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!
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…..
I workout four days a week, Sun, Mon, Thurs, and Fri. Monday I saw the MS Social Worker and today and now tomorrow, I’ve had to cancel due to the snow storm were having. It is a slow storm over the course of two days, but this city is huge, 512 square miles or 825 square kilometers. Huge. It takes them a while to clean up after storms. It makes me nervous to miss exercise sessions. It is motivating me to take the time to sit down and make jewelry. Its been awhile. That does feel good to do. Jewelry making is an old friend of mine going back 25 plus years. Things could be worse, I could be working right now trying to get to my job. Which will be a concern, hopefully, next year.
I’ve been experimenting with recipes and store bought level III adaptive snacks. Sometimes, you just need something, chewy or salty and crunchy. I’ve tried beet chips, which are good. I learned how to make Kale chips and almond flour biscuits. All hits.
Crunchy Dried Beets
The beets are dried, thin, crunchy and naturally sweet. The bag I bought’s only ingredient are dried beets. Nothing else added. That’s important, look at the ingredients always for fillers or oils we can’t have. What I especially like is that they are high in Potassium. I didn’t realize beets were high in Potassium till I read it on the bag. Potassium is helpful for me on level III, whereas that’s one of the elements that can take a hit in Ketosis. This is the brand I bought in Canada at Costco:
These chips are sturdy enough to be good dipping chips. Dips I use are olive pate, Tahini sauce, salsa or guacamole.
Salty Kale Chips
Baked Kale chips. Helpful, whereas I can use kale as either my vegetable portion of greens or sulpher as they fall under either category. I found this recipe online:
This has an excellent tutorial to make the perfect crunchy chip. The spices are good, though I could cut down a bit on some ingredients. Play with it till you get it where you like it.
Chewy Almond Flour Biscuits
This is a recipe I found for almond flour biscuits. I make good homemade biscuits. If that is what you’re expecting, these don’t fit that bill, however as something, new and different. They are very good. More like a soft chewy cookie, they have a nice texture and make a good base recipe that could go in the direction of cookies or flavored biscuits. I no longer have the website I found this recipe from, I apologize to the creator of them, I am going to reprint:
Almond Flour Biscuits
2 cups Almond Flour
2 tsp Gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Large Eggs (beaten) or 1 tbsp flax or chia seed mixed with 3 tbsp water for each egg
1/3 cup Ghee or Coconut oil (measured solid, then melted)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I didn’t have any, so light greased with coconut oil, worked fine).
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in wet ingredients.
Scoop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the lined baking sheet (a cookie scoop is the fastest way). Form into rounded biscuit shapes (flatten slightly with your fingers).
Bake for about 15 minutes, until firm and golden. Cool on the baking sheet.
I played with these already and attempted a Keto friendly cookie. I added 2 tbsp Cacao, stevia to taste (optional), and 1 tsp vanilla. They were okay. I would add more Cacao, maybe 1/4 cup. I really need to play with that more, liquid will be needed or fats increased. Play, play, play.
Everything I learn is another tool in my arsenal, giving me more options and increasing my success.
When I tackle something, I have learned through the years of my life to bring all of myself or nothing. I am an open book. Following the Wahls Protocol and how I am defeating MS is no different. My goals for this blog have been:
To help keep myself motivated and accountable
To provide a detailed record of one person’s healing
To inspire others
To give a truthful account, good and bad
To share helpful information and shortcuts that I have learned
To give a realistic account that does show how hard, yet how doubly rewarding this has been and is
To prove that its all worth it
At this time, as I have written in the past few blogs, I am rehabilitating in preparation for the workforce. I will have a job that fully utilizes all that I have to offer. Too be successful, I have had to look at some tough to swallow truths about myself. I have written about these as I deal with them. Is it wise to publicly speak of a crippling past fear of success, of horrible wreckage at the hands of MS, of darker issues that I have worked very hard to successfully overcome, thereby preparing me for a one hundred percent commitment to the Wahls Protocol?
Fear….what if a future employer reads about these issues and discriminates and I lose the opportunity for this job or that? Here’s my answer to that…..I bring all of myself or nothing. That includes any future job on my horizon. My learned skills, my experiences, and my wisdom comes with me. I once lived in a self constructed prison, terrified that the world would know where I’ve been and what I’ve done and that secretly, deep down inside, I knew you knew that I was worthless. It has taken me a long time to overcome that. Today, I have so much to give, so much I want to learn, and so much to share. Because of the Wahls Protocol, my body is finally catching up to my ambition and drive to help others. My mind is out of the fog, awake and hungry to learn more.
I had a friend in the early 90’s who had Progressive MS. She was diagnosed when she was 18. She managed to complete her degree in education, but was never able to realize her potential in her chosen career. By 26, just as I met her, she lost her right to drive, her husband left her for someone else and she then had to let go of her position as the primary caregiver for their three year old son. She was athletic, she went to the gym five days a week. A tiny, muscular thing. She strained as she forced her spastic legs to walk, her hands shook uncontrollably and the day she messed herself, but then calmly gave us direction to help her, all of us embarrassed for her, whilst she stayed calmer then us all. I think often of her courage and dignity in the face of all that ugliness.
That year a new drug, the first ever, was introduced. Copaxone. I watched her face light up with a renewed hope, only to see it fall just a few days later when she was told that the drug could do nothing for her as she was Progressive. Well Joanne, I just want to say to you, I have relapsing remitting MS and I have been on Copaxone for ten years. I started the drug when I had 20 lesions and now I have double that. I too lost my ability to drive, lost my ability to work, had incontinent bowels and had to give up primary care of my children. So, my dear friend, you missed nothing. She died a few years later, bedridden. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, I immediately thought of Joanne. Terrified, having watched what it did to her. If she had been given the knowledge that I have been given, she would’ve jumped on that band wagon in a heartbeat. She was far more disciplined than I am. If she’d known that Dr. Swank had published his 30 year trial on MS and diet with astounding results around the same time as the release of Copaxone, she’d be here telling me about the new exploits of her now adult son.
That’s why I have a responsibility to share my experience, strength and hope and that includes the dark stuff. So anyone afflicted with not just MS, but other autoimmune conditions, can have a chance to take control of their own health again or even better, prevent themselves from ever developing one of these diseases. This is my personal journey, and like all journey’s, though they may be the same road, each will be its own.
My success is in memory of Joanne.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/
I’m on Level III roughly two weeks now and the energy came in today. Ketosis flu wasn’t bad and this time around, I knew what it was, a big bonus, since it scared the hell out of me the first time I experienced it not knowing what was going on. I lost a big 6 lbs this past months, mostly in the last two weeks, due to a return to level III. I’m now 154 lbs. Been decades since I’ve weighed this little. I am 24 lbs from my ideal weight, which will be 130 lbs. One hundred twenty five was my ideal weight in my 20’s, I am allowing 5 lbs for my age.
I am asked questions frequently about my healing. I feel that I have a responsibility to explain how I was able to do it every chance I get. How else can anyone know that there is another way, a better way and that its within their power to grasp it, they only need want it bad enough and to be willing to go to any lengths to get it. The rewards are so dramatic that over time, it far out weighs the inconveniences. I look at birthday cake and I say to myself, “Do I want birthday cake or do I want to walk.” Because that is literally what it means to me. If I have a piece a cake, no, one slice of cake will not undo all that I’ve done, but it will weaken my resolve and make it that much easier to slip again and again till the tide rushes through the dam I’ve built. No way!!! Not for anyone am I willing to do that.
Over the holidays, I did step back a bit to Level I to make it easier to get through the holidays, thus allowing me more foods I could eat. I don’t consider this a slip because, even though I did slide back a little, its still on the Protocol and I was still healing, but at a much slower rate. I’d do that again, possibly next year, because it did help me enjoy Christmas and Birthdays of which there are several around the holidays. I am happy to be back on level III though. It did show me just how much healing can be had on that level as compared to level’s I and II. Cognitive healing? I’ll say, “Hell yes!” to that!
Note: I updated the symptoms page.
Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/marketing-school-business-idea-21696/
Staying connected is an important component for my success. I know no one personally who is doing this locally, therefore it is important for me to stay in touch with like minded people via various media. This is my list:
A closed group, apply to be a member (easy process). Fantastic group that has endless answers. Over 20,000 members worldwide. Well moderated group. This is my number one source of support. I read the threads everyday, I get involved with some of the discussions, if I have a question, answer or relevant experience.
Dr. Wahls website. I check in here from time to time. I am on her mailing list, which keeps me updated on current research she is working on, webinars that she has online for free, upcoming events she is hosting, etc. Tonight is a Webinar that I will be listening to at 6 pm. I will have access to it after and will publish the link for anyone else who would like to listen. These are free. This one is Dr. Ken Sharlin: “LEARN WHAT FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGY CAN DO FOR YOU”
I joined Matt’s Facebook page and so receive his various announcements and info about this way of life. Matt Embry’s father, Dr. Ashton Embry, researched existing information and came up with a lifestyle for his son to follow after he was diagnosed with MS at the age of 18. Matt is now in his forties and still in remission. Dr. Wahls began her journey to wellness beginning with Dr. Embry’s research. She is in remission over 10 years.
This is the Webinar that is scheduled for 6 pm Mountain time from my email:
I realize it is ridiculous that this is a big deal to me, but it is. I have waxed and waned over this for months. Each time I must learn a new eating lesson (cooking, budgeting to afford it, tools to make it, overcoming my fear of, “is it going to be gross?”, etc), that when I finally do it, I find that most of the time, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I spotted a recipe that was the simplest I’ve seen. One of the reason’s I dragged my feet on this, here are reason’s (excuses):
I don’t have a crock pot and can’t afford to buy one
I can’t afford grass fed chicken bones and chicken feet
I’m afraid to let anything cook on my stove top for twelve hours or more
What if its disgusting with all that dissolved bone marrow, “bleh!”
Reason’s why this recipe worked for me:
Timing was right, I just baked a whole chicken (unusual for me, I live alone)
The directions were for on the stove with a second option for the crock pot
It was specifically for a whole roasted chicken carcass (something I can better afford, because I get the meat from it too for other meals)
Simply and directly written
I had the suggested tools on hand (for a change)
Simple everyday stuff. Stainless pot, fine mesh strainer, large strainer, large bowl, ladle, glass jars (as you can see, mine are recycled).
~Do not boil. Boiling can destroy collagen molecules. A slow simmer is best.
~Use vinegar when possible to pull out the trace minerals & collagen from the bones.
~Use an organic chicken, one with no hormones & no antibiotics. Whole Foods has organic rotisserie chickens.
~Celebrate if you see that the broth become gelatinous when refrigerated. That is a great sign that you extracted all the good stuff from the bones. That is liquid gold!
~Want to pull even more health benefits from the bones? Soak the bones in cold water with the vinegar & vegetables for 15 minutes to an hour before turning on the heat.
~Oftentimes, there will be wonderful gelatin left in the bottom of the rotisserie container if you have refrigerated the chicken before preparing the broth. Don’t let that go to waste! Dump it right into your broth or save it with your chicken to add later to the soup or whatever dish you are making. You can see it in the picture below.
Decreasing stress is one of the components of the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Stress is known to be a catalyst for illness. My own experience proves that. I was under a great deal of duress building up to becoming sick. Life happens, sometimes it isn’t pleasant. I’m stating the obvious, but its important to look at the truth of that. I have learned over the years due to a different illness I have that relies on the practice of gratitude to stay in remission, how to live in the moment, to look at my part in relationships and mistakes, to do spot check inventories, to make gratitude lists and to enjoy what is. Like anything these habits require a commitment and daily practice. I have had years of successfully applying these practices to my life and I’ve had times when I let them go and let old negative habits creep back in to the detriment of my serenity. It was during those times that I got sick and running scared, made bad decisions that made the situation ten times worse then it had to be.
How to practice serenity is to be grateful for everything. To remind myself to live in the moment. I like these statements, “God will only give you what you can handle in one day.” and “I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t plan for this or that. It means, I make the appointment, research the information, jot down the idea, then let it go, putting it out of my mind till its time to deal with it. This takes practice and is sometimes easier said then done. However, like anything, practice makes it easier to do, then the rewards flood in from the practice.
Sometimes to get down to a free flowing serene state, I must look at unpleasant truths about myself, especially if the same set of calamities or repeated mistakes happen over and over again. That’s usually a sure fire sign that the fault is mine. Somewhere, there are deep rooted issues that must be unearthed, amends made, myself and others to be forgiven and then, if the work is earnest and sincere then peace for this situation or relationship happens. Other people are usually necessary to help with this, such as support groups, advisers, counseling, religious practices for some people, etc. Food for thought, the smartest and most powerful people on Earth have advisers, the more responsibility they have the more advisers they have. It is, paradoxically, not a sign of weakness, but of strength to seek advice and assistance.
Meditation is the practice of being in the moment. To be aware of all five senses, to quiet the mind, concentrate on breathing, build a deeper communion with a Higher Power if one so chooses, or to feel a deeper connection with the Earth with sounds of nature and thoughts of ancient trees and pathways thru the woods or how the Earth feels on your hands when you plant something. We can do quick, in the moment meditations with everyday mundane activities, like concentrating on the warm sensation of sudsy water as I clean the plate, listening for the sound of clacking silverware when I drag the bottom of the sink for silverware to clean. Or we can do long prepared meditations. Set the scene, a favorite spot in our home that we create the space for. Burn incense maybe, light candles, play serene music or sounds (I like the ocean) or listen to a guided meditation. Exercise and jewelry making are both deep sources of meditation for me. I am completely focused when I create, colors, sewing, the feel of beads in my hands, or exercise, I’m off in my own world. When exercising, I am completely riveted on the teacher, the movement I’m doing, the feel of the water, the weights in my hands, the flexing of the targeted muscles, my breathing. When I do these things, I am not thinking about the bills I need to pay in two weeks, or the appointments I have tomorrow or even in two hours, I am completely in the moment. This is one of the reasons I love doing these two activities. Anxiety, fear of the unknown, causes the body to do certain things, increases heart rate, gasping for breath, racing thoughts of fears and over dwelling on negatives. Meditation is the practice of clearing the mind, deep thoughtful breathing, bringing one’s thinking back to the present moment and the realization that one is safe in that moment. Many fears are of bogeymen that are not happening right now and in most cases may never happen. And if there is a difficult loss occurring, job, family, health, then the practice of these above can make them easier to handle, more manageable by making it possible to take the situation(s) piece meal.
To enjoy what is are all these practices, that is the goal for me. That and humor. A sense of humor can cut stress in half and help keep a heart light. There is always two ways to look at any situation. Most of the time there is something good to consider even when it feels unfair. Here’s a silly joke:
Four men from Boston meet every Sunday to play cards. Clancy, Taylor, John and Ian have known each other for decades. John is the upbeat positive chap in the group. No matter what anyone says he always answers, “It could be worse.” This always rubs Clancy the wrong way. One Sunday, only Clancy, John and Ian show up. Ian, visibly upset, breaks the news to Clancy and John that Taylor is in jail after coming home Saturday night and finding his wife in bed with another man, he shot and killed them both. To which, John says, “It could be worse.” Clancy yells back, “That’s the last straw! You drive me nuts, how could it be worse John, two people are dead and our good friend is in jail, how could it be worse, you tell me that?!” John replied, “It could be worse because he could’ve come home on Friday when I was there.”
This one was about balancing hormones. Interesting for me whereas I am on Premarin, off and on (mostly on) six years. I haven’t worried about cancer because I’m on them due to a total hysterectomy. Therefore, less in me that can get cancer. I am checked annually for breast cancer and I have no family history of it. But, they brought up other points. So, check out the Webinar. Also, we had Diane V Capaldi (Paleo Boss Lady) as the intro speaker. There is no cost for these, they are free.
I am working at returning to Wahls Paleo Plus Level III (Nutritional Ketosis). I stocked back up on full fat coconut milk and bit the financial bullet and bought my digestives. They will help me with the rebounding eating styles that requires readjustments. I don’t buy an exorbitantly high priced one. I buy Digest Basic by Enzymedica from my local natural market, $20.00 for 90 caps, then I limit them, one cap per meal so, two per day, which lasts me 45 days. But, it did put me $18 over my $40 monthly budget for supplements. Ahem……..long sigh……., so hard to balance finances with this. I do think it was wise to get them though. Once in the swing of Ketosis, I hope to find away to use Liquid Magnesium Glycinate ($40 a month) again, because it was a big help in keeping me out of the ketosis flu. Somehow next month, I am going to get very creative and strict with my finances. January is when I will begin. Right now, I am back fasting and am mostly eating the third level, except for leftover food from level II, that being, dried cranberries, banana’s, gluten free flour, gluten free spaghetti (two servings left). I won’t replenish these after I’ve used them up. I’m planning on January to give me a little more leeway through the Christmas season all the while adding in ketosis habits.
Hope all is well and all are ready for the Christmas month!
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