Yes, Virginia, you can turn the clock back.

Teary gratitude moment today. It happened as I learned a new exercise that will further help my walking and stepping up stairs. I’m just so happy to have knowledgeable direction to apply the correct exercises to rebuild atrophied muscles around what neurologically doesn’t work. That took me by surprise. I was just happy to be working on this. My left drop foot is the oldest damage I have. It started in 2003 when all of a sudden I couldn’t do a yoga stretch that I’ve never had a problem with before. It was on the left side and it was weird. I let it go. A year later, my left leg was weakening at the end of hour long power walks that I took daily. Having been a contortionist and an acrobat in younger years, I thought that I might have old damage in my hip. When electric shocks began coursing through my right arm and side, I went to an emergency room and after having the recommended MRI a few days later, I learned that I had two lesions typical of MS. One of the lesions was on the right side of the brain and was the reason my leg was weakening and inflexible. Long story short, over the years as I’ve had more MS flare ups and damage, the original lesion causing damage to the left leg grew larger with each attack. Progressing to a noticeable limp, then to a cane and finally a walker.

Its been eight months since I began the Wahls Protocol and weaned off the walker, AFO and the cane. I walk freely, but still fatigue after a lot of exercise or walking and need to sit and rest my leg. I’m about where the level of fatigue was in 2008. Think about it, the clock has been turned back nine years in eight months.  I’ll say it again, if a MS drug did this, it would be all over the news. So, I had a teary moment, I regained my composure quick, I don’t think anyone knew I had a tear in my eye. I was doing exercises that have been completely impossible for me to do, not so long ago. I was doing them slow, but I was doing them. Its because of physio that I even know after having this damage since 2004 that what doesn’t work is my left hip flexor. I thought early on it was my side hip, but then thought better that it was my left glute muscle not working right. What matters, is that I know what it is now. Thank you!

I think on physio days, I really need to drop a workout. There is a physio center in the leisure center where I work out and swim. I schedule my appointments on days I am scheduled to work out. I get there early and swim for an hour, rest, have coffee, then circuit train in the gym for 40 minutes, then head straight into physio from there. Physio is almost an hour on top of that. It was too much for me, I did fatigue and I slept and did nothing most of the rest of the day. The next time, I’ll swim, but will skip the weights and rest up for physio. The trouble with me is that I am a “if some is good, a lot is better” kind of person. The workouts are part of my building blocks, every meal, every workout is a brick. I hate to miss one. But, truthfully, I’m not really missing one, I’m swapping one out. Physio is every two weeks on Mondays till the end of January, then were done. I do the exercises around four times per week with space between to recover, which the physical therapist explained is how I should be doing this. Suffice it to say, I think that would bring a tear to anyone’s eye. On the Wahls Protocol Facebook page, members are posting before and after photos of when they began and today. I am waiting till my first year on the Protocol is complete, then I’ll post my after picture. I wonder how much it is to have the before picture blown up to one of those life size, stand alone cut outs. I thought to bring it to the Leisure Center where it was taken. Then, I’ll dance around it while someone films it, that can be my after photo!

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Wahls Protocol component: Exercise and Physio are as important as the diet.

My mother and two of her sisters were five foot nine. In High School in the 1950’s they were all athletes. My mother was a runner, Aunt Beverley was a figure skater and Aunt Sheila was a national champion archer. My mother told me after she was married in 1960, that women back then, once you were out of High School, you didn’t run unless someone was chasing you with a knife. Thank God, times have changed!

Tomorrow is exercise in the morning. Exercise is equally important in comparison to what we eat and don’t eat. This is my routine each week:

  • Thursday: Deep water aerobics with a flotation belt for one hour and circuit training and physio in the gym for forty minutes.
  • Friday: Laps and calisthenics in the deep water without a flotation belt for forty minutes and circuit training and physio in the gym for 40 minutes.
  • Sunday: Laps and calisthenics without a flotation belt in the deep water for forty minutes and circuit training and physio in the gym for 40 minutes.
  • Monday: Deep water aerobics with a flotation belt for one hour and circuit training and physio in the gym for forty minutes.

Every day I use the e-stim machine around my hip flexor for 20 minutes. I walk as much as I can. If I am tired or fatigued, I still show up to exercise, but work at half steam. If I show up, chances are I’ll show up the next time. Once in a while, I just need to stay home and if I feel that tired, I do.  The first habit I incorporated into my life for the Protocol was the practice of smudging with sage every morning and every night while saying the words, “I’m healed.” This is the physio path I took over the past seven months in order:

  1. To become conscience of my posture, which was horrible. I forced myself to sit straight up. It, surprisingly didn’t take long to break that habit.
  2. To up my weekly exercise sessions to four days a week from my customary twice weekly.
  3. To become conscience of the way my left foot hits the ground and begin to break bad movements developed over time to compensate for my lame leg.
  4. To stop using the AFO, a leg brace with a foot insert that keeps my toe up when I walk. I hadn’t been using it that long, so it was the first thing that I was able to let go of. The problem with it was that I had to retrain my foot to flex when it hit the ground.
  5. To become conscience of how my leg swung out in a wide left arc. I hadn’t noticed how bad it was till I’d worked on my walking two months. I began to force myself to reign it in, which hurt like hell at first, but it got gradually better.
  6. To narrow down the use of the walker only to walks that required my carrying items home to eventually not using the walker at all.
  7. To begin practicing walking without the cane, big one for me, I had been using the cane for three or four years. Gradually over the course of two months, I weaned off the cane.
  8. To begin relearning to swim without the flotation belt on.
  9. To begin using e-stim after seeing a physical therapist to show me where to put the electrodes and how to use the machine. Then to use the machine faithfully for 20 minutes per day.  (I’ll be honest, I skip a day here and there).
  10. To begin physical therapy under the guidance of a physical therapist to further strengthen my left leg and improve my gait and balance. Incorporating these exercises into my circuit training workout. Every two weeks till eight or nine sessions are complete, he’ll give me several more exercises each time I go and assess my progress.

Is it what I listed above that makes it all possible? No, only partly. It is the combination of the diet, exercise, meditation, positive thinking, using non toxic products and detoxing practices such as sauna’s and Epsom salt baths and tenacity all working together. Just one week on the diet and I felt leagues better. The diet, Wahls level I, takes down the inflammation first. That alone takes a dramatic toll off the body. The inclusion of tons of varied vegetables and exclusion of dairy, gluten and chemically processed foods made my body literally happy. Then at about two weeks, detox! Kind of a flu like feeling that went away after about two weeks for me. That varies for each individual. Next my energy increased, fatigue decreased, my thinking began to improve and the brain fog went away. I remember the feeling of my body feeling like a well oiled machine. By the second month, my skin took on a healthy glow and continues to improve. I’ve toned and lost 35 lbs to date.

What is most fun is seeing people who have not seen me for a while because I have had a remarkable transformation in the last seven and half months. Move it or lose it!

I had the biggest craving today for a dessert. A warm, satisfying dessert. Here’s where I need to be creative, no gluten, minimal carbs which means no gluten free either, no sugar, no sweet fruit except berries. This is what I came up with.

Warm Blueberry Compote

Ingredients:

  • One cup frozen wild organic blueberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp full fat coconut milk cream
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut

 

In a small frying pan, toast the sesame seeds lightly over medium heat stirring often to brown evenly. Remove and set aside. In the same pan bring blueberries to a light simmer over medium heat. Add salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add coconut milk and cacao nibs, stirring well. Remove from heat. Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

I like the way this came out, it was good and it satisfied the craving I had. Nothing like warm fruit on a cold night. I need to think outside the box a lot on this diet.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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The next phase is upon me!

Dr. Wahls celebrated 10 years on her Protocol yesterday. She had a wonderful talk with updates of where she and her team are with everything including research. See her live video here: Terry Wahls 10th Anniversary video talk

Things ramped up today. I began physio today, which was great. I had the consultation several weeks ago. I was given three exercises then to start for my drop foot leg and its hip flexor paralysis. One of the exercises I couldn’t do at all. That was the first one the physical therapist had me show him. Physio, “Is that your drop foot leg?” Me, “Yes.” Physio, “So you’ve been doing the exercise, that’s better than I expected.” I think, two things, I am faithful with my exercise, I have worked the exercises into my regular exercise routine. I am directed to do these exercises everyday, but my routine is just four days a week in the gym, that’s when I do them, four days a week. The reason I am further along then the what the exercise would do is because of the Wahls Protocol diet. Everyday, I am stronger in some way and exercise and physio are only two factions of it. Two important parts, but it is the whole shebang that makes the bigger difference. For example, I have never stopped exercising, exercising is a big part of my life, it did not by its self stop the progression of MS. However, as apart of the eating lifestyle of whole foods, targeted supplements, less toxic environment, physio, e-stim, and exercise, all combined is arresting this dreaded disease.

So how are things ramping up? Well physio for one. I will go every two weeks for a total of nine visits. Today I had a call to make the appointment with the MS psychiatrist, which was set in December. When I got home, I had a letter from the Optimist program who will be helping me with rehab for a possible return to full time work. And yesterday, I applied for a part time job. They may never call me, but I applied. It seemed like a job that was a perfect fit. It was customer service which is varied responsibilities for a company that is a non profit whose mission is to help the disabled live life to their fullest potential. The customer service is for their recreation center which has a large swimming area featuring a salt water pool. And, they are fifteen minutes away by bus.

Why am I considering part time work when I have a big job ahead of me to further rehabilitate before trying for a full time job? Because I just don’t make enough money to support the Wahls protocol and live. The first four months, I have a credit line that I borrowed $200 from every month. That’s maxed three months now. I have not made any payments on the line since I began the Protocol and I am $200 short every month. Although, on the credit line, I am not required to make payments as long as I pay its interest, which I do, but that is not good for your credit rating. I am paying my bills and I am sticking to the bare minimum for the diet, some months I get supplements and some months I don’t. Its becoming stressful. In my world there are no mistakes, I feel that I could handle a part time job. I will need a lot of energy to get through all the rehabilitation and homework that comes with it along with keeping up the Wahls Protocol. But, I am talking part time, not full time. If it is meant to be, it will fall into place and it will be okay, and if it isn’t meant to be and I have to wait, then I have to wait and I’ll get by and it’ll still be okay. That’s my take on this. In the mean time, I can take this a day a time and remember that today, I have all the money I need provided I die at 12 midnight tonight.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Preparing for Employment

I have been busy considering employment situations that are best suited for me. Five months is still when I see myself climbing that mountain. In the mean time, there is a lot I need to do to be prepared to apply, it will cut down on wasting my time and the employers for jobs that are just not realistic for me to do. First, is a sense of failure after all the work of seeking, applying, hiring, only to crash and burn. A second reason is to narrow down the list to the job skill sets I have and can do despite my limitations. Options that are out:

  • Standing in one place all day
  • Sitting all day
  • Repetitious work like maneuvering a mouse or typing all day
  • Rotating shifts (nights, days, nights, days)
  • Driving (yet)
  • Walking all day
  • Lifting more than 30 lbs

I have office skills, sales, computer, writing, organizing, presentations, speech, desk top publishing, crisis intervention and mental health patient care. I have a lot of options, but coupled with limitations, that narrows the list down considerably. This is important, if I’m going to work, I want an interesting job with above average pay. What would work for me is a combination of walking, writing, speaking, selling, presentations, phone, computer, organizing. An hour here, twenty minutes there, up, down, sit, stand, type, talk with customers/clients.

I thought an entry level position with Telus might be good. As a customer, I’m happy with them, there a well organized institution with benefits and compensation. I was a telemarketer for MBNA and never missed my commissions. With a company like Telus, and being the goal oriented person I am, I could potentially progress in positions and pay rates. However, this is a sit all day position maneuvering a mouse repetitively.  Onto to the next consideration. I’d thought of pursuing work at the local Natural Market. This would present varied movement, waiting on customers, stocking, cashier and a discount on the expensive foods I need. I could do this job, if we can work out that I can sit here and there when I need to. They might not like that and I, won’t like the minimum wage. I’m worth more. My dream job promoting and teaching the Dr. Wahls Protocol. Good work, interesting, and real purpose where I am paid to help people get their lives back.

In the mean time while I figure all this out, I am brushing up on my typing skills, I want to force myself to learn Excel (for whatever reason, I have avoided that program like the plague, time to get over it). I need to practice using the new versions of Publisher and PowerPoint, which I have on my computer. Everyday, I spend a little time looking over the Calgary job market. It gives me a feel for what jobs I fit skill wise, and if I need to cross them off the list, because, for example, a driver’s license and a car is required. My college transcripts as I explained in previous blogs is something that is still in the works. Have to update the resume.

Then the complicated component. The disability programs. Plural, because I deal with both the US and Canada. Both have their respective programs. I downloaded the “Ticket to Work” booklet from social security, I need to read that. My AISH worker, disability in Alberta, I have expressed my desire to work, she is aware. I will need to eventually meet with her and talk about how their back to work program works.

In the mean time, I need to continue getting better by doing my part, following the diet, exercising, and doing physio. And, like it or not, I really need to get the carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist. Five months isn’t written in stone, really nothing is, however it is what I see. It is a goal to work towards. I work well under timelines.

Finally, I have an appointment with my Neurologist November 3rd, I need to talk about all of this with him. I need to call the office, because its him I want to see, not one of his students. I also need to inform the nurse of my decision to discontinue Copaxone. They expect to renew me for the next year. If at all possible, it would be nice to have support from them as I try to work full time for the first time since 2004. To re-enroll in the Optimus Program (my MS clinics therapy program) where I can utilize the psychologist, the psychiatrist, the physiatrist, the Social Workers and Occupational Therapists, for the purpose of becoming fully functional again. I’ve had the program in the past to help cope with becoming dysfunctional, I will need all the help I can get to go in the other direction. Although, this is something I will do whether I have their support or not.

We’ll see how that goes. I’m still waiting for physio for improving my walking gait and left leg weakness with the e-stim machine.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Late Night

I exercised this morning and while I was there I stopped into the physio place to see how the process of approval was coming. Good news is two people are working very hard to help me get this covered. The woman at the physio office and my disability worker. That feels good. She said if approved, then it will be physio once a week for ten weeks with the goal to strengthen the muscles around my hip flexor and improve my gait and balance. I was excited to hear that, I thought the best I could hope for was a couple visits to learn the machine, but this is infinitely what I really need. Apparently, getting this covered is tricky. Which as I said yesterday or the day before, is ridiculous. But it is what it is. Wait and see is all I can do now.

I used the e-stim machine for the first time last night. I spent roughly 20 minutes contracting the muscles around the hip flexor while on my back. Then 20 minutes doing the three exercises given me by the physio while using the machine. I’m not sure if I have the electrodes in the right places. The physiotherapist demonstrated on my forearm, but pointed to the region where I would put the electrodes. I just don’t remember. I will try various spots and ask, hopefully, the next time I see him.

I went grocery shopping late today and so dinner was late, 7:30. No desire to cook. I had one cup of sulpher veggies to consume and one cup of colored. I was all set with protein, and still had up to 4 ounces of seeds and nuts I could have. I hadn’t had my chocolate yet today nor my fermented serving. So, I feasted on snacks. I found these crackers made from sprouted seeds, nuts and olives. Had some of those waiting for the cab home. At home after putting groceries away, I relaxed and watched That 70’s Show and ate garlic stuffed olives. These took care of the one cup colored (olives) and the sulpher (garlic). I had 2 squares 85% dark chocolate with a tablespoon of almond butter and drank Kombucca tea. I feel so spoiled. And its all Wahls Level III compliant.

Tomorrow morning, I’m off to the gym, then having lunch with my son. Psyched. Its been a busy week and a very productive one. As long as I keep it in the day and handle only what is at hand, I can do this. I’m ready for sleep, up early. That’s one thing about this Nutritional Ketosis level III. Sleep is wonderful. I am full of energy when awake, but when its time for sleep, I’m out and its a solid sleep. I am sleeping around eight hours a night with an hour nap in the afternoon. Before I was lucky if I got six fitful hours total with no nap during the day. I find on this level, I need and want the extra sleep. Healthy sleep…..its been a long, long time.

 

Bonne Sante

 

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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

Moving forward, onward and upwards!

Yes! An appointment is had! I start physio for electrical muscle stimulation (e-stim) Tuesday. I am so very excited to finally get this started. For those who haven’t followed other blogs I’ve posted about e-stim. E-stim uses a machine (like TENS, but stronger) that introduces a pulsing electric shock via sticky electrode pads deep into the atrophied muscle causing it to move. Dr. Wahls used e-stim one hour a day for three years on her most effected area’s, her lower back and her left drop foot to great success. In other words, this is not a quick fix and requires a disciplined daily dedication and commitment. Along with that are exercises specific for building flexibility and strength into these long not used muscles. Exercise wise, I have guessed at some, but a physical therapist will be able to show me specific to my particular damage exercises and show exactly where to place the electrodes. I was told today that I have five PT sessions covered by Alberta Health Services and if they feel I should have more, they will submit the necessary paperwork to AISH (Alberta Disability). Thank you for taking the bureaucracy away from me! And thank you AISH for covering the expense of the machine. According to all that I’ve read, you don’t use the machine while exercising. The complimenting exercises are done with your regular workout routine or whenever, at home or at the gym.

Hamstrings_EMS_recovery.jpeg

 

imageService

Its funny, I tell people, like the woman making my appointment today, that I was on a walker six months ago and just got off my cane four weeks ago because of a diet lifestyle not drugs. I have a polite, “Oh that’s nice.” But, I don’t think it registers that I have MS and my damage is reversing not progressing. On the other hand, anyone who knows me well and has seen me struggle with this disease and get progressively worse, they do get it. Well, moving forward, onward and upwards!

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-adventure-beautiful-climb-287240/

Living Proof Review

Living Proof was as good as I thought it would be. It did receive enthusiastic applause at its conclusion and many good questions were asked during the Q and A. I had the chance to say thank you to Dr. Ashton Embry for all his forthright work which made this possible for me and to Matt Embry for inspiring me and being supportive. I won’t describe the documentary, except to say this, it is part biography, Matt Embry’s (the film maker and Dr. Ashton Embry’s son) about his diagnosis of MS, part expose, of the MS society and the medical industries, both of which are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies and part hope, that there is an answer in lifestyle discipline of diet, exercise, vitamin D and stress management. The filming was great, it was well done. It was on the list to be included for voting for awards. I gave it a 5 as I am sure most in the audience did. There is one more showing, a third added after the first two sold out. They still have tickets for Saturday, September 30 at 9:30 pm showing at The Globe Theater. Buy tickets online by googling “Living Proof Calgary Film Festival”. Global distribution is in the works.

For me, I was not well this morning, but am doing better tonight. Good thing, for a time, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to attend tonight. I bought cheap fatty hamburger to get through the rest of the month and ate it four days in a row. I have been buying grass fed beef or bison from the natural market, but couldn’t afford it the way this month has been going financially. Did I pay for that. Stomach cramps, bloating, nose running, ugh, the worst was the spasticity and weakness coming back. I get to start next month tomorrow and will have money in the bank. First thing is grocery shopping, starting with the natural market.

Tomorrow I want to talk about websites and blogs that are inundated with advertising and popups galore. My promise to you, this blog will never be used to generate money, no ad will ever find its way here.

 

Bonne Sante

The Fountain of Youth

Went to exercise this morning. I had some weakness revisit me today and some spasticity come back at night too. I have got to get back into a routine for my Ketosis diet, between the conference, lack of money and the surgery, its really thrown me. For the most part I’ve stayed compliant to the best of my ability with all of this, but, the conference did cause me to eat some foods that were not ideal, the surgery caused me to fall out of routine and habit, and the short funds caused me to not take the supplements I really need to take (ran out and haven’t replenished) and I’ve relied on sub par foods, like cheap meats and mostly non-organic foods. I’ve fallen out of ketosis three times because of these three successive situations. I felt the long term ramifications of this today. Smarten up they say, paradoxically, Living Proof is tomorrow night. Good, I need a good motivator. Not that I’m anywhere near quitting. I’m not, not at all. I need to be very strict with my schedule, no surgeries, no conferences and a tight and micromanaged control on my money, which is what made me successful the first five months. There, other than that, I’m back in beginning ketosis, meaning, flu and sleepiness again till acclimate again. That’s the biggest reason to be very strict with my regime. This bouncing in and out of Ketosis isn’t good.

Reading, I thought about reading the book many times today, didn’t happen, but I did think about it 25 times or more. Tomorrow is a very busy day, so busy that I found it necessary to cancel my scheduled workout tomorrow. People coming over, then to the movie, I need my morning free to get things done and be rested for tomorrow night. It will be necessary to wait in line for an hour to be sure to sit together. This is advanced sales and unassigned seating. This theater is in a Mall, so that is helpful. We can take turns walking in the mall and holding our place in the line. I spoke briefly today with someone higher up in the Calgary Film Festival, because I couldn’t get a human on the phone in any other way to ask how early we should arrive tomorrow. I ended with her answering machine and she did call me back which impressed me greatly. She was gracious and accommodating. I told her that we had figured out our game plan, turns out one of our friends attending tomorrow is very familiar with the festival and the cinema. When I mentioned it was Living Proof we were attending, she said, “Boy, that’s a popular one!” That was great to hear.

One more thing, most of my life, I’ve been told I look younger than I am, its been a constant. Except for the last six or seven years. I crossed that invisible line into, well, invisible. But, not so the last month. I’ve heard repeatedly from people about my looks and mistaking me for a much younger person. So, if anyone is looking for the Fountain of Youth, look no further, this is it.

Just now, I got a call back from the coordinator for the Festival who went way out of her way to help me with the line tomorrow. I did say earlier that we figured it all out and were all set, but she said don’t worry. I did say that I have MS and I just needed to know what to expect with waiting times. She set it up so that we don’t have to wait. I told her, I feel bad about that because I’m not that disabled…..anymore. I explained to her, this movie is about a way of life that I’ve been following for six months that took me off a walker and a cane. I continued to point out that I was sure there would be others that will need the help more than I. Plus, there is five of us and I am the only one with MS. She said, “My God, you don’t have to apologize about that. That’s exciting!” I explained its happening to people all over the world, some film themselves, like the man who films himself daily making gains, recently he got out of his wheelchair to do squats at the end of five months. It should be on the front page of newspapers all over the world, but its not. Don’t you think that’s weird?

I am again on what my friend fondly describes as my “Soap Box.” “Your on your soap box again, get off it.”, she interjects. That is a problem I have. Oh well. I am grateful for the help, that is gratifying, I just feel guilty. Matt Embry put up a picture of Living Proof stickers someone at the Toronto Festival made for him for people to wear. I think if stickers show up tomorrow, I’ll put one on my forehead.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bubble-clean-clear-close-up-459104/