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.
Note: The monthly symptoms page has been updated.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/background-balance-beach-boulder-289586/
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 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.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/short-red-hair-woman-blowing-her-nose-41284/
The sound of steel chains clanking against wood, the feel of a breeze across my face on a sunny day, the sounds of carnival music and children laughing, the fear in the pit of my stomach as we slowly climb the first big hill of a new coaster that I’ve never been on before. Deep down inside, I know we’re safe, but, a horrifying thought, “There is the rare and odd case of a malfunction, like the one I heard of that shot a car of screaming patrons off the tracks and into a billboard sign killing everyone……or was that an urban myth?” “Oh my God, were at the top!” I can see the whole park and half the city from here. We creak up to the tippy top and just begin to crest where I see for the first time just how sharp and steep the trip down will be. Yikes!
This is a how I feel with my plans to hopefully rejoin the work force. I am slowly creaking up the big hill, more than halfway to the top. Most of the time, I am sure it is the correct direction, but that it must be slow, like the car creeping up the tracked hill. Counseling first, volunteer work next, then career counseling and finally the time will be to knock on doors of potential employment situations that will be best suited for me. That day will come when I crest the hill, tipping, and I take the literal plunge. A fleeting thought, “Oh my God, will my car break away from the steady, but fast guidance of the rigid tracks as I fly off and crash and burn!”
Truth is, I don’t know what its like on the other side of that hill, this is a new coaster ride. I do know that chances are infinitely slim that I will fly off the track, because the track I am on is a steady one. It is a well thought out, well advised, researched, prepared for and worked for track, most important is that it is a Higher Powered track and I have faith. I know that the ride will be exhilarating and rewarding. I also know that I will be frightened, but really, really happy too. I love roller coaster rides. Then there is the moment of the fleeting thoughts, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this?! What if….? What if….? And…..What if?!”
Someone shot down my greatest accomplishments in my life on my resume in the space of 60 seconds because they are not suitable to be on a resume. You will be prejudiced against, red flags will be set off with this word and that word. That goes right in line with old paranoia’s that I have worked years to grow out of. Self constructed prisons of, “What will they think?” and, “Who will take me seriously?” I have not had a conventional life, both my failures and my triumphs are controversial to some. Can’t talk about MS, can’t talk about the blog, can’t talk about 26 years clean and sober and all the accomplishments I’ve had with organizing successful events. I wonder if it is okay to list success in drinking events instead. I will not hide my entire life from anyone. I bring all of me or none at all. I said that in college and I wrote honestly and I received nothing but the greatest respect from my teachers and my class mates and one A after another on all my written papers. I said then, “I bring all of myself or nothing.” I will not live a pretend life of safety that was never my real life. My life has been a roller coaster ride that I am not ashamed of. Some of it does belong on a resume. Because I earned it. If someone will prejudice me for that, than why do I want to work for anyone who thinks like that.
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/
Below is the information to see Living Proof in Calgary, where and when:
Landmark Cinemas Canada is hosting screenings of Matt Embry’s documentary Living Proof February 03-05!
Saturday Feb. 03, 2018 1 p.m.
Sunday Feb. 04, 2018 1 p.m.
Monday Feb. 05, 2018 7 p.m.
Surrey – Landmark Cinemas 12 Guilford
GTA – Landmark Cinemas 24 Whitby
Ottawa – Landmark Cinemas 24 Kanata
Calgary – Landmark Cinemas 16 Country Hills
Edmonton – Landmark Cinemas 9 City Centre
Available soon @ https://www.landmarkcinemas.com/film-info/living-proof
Off to see the Social Worker tomorrow!
I have my appointment with her tomorrow at 9 am. Our discussion will be about my intent to go back to work, the possible fall outs, the logistical nightmare with not one but two disability programs in the US and Canada, the need to assess skills against disability I still have, and fears associated with past disasters as a result of unexpected attacks throwing monkey wrenches reocurring again in my life. From there I will have appointments with Occupational Therapists and the MS Psychologist.
When I am done with this phase of my rehabilitation, then I will contact Champions, which is a career counseling program specifically for the disabled. I have a tricky resume and a past full of black holes. Examples:
- I have 64 college credits in business and writing with a high GPA, but I can’t get my transcripts due to a government bankruptcy I was forced to declare at that time due to, you guessed it, MS.
- I sold credit cards for MBNA for three years and was one of that telesales center’s best sales performers and sales coaches. But, MBNA sold out to Bank of America, so I have no reference that I can give an employer.
- I spearheaded grassroots, non profit events from the ground up over 15 years, all successes, all unpaid. The college degree was to back up my experience with a bachelors in business and a minor in writing. The plan was to be a professional events planner.
- I have seven years experience as a Mental Health Technician. Two years as an Aid at a State Hospital and trained in Crisis Intervention with five years experience on an Acute Mental Health Unit at a community hospital. But, a long time ago, 1980-1982 and 1989-1994, a. shows my age (55), which can discriminate myself from getting the first interview and back then, you didn’t have to have a degree or certificate for these positions. I was hired for the five year position based on my two years experience at the state hospital.
- Then there’s the years disabled. How do I deal with that with an interviewer and on my resume. Tough one, of which I am not alone. I am assuming that Champions Career Counseling is familiar with this conundrum.
You see the issues, I have a lot of honed skills, but not much proof on paper, although testing will help and once I am hired, my actions will show over time what I am capable of. But, ….to get there. Well, I guess that’s where my Higher Power comes in. I’ll do the foot work, the rest is not mine to control.
Most important to see is that I am on a vista that has a far ranging future. I do not anticipate a future MS attack, not on this lifestyle. Can I gauge that by my own experience, no, its only been ten months. I can, however, gauge it by the many others I’ve talked with and listened to online and in person, who have followed this lifestyle and kept their autoimmune illnesses at bay and in check for years and for some decades. I know this works. Once upon a time, I couldn’t predict what could happen with this illness, now, I feel confident to say, I can.
Wish me luck as I move out into this phase of my journey to health!