpal tunnel surgery done and over with around the end of January.

I am working on rehabilitation for the prospect of working in four months, which is about the length of time it will take to finish rehabilitation, which is also, coincidentally (I think not), one year on the Wahls Protocol, that which goes along the schedule first laid out eight months ago, to work after one year on the protocol, gasp (long sentence), big breath in, pant, pant. The rehabilitation schedule works like this:

December/January: Eight visits of Physio for my leg with a Physical Therapist every two weeks

Now and forever: Daily physio along with e-stim. Truth be told, I average four days a week consistently.

January 18: Appointment with the MS Psychiatrist at the Optimus Program, from there we will set up a plan and have appointments with an MS social worker

January or February: Carpal tunnal surgery

February: Set up a meeting with my disability worker to discuss safely experimenting with employment and seek career counseling.

March 27: One year on the Protocol

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Milestones! I went to a lovely birthday party last night, after a dinner of Indian food and coconut flour birthday cake, we played games. The opponents and team mates are all smart, educated and quick witted. Tons of fun to play games with, but I have traditionally been, due to cognitive damage, low man on the totem pole. Last night the average scores were in the 40’s, the high being 46 for Scatergories. I was 44. Ordinarily, I would’ve been in the 20’s. That’s a big milestone. And in Taboo, our team won by one point. I wouldn’t have been much help to my team at one time, but last night, I held my own in both describing and guessing. My guessing was slightly better than the describing, said, F@&k!”, a lot when slipping on words I shouldn’t say, but still did as well as most.

Yes, things are complicated, requiring more flexibility and creativity and are ramping up, but, I’m okay and still very grateful, especially after the game playing last night. Which brings me to one more type of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation for the brain. I have done a lot of that. I do daily crossword puzzles and quite often I will get two newspapers (The Metro, free) and do the crossword a second time working on memory of the answers. I did lumosity, which you can get a free app for and then be allowed to play a number of games every day in the free version, that helped a lot to get me started. When I go to the gym, I swim first, then shower and rest with a coffee and the Metro. I read the paper and do the puzzles, then I go upstairs and do the second physical workout. So actually, its three workouts:

  1. Swim, stretching and steam room
  2. Brain, crossword, Sudoku and current events
  3. Circuit training, physio and stretching

Four days a week…..

I missed exercising Sunday and Monday, so I will go Tuesday and Wednesday before my usual Thursday and Friday. I will get my four days in because its that important. And how will I get these workouts done once I start working. I’m already coming up with strategies, which will have to be a different gym then the one I go to. More on that another day….

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/apple-artwork-business-color-459719/

 

Enjoy what is

Decreasing stress is one of the components of the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Stress is known to be a catalyst for illness. My own experience proves that. I was under a great deal of duress building up to becoming sick. Life happens, sometimes it isn’t pleasant. I’m stating the obvious, but its important to look at the truth of that. I have learned over the years due to a different illness I have that relies on the practice of gratitude to stay in remission, how to live in the moment, to look at my part in relationships and mistakes, to do spot check inventories, to make gratitude lists and to enjoy what is. Like anything these habits require a commitment and daily practice. I have had years of successfully applying these practices to my life and I’ve had times when I let them go and let old negative habits creep back in to the detriment of my serenity.  It was during those times that I got sick and running scared, made bad decisions that made the situation ten times worse then it had to be.

How to practice serenity is to be grateful for everything. To remind myself to live in the moment. I like these statements, “God will only give you what you can handle in one day.” and “I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for this or that. It means, I make the appointment, research the information, jot down the idea, then let it go, putting it out of my mind till its time to deal with it. This takes practice and is sometimes easier said then done. However, like anything, practice makes it easier to do, then the rewards flood in from the practice.

Sometimes to get down to a free flowing serene state, I must look at unpleasant truths about myself, especially if the same set of calamities or repeated mistakes happen over and over again. That’s usually a sure fire sign that the fault is mine. Somewhere, there are deep rooted issues that must be unearthed, amends made, myself and others to be forgiven and then, if the work is earnest and sincere then peace for this situation or relationship happens. Other people are usually necessary to help with this, such as support groups, advisers, counseling, religious practices for some people, etc. Food for thought, the smartest and most powerful people on Earth have advisers, the more responsibility they have the more advisers they have. It is, paradoxically, not a sign of weakness, but of strength to seek advice and assistance.

Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. To be aware of all five senses, to quiet the mind, concentrate on breathing, build a deeper communion with a Higher Power if one so chooses, or to feel a deeper connection with the Earth with sounds of nature and thoughts of ancient trees and pathways thru the woods or how the Earth feels on your hands when you plant something. We can do quick, in the moment meditations with everyday mundane activities, like concentrating on the warm sensation of sudsy water as I clean the plate, listening for the sound of clacking silverware when I drag the bottom of the sink for silverware to clean. Or we can do long prepared meditations. Set the scene, a favorite spot in our home that we create the space for. Burn incense maybe, light candles, play serene music or sounds (I like the ocean) or listen to a guided meditation. Exercise and jewelry making are both deep sources of meditation for me. I am completely focused when I create, colors, sewing, the feel of beads in my hands, or exercise, I’m off in my own world. When exercising, I am completely riveted on the teacher, the movement I’m doing, the feel of the water, the weights in my hands, the flexing of the targeted muscles, my breathing. When I do these things, I am not thinking about the bills I need to pay in two weeks, or the appointments I have tomorrow or even in two hours, I am completely in the moment. This is one of the reasons I love doing these two activities. Anxiety, fear of the unknown, causes the body to do certain things, increases heart rate, gasping for breath, racing thoughts of fears and over dwelling on negatives. Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, deep thoughtful breathing, bringing one’s thinking back to the present moment and the realization that one is safe in that moment. Many fears are of bogeymen that are not happening right now and in most cases may never happen. And if there is a difficult loss occurring, job, family, health, then the practice of these above can make them easier to handle, more manageable by making it possible to take the situation(s) piece meal.

To enjoy what is are all these practices, that is the goal for me. That and humor. A sense of humor can cut stress in half and help keep a heart light. There is always two ways to look at any situation. Most of the time there is something good to consider even when it feels unfair. Here’s a silly joke:

Four men from Boston meet every Sunday to play cards. Clancy, Taylor, John and Ian have known each other for decades. John is the upbeat positive chap in the group. No matter what anyone says he always answers, “It could be worse.” This always rubs Clancy the wrong way. One Sunday, only Clancy, John and Ian show up. Ian, visibly upset, breaks the news to Clancy and John that Taylor is in jail after coming home Saturday night and finding his wife in bed with another man, he shot and killed them both. To which, John says, “It could be worse.” Clancy yells back, “That’s the last straw! You drive me nuts, how could it be worse John, two people are dead and our good friend is in jail, how could it be worse, you tell me that?!” John replied, “It could be worse because he could’ve come home on Friday when I was there.”

It could be worse.

 

Bonne Sante

Adjusting, adjusting

Today was a very busy day, got a lot done on the non profit I am involved in. I just finished typing up reports, so this will be a short blog tonight as I must get up very early tomorrow for exercise and an unexpected day trip to Canmore with a friend. Get it, unexpected, it was impossible for me to participate in anything like that without a great deal of planning and prepared rest. NOT anymore!

I am readjusting to Wahls level II from the level III. It is a big physical adjustment after being mostly in Ketosis the past three and half months. Some of the adjustments are positive and some are not. My energy is thru the roof. I realize now how much of my energy was sapped from the in/out of Ketosis situation. I was in Ketosis almost two months without falling out of it. When I adjusted to that, I did have the energy rush everyone talks about, because of that and the increased cognitive healing of Nutritional Ketosis, I will return to it again. But, because of my current financial inflexibility, I cannot maintain it. The last month and a half, I have been in it, out of it. Which had kept me in a perpetual state of adjusting to it. Believe me, you only want to go through that once, it isn’t pleasant. I’m energized, but bloated due to increasing sugars and carbs in the form of other fruits and starchy vegetables. I figure it’ll take a few weeks to readjust.

Had a wonderful conversation today with friends about the job front and waiting, but consider getting a very casual position, say one day a week to help offset the cost of everything. That is a good idea.

That’s all from me today,

Bonne Sante