Waking up to the possibilities

I feel weighted down with the financial limitations I have due to the extra money that it costs to keep this way of life going on my limited income. I’m looking at my calendar, I’m counting days to the next pay (13 days to go), I’m looking over the veggies I have and I know that I don’t have the components necessary for each day, but I’m not starving either. I just won’t have the right balance of foods for a short time. I have $18.00 to split between me and my cat. She needs her Fancy Feast and I need greens. I’ll spend the money on Fancy Feast and greens. I’ll take it a day at a time, which is all any of us really have anyway. I had a friend who said once as he watched a hearse go by followed by a funeral procession, “I wonder what that guy was worrying about last week?” I think of that when I start worrying about too many days at once.

My father died from Emphysema at age 61. He said, “Don’t do what I did, I worked hard all my life waiting for the day I could retire and really live.”  He worked three jobs in his 20’s, two full time jobs till he was forced to stop early at age 45 due to his illness. He spent the next 15 years on oxygen, progressively getting worse. He told me this two years before he died. One thing I did do that he just couldn’t, was quit smoking. Addictions are the primary killers in my family. Smoking, drinking, and obesity. My mother and her sister both died from type II diabetes in their early 60’s due to their weight and eating habits. My maternal grandfather died in a drunk tank in the 50’s, most of my generation on my mother’s side have had problems with drinking. Oddly, not my only brother, it jumped over him like a tornado takes down a street of houses, but skips over one. My paternal grandfather died from Emphysema and my father followed in his footsteps. All of them died around the same age, between 60 to 64.

I had it in my head that if I could deal with all the addictions, having smoked since the age of 11 and I am an alcoholic. I stopped drinking in 1991 and quit smoking in 1996. I kept my weight down with a combination of exercise and weight watchers. I never saw it coming when I was blindsided at age 42 with not one, but two major neurological conditions. What happened to all my plans. My plan had to do with the fact that my maternal grandmother was one of 16 and they all lived to the ages of 96 to 104 (no addictions in that line), that was going to be me. We never know what tomorrow could bring. I can prove that by looking at yesterday. Raised in Massachusetts, did I dream I’d be living in the places I’ve lived. Here I am in Calgary away from the swarthy Irish, Italian working class heritage I miss sometimes. Don’t get me wrong here, I love Calgary, great people here. No, did not plan this.

The best way to deal with my life, if I want peace, has got to be one day at a time. I can lay plans, I can have goals, but then, I have to get back into the day I am in or it all gets stressful fast. The actual possibilities available to me are upon waking each morning to the new day ahead of me, if only I don’t squander it unnecessarily on that which I have no control over, tomorrow and yesterday. Most of the time these days, I am fairly successful in doing that and most often I am a light hearted soul. But, there are those days.

The financial fear has to go. Here’s the truth:

  • I have a roof over my head and my rent is paid
  • I have decent clothes on my back
  • I have two children who are healthy
  • I am sober and smoke free
  • I just lost 35 lbs and I am a full two sizes smaller then I was
  • I no longer need walking aids as yet another person asked me just yesterday what happened to your walking (referring to how well I walk now), when you got here you were in rough shape.
  • I have hope for the future
  • I have the food I need today
  • I have medical support helping me get back on my feet
  • I have the Dr Wahls Protocol and the willingness to keep at it
  • I have two neurological conditions that do not define who I am nor do they decide what my future will be, anymore

This is shaping up to be a hell of a day!

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

 

 

What a day!

Whenever I lose a little confidence about the next step in this journey that I am on, I have a leap forward that restores that confidence. Today was such a day. I walked two blocks to the bus stop this morning, (not new) to meet friends. After coffee with them, I walked two and a half blocks (not new) to WINS, a used clothing store because my clothes are two sizes too big for me (smile). I shopped and tried on clothes for two and a half hours without a rest (new). After I paid, I was handed two medium sized garbage bags, about 15 lbs each. For a moment, I panicked. I thought, especially after all this shopping, I can’t carry these home (the norm). First, I thought, “A cab.” But, a cab ride from there is $40 at least. Defeats the purpose of saving money buying used. I told myself, “We’re working out, that’s all.” I went to the bus station with my two bags, took the bus back to my neighborhood and walked the two blocks to my house with the bags. I was strong, I didn’t slow down and I didn’t trip once (new). When I got to my house, I was still strong, I wasn’t struggling for the door (new). Seven months ago, I couldn’t walk half a block with a walker (was)!

My walking has been getting progressively better week by week on the Protocol. I’ve progressed from the walker to the cane, walking better, stronger, then, without the cane, slowly, staring at the ground, then, without having to stare anymore at everything that is a half inch high lest I trip. What has been the same has been that at some point, I am fatigued and I have to sit down for at least 30 to 40 minutes to regain strength in my leg. That’s what didn’t happen today. Might happen tomorrow, but it didn’t happen today. This just keeps getting better. It made me cry happy tears. I called family to share what happened.

On the job front, I have decided to not apply for any other part time work. If I don’t hear from the one that I did apply to, then I will have the second carpal tunnel surgery done, which my Neurologist really thinks I should do. I agreed. I told him, “I’m almost over it (emotionally, in regards to the first carpal tunnel surgery I had).” On the other hand, if the job calls me in and I am hired, then the surgery is not meant to be, at least for now. If the job doesn’t answer, then working right now is not meant to be, so that I can better concentrate on rehabilitation, whilst dealing with the money situation the best I can.

Exercise tomorrow, I will have new physio exercises to add to my circuit training routine. Upward and onward!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adolescent-adult-black-and-white-casual-270968/

 

A day for reminiscing

Its a crisp fall day on a Saturday in 1971. My brother and I are sitting with our feet tucked up under us on kitchen chairs in front of a small TV on the kitchen counter. In our hands are big bowls of cereal in milk. I have Cheerios with enough sugar added that I can scrape up a teaspoon of sugar with every bite and my brother is eating Cap’n Crunch which has a teaspoon of sugar in each crunchy shape. Jacked up on sugar, we squeal when we hear the first strains of, “Scooby Dooby Do, where are you? We got some work to do now.” Saturday was the special cartoon day when cartoons played from early morning till twelve noon on the big channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS), the little channels were PBS and UHF. After, we played outside all day till we heard my mother’s two finger whistle you could hear through the neighborhood calling us in for dinner and later to come in at night time. We did eat badly in those days. Dinner was probably shake and bake chicken with mashed potatoes and canned corn in cream, lunch would’ve been sandwiches on Wonder bread or Campbells soup, my favorite was chicken and stars with saltines. In between snacks might be apples, Fudge-0 cookies, or Lays potato chips.

What we did better back then was play. We only marathon watched TV Saturday mornings, otherwise we were outside playing. Our neighborhood had a call we’d make that any kid from our neighborhood knew and would echo the call back. We’d meet up in the direction we heard the call. We played hard, baseball, tackle games at night, tag, running, biking, sledding, swimming, climbing trees and walking all over the neighborhood. We didn’t make appointments to visit each other, we just showed up at each other’s doors. It was the norm to do that. Late at night before bed was TV time. Which amounted usually to one hour. We’d watch the Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family or Walt Disney World on Sunday nights on the big console TV with our mother, (Dad was working nights and days). As young children, none of us had special interest classes after school. That would start with maybe one thing like Little League baseball, Scouts or for me it was gymnastics. I started that at ten years old and attended class once a week for two hours. We had homework, but not a ton of it. My homework in Grammar school was done in thirty minutes or less, if we had any at all. We had our chores we had to do, like dishes, cleaning my bedroom and dusting on Saturday. Otherwise, we were outside most of the time.

Aside from that, we spent a lot of time with family and our parents. They rarely went anywhere without us. For example, if we went to an adult house party, we went in our pajamas and played with the other kids in their pajamas. These were not falling down drunk parties. These were normal social occasions. My father was a musician and so a lot of these were “guitar” parties. I loved sitting with the adults at the kitchen table because they were so funny. A lot of laughter, lot of humor. We took vacation for two weeks in the summer and stayed in a cottage on the beach. Vacation was spent together. My parents would jump waves with us, we went to the movies on a rainy day and the amusement park at least once. Summer outings were drive in’s, ice cream and on really special occasions, we’d go to a restaurant. Winter outings were, ice skating and once a year a special show like the Ice Capades or Ringling Bros and Bailey Circus.

Family visits were on the weekend. My mother entertained the family at our house often, mostly summer picnics, usually if we did this it was on Saturdays. We had a big yard and a pool. Most Sunday’s we visited family for four hours or more. Holidays were fun. My mother made sure of that. My family on both sides are funny, loud and laid back. No strict morays, no shaming, no sarcasm. They’re mostly dead now, mostly from various addictions, but, they were not mean spirited people. My brother resides these days in Ohio, we don’t talk much anymore, he’s a busy guy. I am in Canada. My son lives near me, my daughter on the other side of the country, but we are in touch weekly. I’m spending the day with my son tomorrow.

But, I will always feel fondly about those days.

What does any of this have to do with the Wahls Protocol? Absolutely nothing. I just wanted to take a moment and meditate on the happiest days of my childhood just because it feels good. This is my way of dealing with my recent homesickness. I find that the best way for me to deal with that is to embrace it and celebrate it by sharing it with others.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture of my brother and me on the steps of a cottage we rented for two weeks near Horseneck Beach in Massachusetts. Picture taken around 1968.

 

A puzzle worth solving

It can be very complex being your own doctor. No longer do I blindly give over my life to the medical system while I take no part in learning how my body works.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been my own advocate since 2004 from the first time I fought that statement, “Its stress.” To the final time, this past winter, a MRI, once again, gave proof that it wasn’t just “stress”. Though I’ve said repeatedly how I wished it was just that. Of course, paradoxically, stress is a big contributor to disease. My worse physical attacks have been while under extreme duress. The difference I speak of here, is where my answers are coming from, namely other sciences and unconventional doctors. So, in a way, still from Doctors just not the normal route. These Doctors require, so that I can be most successful, that I know my body and the sciences that govern it of nutrition and environment.

I’ve followed the Wahls Protocol as closely as I can for it is very precise and extremely detailed. There is volumes to learn. I don’t want that to sound discouraging, it required that I put the same amount of energy that I had put into living disabled into a changed mindset of getting well. I just needed a route that could be effective. And this was it. No longer hopeless, I had hope. No longer did I have to sit idly by and be a victim. I could actually do something about this and not wait for the day I would be bedridden. As I follow this, there is always something else to work on. For example, I’m still largely adjusting to living on a Nutritious Ketosis diet. The most recent issue, which I’ve blogged about as it was ongoing, was feelings of depression and overwhelming sleepiness. After a couple weeks of this, I finally found an article which I gave a link to on that particular day on my blog. The answer was that I wasn’t eating enough fat for my body’s energy needs on the Ketosis diet and I wasn’t eating enough protein, the bare minimum was all I was having. Since increasing both, my energy is increasing, my depression has dissipated and the sleepiness has completely lifted. So, that was it. It required me to do research, find what I was missing nutritionally, thanks to Dr. Wahls and my willingness to learn forming a base knowledge of Ketosis from which to start from, having read Wahls book several times, articles on the net, other’s experiences on the Wahls Facebook group, I found my answer.

At present, I am working on figuring out why I am losing so much hair. I have thick hair and woe to the person who lives with me, they gotta deal with that too. I’ve always lost a lot of hair and incredibly, my hair remains thick. But, this, is too much and unusual, and coming right from the roots. My intuition says it is the Ketosis diet, I am lax on a few things as I had mentioned in a previous blog, one of which is bone broth, another seaweed and still another organ meat. I feel the answer probably lies with one of these, or a supplement I need to take, like Q10. I will research what could cause hair loss nutritionally, then go from there. No longer is it a call to the Doctor, or just do nothing at all. I am my own Doctor and I am responsible to find the answers. The good news? The answers are out there! If its there, being the tenacious sort that I am, I’ll find it.

I do crosswords daily. Its one of my cognitive exercises and something I enjoy doing. I was intimidated by crosswords for years, I’d try one every now and then, and unless it was super easy, I’d give up after a minute or two. See, on a harder puzzle, I would suspect the answer, but have no confidence in my choice, then give up. Until I lived with a friend for two years who is an avid crossword enthusiast. You know the type, does the Sunday New York Times puzzle, one of the those. I started doing some of the medium puzzles lying around the house in books that had the answers in the back, and I began to realize that those answers I suspected, were nine out of ten times correct, but weren’t proven yet by the “crossword”. I changed my attitude. I filled in the word with what I felt was probably it even if I couldn’t prove it yet, and I began solving crossword puzzles. I’m still not great, but I do the medium ones with ease now and can do half of some hard ones.

This is like that, trust your intelligence, trust your intuition, do the foot work and you’ll reap the rewards. You just have to want it bad enough.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/frame-less-eyeglasses-on-newspaper-53209/

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
                                                                                                                                      Dictionary.com

Besides Multiple Sclerosis, I am an alcoholic, sober 26 years. Two things keep a soul sick, one of which is self pity, the other is resentment, really one interplay’s with the other. Both self pity and resentment had to go if I wanted to live sober successfully and equally, they must go to successfully adapt to the Wahls Protocol lifestyle. If I practice gratitude, I don’t feel sorry for myself and if I don’t feel sorry for myself than I am not resentful over what others have or don’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have this mastered, that would make me a saint, a saint I am not. However, I do have a lot of practice applying the principle of “active” gratitude.

When I am feeling low, as I have this past week. I get out of it by finding a way to be of service. Even if its simply noticing and complimenting someone’s new hair cut. Its a simple thing that can make someone’s day. Or avail myself by answering if someone calls or call someone, just because. I can’t complain about being lonely, but do nothing to improve my situation and go out of my way to be a part of something. These acts take me out of my tendency for self absorbed reflection, which sometimes is necessary for change, however, to be constructive, the self reflection has to then progress to an action or it becomes morose. Yesterday, I said that I would do housework, I did my laundry, not a biggie, yet it left them clean and fresh. I made a point of getting out early this morning to a support group that I frequent at 7 am. A positive power hour of which I showed my support by being present and vocal when asked. After, in my neighborhood, I walked a lot and was shocked to find that I had another leap forward in my walking ability. My speed has picked up, my walking surer. Falling is not an issue anymore, if my toe does catch, it doesn’t spell out a fall as it once always did, hence the former need for a cane. Morose feelings that I’ve had as of late, can stop me from experiencing what I experienced today. By, staying home, feeling bad, feeling hopeless instead of hopeful, I wouldn’t have realized that this had happened. Funny thing, all that gratitude put a big smile on my face and a skip in my step that people were responding to. I was nicer, I was fully engaged in my surroundings and the people in it and I was patient. I chose to be grateful. Music and dance is a way that I treat myself to the expression of gratitude. I listened to Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation’s album Mighty ReArranger. I forgot how good that album is and was filled with joyous dance.

I’m so grateful for the Dr. Wahls Protocol, I want to carry a message about it, to be a part of getting this information out to as many people as possible so that they can at least consider it. I hope to show them how it works with my own example. The damage and calamity I could’ve avoided had I known that certain foods taken in or excluded, and that a lifestyle could make an impact like this on an otherwise hopeless illness. Here is where I can’t rue the past. What is is. Instead, I’m grateful I have the opportunity now. When I feel sorry for myself that I can’t have birthday cake or pasta, I ask myself, do I want pasta or do I want to walk? When I put it that way, well, its obvious what I want. Action!

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels

 

 

Depression

Depression is something that effects me from time to time. It has been a life time issue, some for situational reasons and other because I have a depressive personality. I have learned to be upbeat most of the time, however, depression can still creep in. Over the years, I’ve learned to deal with low moods with exercise, practicing gratitude, talking about it or about the issues at the root of it, situational or otherwise, and I have a Higher Power that I rely on for strength and guidance. Interesting is Dr. Cicero Coimbra’s theory that problems with depression can be a sign of a compromised immune system. I have to agree with him, because the other symptoms he indicated were equally true in my case. Dr. Coimbra is a neurologist from Brazil who treats MS successfully using high doses of Vitamin D that must be supervised under a Coimbra Protocol trained health professional. This is the document I learned of his theory that has the symptoms indicative of a compromised immune system: http://www.thisisms.com/forum/coimbra-high-dose-vitamin-d-protocol-f57/topic27182.html

Most of the time I am a good housekeeper. I was not raised that way, I learned in adulthood. When things get busy and my energy must go into a different direction, the housework takes a hit. When this happens, I don’t want to be home. I stay organized, but washing windows, dusting and heavy cleaning jobs don’t happen. This might sound ridiculous, but I had to follow the directions in a book to learn to clean my home. I couldn’t get a handle on it till I read this in 1993: Sidetracked Home Executives from pigpen to paradise  This book was written by two women who had the same problem and came up with an efficient, time minimizing plan to keep a home orderly that included a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual schedule using a file system. It took me three years off and on, but I learned. I get “sidetracked” when I forgo this, then I forgo that, before I know it, I’m out of some of the very good habits I forged with this book. A clean house makes me feel energized, it too is one of those paradoxes, I’m tired, but exercise makes me feel energized, I’m tired and uninterested, but cleaning my house makes me feel energized and interested in my abode. Now obviously, this makes a difference on what one can do based on their level of disability. That’s a whole other issue. I’m speaking of this from the standpoint of depression. For me, a clean house can pull me out of the dregs of a low mood. It is the combination of it all, talking, exercising, practicing gratitude, keeping my home clean, fresh and organized and asking God for help with all of the above.

I think tomorrow I’ll talk about “practicing gratitude”, why do I say it that way, why not just say “gratitude”? There is a reason for that. There, all this talking (friends and the blog), I feel better already! Tomorrow, I will tackle housework!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels

 

Tested!

As I apply the Wahls Protocol to my life day after day, I am gaining in strength each and everyday in one way or another. Along the way, I also have setbacks and challenges. This weekend was a challenge weekend that brought about a small setback. An unexpected administrative shift occurred requiring me as secretary to negotiate, write and delegate duties. It brought home a truth that I need to be wary of. I still believe that working is a possibility in five and a half months, however, this helped me remember the fatigue that can happen when a situation such as this comes up. In some employment situations, this is the job. As I dealt with the complication, I discovered damage I very much still have and I learned of improvements to that damage as well.

By nature, I am a driven sort of person. I am very ambitious and goal motivated. Being an Adrenalin junkie, I like it when things are hopping. I was always good at multitasking and thinking fast in the midst of change. After suffering the MS attack I had on the cognitive section of my brain in 2009, I laid low for a long time. I had too. The first two years, I had stopped reading anything. I took no non profit service commitments (an important aspect of my life). I then had two years, off and on, of intensive work with Occupational Therapists to learn to organize in a way that accommodates a damaged short term memory, the inability to multitask and the reduced ability to take in my surroundings, all of which contributed to my decision to not renew my driver’s license. If I didn’t respect this, I would have horrible melt downs in tears due to the fatigue of over tasking a cognitively damaged brain.

Now in some ways, I have rehabbed a great deal due to Occupational Therapy and my willingness to follow thru with their direction and suggestions. Since the Wahls Protocol, I have resolved even more of that damage. In a short six months, my thinking is clearer and logistics are understood quicker, where before they were murky and required a full two days for the information to sink in enough to make an adequate decision. Lots of terrible mistakes when I would act before I had the time to sort it all out. This is infinitely better. What is still present is the fatigue of the work of over thinking which is required to work through an unexpected situation. Friday, as the second wave of emails came in, that which I reacted to in angst as I walked through it all with a friend I was supposed to be supporting, who then became my supporter (funny how spirituality works). As problems of this nature do, they all are on their way to being resolved. Everyone stepped up to take on the extra tasks. That felt so good. It truly is a wonderful nonprofit that I am involved in. All said and done, I crashed yesterday afternoon. I did not move off my couch till this morning. I forbid myself any heavy thinking, writing or reading. I exercised this morning, but even that, I took it easy. I swam half what I ordinarily do and made the decision to skip the second workout. I’ll catch up tomorrow morning. Of course through all of this, my e-stim sessions went out the window. I did do the physio exercises Friday morning, I’ve worked those into my gym workout.

So, big breath, what have I learned?

  • Need to meditate more and talk less (yes, this is a help to the issue above)
  • Get back to making jewelry, a meditative art outlet I’ve utilized for decades (the artistic section of my brain was unaffected by the damage and so, when I do anything artistic, it eases the hurt parts)
  • Factor into my future decisions on employment the fact that, while I believe that Nutritional Ketosis and Alpha Lipoic Acid, both healers of the brain, will continue to heal, I will still have an issue here. Just as I might still have a limp and an expiration date on when my leg fatigues and I will need to sit down. So too will how much my brain can handle and when it needs to rest. These have to be factored into any future employment decisions.

Most importantly….

  • Must Let go and let God!  There is a world of constructive peace behind that simple, yet not, statement. In its simplicity, it is often misunderstood. It is not a call to do nothing, unless nothing is what is best is in that moment, it is instead a call to give up the outcomes and trust in an infinite power as I do my work.

 

This blog is an honest record. I will tell you when its hard. At the end of this blog’s year, which will be March 26, 2018, I will offer what I’ve tracked for anyone to use to further research, and to be a realistic merit to anyone wanting to invest in their health by implementing the Wahls Protocol into their lives.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels

“What if?”

Terrified! So, with my concrete declarations of the attention to work one day and be off disability in six months, I had a complete panic attack over that today. I hyperventilated to my friend this afternoon, “Who do I think I am, what do I think this is! I have MS, what if I break off disability, get a job and then make too much money and have to leave my subsidized apartment and then I have a major attack and I lose everything again.” The last time that happened as I said last night, I suffered bankruptcy, loss of direct care of my children, loss of my job, homelessness, forced to drop out of college and stop driving. Who do I think I am. “What if? What if? What if?”

I did what I do when feeling desperately frightened, I shared my fears with a friend. I got all my terrified visions out on the table, she patiently listened to it all, then offered her prudent concerns, because there are many to consider here and offered up positive thoughts too. I said a couple things, I said, “I need to ask God for help, I need to meditate and I need to be around other people tonight.” I phoned a colleague in my non-profit I am involved with, who invited me to a service meeting tonight. “Perfect!”, I answered, “I’ll go.” Then, I sat quiet with a meditation book and sought out a moment of sanity. I like meditation books when I feel this way especially, because the comforting words on the pages push out the crazy “Oh my God!” thinking in my head. I’ll explain my concept of God to you, briefly. God, to me is synonymous with the Power of positive or negative thought, much like the law of gravity. I just find it easier to call that idea GOD. Nice simple three letter word.

Emmet Fox was a Christian Scientist and one of the founding members of the New Thought Movement. Fox was at his height of popularity as a speaker in the 1930’s in New York City. I have a book of his quotes put together in a daily meditation format called “Around the Year with Emmet Fox.” This is the book I picked up this afternoon to meditate with. I closed my eyes and asked for help and flipped the book open. Out of the two pages, I chose to read the right side, December 7 (page 341):

IS IT A LIE?

Thoughtless people sometimes say that our affirmations and meditations are foolish because we state what is not so. “To claim that my body is well or being healed when it is not, is only to tell a lie,” said one distinguished man some years ago.

This is to misunderstand the whole principle. We affirm the harmony that we seek in order to provide the subconscious with a blueprint of the work to be done. When you decide to build a house your architect prepares drawings of a complete house. Actually, of course, there is no such house on the lot today, but you would not think of saying that the architect was drawing a lie. He is drawing what is to be, in order that it may be. So, we build in thought the conditions that will later come into manifestation on the physical plane.

What is your intelligence for if not to be used in building the kind of life that you want? Very primitive men in prehistoric times rejoiced when they found food growing anywhere, and then they waited, perhaps for years, until they happened to find another crop. Today we use our intelligence, and plant in good time the actual crops that we want; and the amount that we consider necessary. We do not sit about hoping that wheat or barley may fortunately come up somewhere. If we did that, civilization would collapse.

The time has come when intelligent men and women must understand the laws of Mind, and plant consciously the crops that they desire; and just as carefully pull up the weeds that they do not want.

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; …and they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work (Nehemiah 2:18).

What are the odds that out of 365 pages, I get this one. How apropos, this alleviated my fears, and, at least for the moment, reassured me that I am going in the right direction. An action that will help too I think is to ask the Wahls Protocol Group I follow on Facebook if others went back to work successfully from disability, how old and did you have financial back up, such as a second income in the house, or were you alone. I’d like to hear what those experienced with Protocol, some as much as seven, eight years have to say. Till then, I’m off to exercise tomorrow than an afternoon in Banff (Rocky Mountains) with a another good friend. I’m up to three friends instrumental in pulling me out of this mood. Nothing like majestic mountains to get your mind off doubt and fear! I began this page with the word “Terrified”. But, will end it with, “Gratitude.” That is a fine day.

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

Willing to go to any lengths

Suffice it to say we live in a world that thrives on instant gratification. In the mainstream of Western culture, realistic expectations can be few and far between. What does that mean? Any goal, change or shift has a timeline. A direction or change for the better that I set for myself, requires acceptance and conviction. That by itself can be a lengthy and timely process. Such as my own journey with the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Starting with a flyer about a talk featuring Dr. Wahls and a cartoon drawing of her in a wheel chair to riding a bicycle. That got me. The MS social worker shot it down when I showed it to her, as she told me not to get my expectations up. But, I had made up my mind to go, so I went. A lot of what Dr. Wahls said that night went over my head, some of it didn’t. I do remember, having to run to the bathroom like four times, and her shooting a compassionate look at me when I came out the fourth time, because she knew what that was about. I remember that. I read my free book, I started the diet and I lasted three months on level I and then quit.

That was three years ago. Why did I quit when it was working? I felt great, my walking was better, my fatigue had dissipated and the brain fog was lifting. Why would I quit? I had lost about 20 lbs and was faced with a long time psychological problem that had to be addressed and wasn’t going to be rectified quickly. It involved an eating disorder that needed me to get to the bottom of it if I were ever to be successful pursuing this lifestyle. The other problem was limited means and not enough knowledge to combat that. And finally, not enough understanding of the new foods, substitutes for the omitted foods and cooking techniques and recipes necessary for variety. I had found myself eating the same thing everyday.

I spent the next two years counseling and getting through the layers of the eating disorder. I went to sexual abuse counseling, dealt with it in a support group, writing, therapy and books. Diet wise, I saw Matt Embry talk when he launched his world tour and start of filming the documentary Living Proof, I read more books and went to online sites. While I did all of this, I ate terrible through it. I put on twice the weight I lost and got progressively sicker from my MS. During that time, I had another fusion operation on my neck and suffered three MS attacks, the last one putting me on a walker and headed towards a wheel chair. That was my bottom.

Were the two years a waste of time? No, I needed the counseling, and I needed to hit a medical bottom to be put in a position to accept this path and become willing to go to any lengths. Because, no less is required. A process that took me two and half years just to successfully begin. This time, I knew that it was a commitment and a half and I was prepared. I bought three cookbooks and I joined several related websites and Facebook groups. I began sourcing best prices for the foods I would need, I began to clean out my cupboards of foods I can’t have anymore. Some of those foods took a little more time to let go of, like sugar in my coffee. I started this blog to help keep me accountable and a record that I could look back on when feeling impatient or pessimistic. I upped my exercise from two days a week to four. I began rehabilitation on my left leg on my own, flexing my foot when I walked, paying attention to the wide left arc my leg goes in when I walk and making a point of forcing my leg straight ahead, which hurt like hell at first. Balance exercises and progressive physical regimes. I needed to not just join the Facebook groups, I had to participate.

Most important, I have to take it a day at a time. A Bachelors Degree doesn’t happen in two months, neither does this. I’ve had MS since 2004, my damage won’t turn around over night, however, it is dramatic what I have experienced in just six months. Incredibly, my damage is what it was five years ago, but better, fog is lifted and fatigue has decreased. I’m at the point of beginning electrical muscle stimulation to rehab atrophied muscles in my left leg, which it turns out are around my hip flexor. Just what I had to go through and am still going through to get that in place has been a ridiculous amount of work. Starting with the fact that I never heard of e-stim before this. I want to attempt a full time job in six months. Reality is that I need to be prepared to accept that that may never be possible for me. Some of my damage will never be reversed. For example, I may lose my limp, but not the fatigue after a time of using it. These things factor. What I can do, is gather information, be prepared to try. To have a real chance at succeeding, I need to think ahead, I need to study programs and safety nets put in place in two disability programs I am involved with. I need to do that for my own protection. Then, I need to study the job market and consider with a realistic mind what I can do and what I can’t do. That takes time to consider. I need to get my college transcripts. Considering I had to declare a complete bankruptcy in the states over a horrendous ms attack in 2009, I don’t even know if I am allowed access to my transcripts. I know this, I don’t want a job I apply to to be the ones to run into this possible road block, I need to know that up front. I need to revamp my resume. I don’t plan on going back to work for six months, but what I can and should do now is work to be properly prepared so that I have a winning chance.

Footwork, footwork, footwork. God will help you dig a hole, but you better bring a shovel. There is no easy path. Guidance is there, backed with hard work and optimism. Change doesn’t come easy, but it is possible. My experience has been that the harder it is, the greater the pay off. I’m in it for the long haul. One day a time.

 

Bonne Sante

Filled with gratitude and utterly frustrated….huh?

A day of mixed emotions of gratitude mixed with utter frustration, all to do with e-stim. I went to my first appointment today, an assessment.

First the gratitude:

The appointment was great and proved to me why it is so important to see a physical therapist. I thought my drop foot leg was stemming from my glute muscle, but learned today, that it is my hip flexer in front that isn’t working properly. The PT showed me how to use the e-stim machine and how to flex my muscle as the electric wave pulses through and exactly where I needed to place the electrodes. He gave me three exercises to do daily to compliment the weakened muscles that I am attempting to rework surrounding what doesn’t work neurologically. He said on a scale of 1 to 5, that I was a 3. He explained that that meant that I could flex the muscles, but was unable to lift my leg with knee bent against gravity.

The scale:

  1. Able to lift against a hand pushing down
  2. Able to lift against gravity, but with difficulty against a hand pushing down
  3. Able to contract the muscle, but unable to lift against gravity
  4. I forget this one and I can’t find it easily online (might be has sensory ability, but unable to contract the muscle).
  5. Unable to move, contract or feel anything as a quadriplegic would experience

He also showed me how to rehabilitate my walking, which I have been doing right. Which are concentrating on flexing my foot and lifting my leg straight up and not out in a left arc swing. The e-stim machine comes with reusable electrode pads, which might last a whole month of daily use if proper care is done after each use. They are $20 to replace. But, he said that you can buy rubber electrodes that are more permanent. Cost about $18.00 for two, with them I will need to buy ultrasound transmission gel, about $8.00 for 8 oz/250 ml. That is easier and cheaper. He says the rubber electrodes are what they use all day, everyday for months. I was given an appointment in two weeks to assess my progress, which of course will depend on my willingness to do the exercises and e-stim every day. That which, I am sure, we all know I will do.

I do have one more point of gratitude that I will add at the end, because I think it important to end on a positive note whenever possible.

Now, the frustration:

If you’ve been following my journey to get e-stim in place, then you know how long, complicated and arduous this has been. For those who haven’t, I’ll recap. Money is not something I have readily. I am on disability and so have a very limited means of income. The Wahls Protocol diet itself is expensive, especially when the supplements are factored in. It is necessary for me to seek subsidy for e-stim. I have a disability worker who has been gracious, available and patient with my situation. That I am grateful for. It is the system that frustrates me. I applied for and received funding for an inexpensive TENS/EMS machine (they run between $150 to $5,000, mine was $150). This required, prescriptions from my MS Neurologist for the machine and another one for physical therapy along with a letter. Did all that, got all that done. Now, all I need is the physical therapy. Specifically, what I need is exactly what I described at the top. I won’t get into every little thing that complicated this, because if I do, this blog will be twenty five paragraphs long. Ultimately, I am having a hard time getting this simple physical therapy covered for a diagnosis that everyone know’s and agrees on. That would be AISH, my Neurologist, Alberta Health and the Physical Therapist. I have five PT visits that I can have per year under Alberta Health, unless they are neurological (didn’t know this till today). If that be the case, then I have to have special permission. In other words (although, I’m sure you get it), if I sprained my ankle, I can use the five visits for that. But, for my situation, because it is neurological, I can’t. I got a call a few hours after my appointment and was told, that they couldn’t put the session I had through because it wasn’t covered under the “five allowed” because its neurological. They are going to contact my case worker for paperwork to request that this be covered. I told her, its 75% there, they (AISH) have the two prescriptions and the letter from my Neurologist. All that needs to be sent now are these questions that I’ve been left to give the physical therapy places to cover under their assessments.

I have had access to rehabilitation via the MS clinics in years past. They have helped me,  especially occupational therapy for the cognitive problems I’ve had. My experience is, that as I get worse, they help me adjust to that. They’ll help me learn to use a cane, or help me get a walker then teach me how to use it. How to maneuver in and out of the bathtub once I lose my ability to get in and out of the tub. I’ve had this drop foot leg from the beginning, 2004, it is my oldest damage. Today is the first time someone told me that it stems from the hip flexor. I was given these exercises that the PT gave me a few years ago amidst a raging attack that was causing my leg to worsen. But, they were no help in the middle of that. Today, I am in a new ball game. One that is helping me get better and in this arena, those exercises will work. They can’t make the lesion disappear, but the diet I am on is helping me become stronger everyday and in this way, the exercises will help me compensate for that weakness. What I find most upsetting is that I’ve been offered several times to have a motorized scooter ($1,300 to 3,000) and professionals are there to see to the paperwork. This is taking forever to get into place and all it is are several PT visits and a $150 machine, both of which will assist me in rehabilitation. Something, in my experience, I’ve not seen made available for MS with the point being to get better. As I said, it is more to learn to deal with new damage, not for rehabilitation. Roar!

Okay, back to the gratitude:

I’ve had the e-stim machine for a month or so now, I haven’t opened it till last night. I thought, I really need to at least look at the book before I bring it to the PT. It came with a 9 volt battery. I put the battery in, the machine doesn’t work (you’d think I’d list this under frustrations, but I have a reason why). Now I’m thinking it probably is the battery, but then what if it isn’t? I’m playing scenario’s of having to find the receipt and go to the store despite the red lettered paper staring at me from the box, “If you have a problem, don’t go to the retailer, call this number.” That bespeaks of never ending headaches and automation, and mailing things in and OMG!. Okay, I got a lid on that ten minutes into it, pointless till I rule out the battery. That left me with the acceptance that I would need to walk the two blocks to Shoppers in the morning before I am picked up to go to the Southland Leisure Center to exercise and then go for PT which is in the same building. My ride was coming at 9:10 am.

Alright, alright….the best part!

I walked the two blocks to Shoppers in 7 minutes! 7 minutes?! If I take the bus (same distance), I always have to leave 20 minutes before, to be sure I’m there before the bus comes. I’ll remind you, without a cane. I got what I needed and walked the two blocks back, without resting, 7 minutes again. And yes, it was the battery. The free battery was crap. I went to the Southland Leisure Center and worked out for 40 minutes, showered and headed off to my appointment, which required me to walk and practice the exercises given by the PT, not arduously, but no way, could I have been able to walk, then workout, then go to an hour long physical therapy appointment. Is this ever worth all the headaches? Yes it is! And ultimately, my gratitude far exceeds my frustration!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Artwork from Dreamstime: https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-happy-sad-face-faces-abstract-doodle-drawing-image38425409