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/
I’m excited to share a podcast that I was invited to participant in to represent the Wahls Protocol and my experience utilizing it. Podcast: https://dinosaursdonkeysandms.com/2018/03/13/dizzycast-ep-3-a-dietary-dizzy/
The podcast introduces the diets for MS (really all autoimmune illnesses will benefit from these diets). They are The Wahls Protocol, Dr. Swank’s and Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS). The podcast was conducted by Heather of “Dinosaurs, Donkeys and MS” Blog. Heather is from England, has MS and follows the OMS diet. Her blog has been voted one of the best 50 MS blogs worldwide. My interview is first, followed by interviews with Jen, Robert, and Heather on their experiences with Swank and OMS (the latter being a variation that has roots in the Swank diet). All in all, I think it was an excellent introduction to these three methods. I appreciate Heather’s inclusion of the Wahls Protocol, even though she follows OMS. I was thrilled to take part in it. I believe it is important to offer information on all these methods and the Autoimmune Wellness’ method (AIP). No one during this interview touched on AIP, but it is equally as good as the others, in the vein of Dr. Wahls. I did talk about Dr. Ashton Embry’s work being the roots of Dr. Wahls’ Protocol. And, important to remember is that all of these diets owe their beginnings to Dr. Swank, who realized a connection between MS and diet in the 1950’s.
Because I believe that there is more than one way to skin a cat, I have looked into each of these till I found the one that suited me best, which for me was the Wahls Protocol, others may fare better on Dr. Swanks, OMS, MS hope’s, or AIP. I heartily encourage anyone considering pursuing one of these, to look at them all, which is why I have links to each on my page research, websites and books You’ll find that there are similarities between all these, feel free to research each with an open mind. I hope that you’ll take the time to listen and pass it on. If you care too, I’d love to hear what you thought.
These are some of my favorite recipes suitable for Wahls level III and nutritional ketosis.
Chicken fingers with mushroom saute
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, each breast cut into three strips
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Coconut oil for frying
Mix coconut milk with salt in a shallow wide mouthed bowl like a pasta bowl. In a second bowl, mix flour, thyme, parsley, and nutritional yeast together. Dredge chicken fingers in coconut milk first then flour mixture. Fry in oil over medium heat about five minutes each side. Cut biggest one half to be sure cooked through.
- 1 lb sliced white mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic chopped fine
- 1/2 tbsp parsley
- 2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Ghee
Melt Ghee, add garlic for a moment, then add mushrooms and seasonings. Saute till mushrooms are browned. Serve over chicken fingers.
Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato and Garlic salad
2 or 3 as a meal, serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
- 1 lb cooked medium shrimp cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 avocado chunked into 1 inch pieces
- 2 small tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1/4 small onion diced fine
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- ground pepper to taste
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
Mix all ingredients together.
Sauteed Asparagus and Garlic
- 1 lb Asparagus
- 4 garlic cloves sliced thin
- 1/2 tbsp basil
- 1/2 tbsp parsley
- salt and pepper
- Ghee for sauteing
- Fresh Lemon
Snap each Asparagus spear and throw out tough ends. Cut into 11/2 inch pieces. Heat the pan, add the Ghee and melt, add the garlic for a moment, then add asparagus, basil, parsley and salt and pepper. Saute till asparagus is bright green and semi tender and the garlic is lightly browned. Serve with fresh lemon wedges to be squeezed over the asparagus.
Sauteed Sweet Potatoes with Onions and Brussels Sprouts
- 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cut into 1-inch pieces with skin on
- 3 strips bacon
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 1/2 lb Brussels Sprouts cup in half
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced
- salt and pepper
Put the balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, let cook down while making the rest of the dish, check every so often to be sure it doesn’t over cook, it should be syrupy, but still a little runny.
Cook bacon and set aside on paper towels. Leave grease in pan.
Saute sweet potatoes for ten minutes in bacon grease, then add onions. Saute another 10 to 12 minutes and add Brussels sprouts. Cover and turn down to a simmer, adding additional coconut oil or ghee if needed. Simmer 6 minutes. Toss with bacon ripped into 1-inch pieces, salt and pepper. Serve then drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.
My favorite mixed greens salad
- 2 cups mixed greens
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen (defrosted) berries, mixed or individual
- 1/2 avocado, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped red cabbage
- favorite nuts, I like almonds or pan toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ground salt and pepper
- 4 slices bacon on the side
Toss greens, berries, avocado, and red cabbage together. Add olive oil and toss, then add balsamic and salt and pepper. Toss well. Sprinkle with nuts or seeds. Serve with cooked bacon on the side.
- 1 cup favorite hot coffee
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper
I have a Ninja Professional blender, Vitamix, if you have one, its better with hot liquids. I have it down to a science with the Ninja, though. I put the coconut milk in first then add the coffee and whisk to help cool down the coffee a little. I add the cinnamon and salt and pepper. Then put the cover on and tip the blender cup upside down and count to five. Turn right side up again and unscrew the top immediately (you might need a jar opener (I use a piece of stretch elastic like physical therapists use), then I screw the cap back on and blend counting to 6. Stop and unscrew immediately.
I know this sounds like a lot of bother, but it works. If I don’t do this, one of two things happens. Getting the cover off is a nightmare, or the lid loosens while blending and sprays everywhere. The above exercise has become the most efficient for me and whereas I cannot afford a Vitamix, will continue to be the way I do this. Yummy coffee, worth the ritual.
Mocha Nutty Latte
- 1 cup favorite hot coffee
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 tbsp organic cacao
- 1/2 tbsp almond butter or less if you prefer
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp real vanilla extract
Same as above. Sometimes I add cinnamon to this too.
I love the recipe in the Wahls book, Cooking for Life. Pork Chop Skillet.
Love Yum Yum Paleo’s Asian Fried Riced Cauliflower.
These are a few favorite meals
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.
The real question ought to be, “Why is Vitamin D a problem right now?” Because when I was a child and into my twenties, it wasn’t an issue. I’m 55, so I am referring to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Back then, I sported a dark brown tan every summer and in my twenties I kept it up year round using tanning booths in the winter. In my childhood, we didn’t talk about sun screen. Babies wore sun hats, mother’s kept them covered, toddlers ran around with tans. My brother and I have olive toned skin and many remarked to our mother about our beautiful dark tans. People who had very pale skin, were cautious when in the sun, but still out in the sun, they were the only ones I saw using salves to protect themselves from burning aside from life guards with bright white stripes of sun block on their noses. We all suffered a sunburn sometimes. I don’t recommend them, they’re not fun, but for most of us, they weren’t the end of the world either.
Its true, too much sun could damage skin and for a few, cause skin cancer. But, I feel we’ve gone way too far in the other direction, where we get no sun anymore. Especially in the north where sun is limited to begin with. In the summer we slather the highest SPF lotions we can find, lest the sun touch our skin. All my life, I’ve met only 2 people with skin cancer (mild cases). And, before you get all up in arms, be rest assured that I am not disputing that skin cancer is real, and maybe its only a coincidence that I’ve only met two people. I am only suggesting moderation and balance. For most people, some sun is not just good, but needed. Sun light is needed to produce vitamin D. It can be had through supplements too, which is what I do. I take 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 per day in the form of drops. Fair skinned Dr. Wahls takes 6,000 IUs in the winter along with short visits in a tanning bed and decreases to 4,000 IUs in the summer, whereas she is an avid Gardner and rides her bike to and from work most days.
It is a fact that lack of Vitamin D has been linked to autoimmune diseases and other equally surprising conditions:
“A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to some other conditions such as cancer, asthma, type-II diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and type-I diabetes.” – https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/
Yes, we had these diseases then too, but not to the outrageous degree that they are now prevalent in our society these days. When I was a child, I met one person who had MS. In my twenties, I knew another. Two people in two decades. The last two decades the opposite has been true, autoimmune diseases of all sorts are cropping up everywhere in cooler climate industrialized nations. Interesting though is the fact that I knew two people my entire life who had skin cancer, the kind they can remove. That is not to say that it doesn’t exist, that it shouldn’t be a prudent concern, especially for those with fair skin, who are most susceptible to damage. The darker your skin is the more melanin you produce, which is the skins natural defense against the sun that, paradoxically, is produced when the skin is exposed to sun light.
Melanin gives the skin its pigment. The darker your skin is the better protected you are from the sun. This is the reason why warmer climates have darker skinned people. A natural occurrence to the environment. My grandparents are from Southern Italy, hence the olive tone to my skin and gives me a decreased chance of sun burns. I can burn. I need to be cautious the first one or two times out in the sun and use sun block. Once a tan begins to build, I don’t burn anymore. A tan is the skin producing melanin in response to the sun for protection.
I am not an expert, but I have left three addresses from both sides below. I suggest that you take the time to read up. It is important to say that Vitamin D is not the only reason for the sharp increase in autoimmune conditions, there are other factors, which is why Vitamin D is only one of the components of the Protocol, but it is definitely a factor.
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.