Enjoy what is

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.”

It could be worse.

 

Bonne Sante

Stick with the winners

I am forever seeking people who work at and are successful in bettering themselves. Whether it is to be drug and alcohol free, smoke free, spiritually fit, physically fit, or healthy from MS. Whatever it is that I must face and work to be rid of, I seek out winners in that specific issue. Right now in regards to the Dr. Wahls Protocol and my journey to heal MS, I pay attention to those who have successfully followed a healthy lifestyle and put their illness in reverse. When I see this, I watch, learn, listen and do what they are doing. If I want what they have, then I need to do what they do. What I don’t do is put them up on a pedestal or make them different from me by comparing with statements like this, “Oh, they are special and I could never be like that.” or, “They have it easier and they have money, so its easier for them”. These are nothing but excuses to quit. This is what I utilize when I get negative. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I love that psalm from the Bible. It has gotten me through all kinds of situations that I was terrified of and didn’t feel I was capable of doing, deserving of having or good enough to be included in. I’ll give an example.

I have had the opportunity to go to college, but at one time I had a seventh grade education. I got my G.E.D. at age 33 and went to college at 43. I am a recovered alcoholic and sobered up when I was 28, 26 years ago. Several years into my recovery at age 32, I was inspired to start a sober festival, very much like a “soberstock”. Six months into the footwork for this I spotted a three day grant writing course in a Daniel Webster College brochure that didn’t require a high school diploma to attend. Our mission was going to need funds and backers. Going to that course was scary for me. I hadn’t been in a classroom since I was in the 7th grade. That grade I was suspended six times, missed 83 days of school and got straight F’s. I guess, technically, that means I had a 6th grade education.

The first day, I asked God for help and marched in. I picked up a folder in a pile of them, then oohed and aahed over the nice pens and paper and tin Daniel Webster College book mark. We sat and the teacher began her monologue. An hour into it, there was a constant reference to “margins” and “fonts”. I stopped her several times to explain what is a margin, what is a font….? Embarrassing. There were four of us taking this course. One was a woman there on behalf of a school district to write a grant for computers for them. A man who was a Social Worker on behalf of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. And a woman on behalf of Camp Heartland to write a grant for children with aids to go to summer camp. And me, for the Half Moon Sober Festival, something no one ever heard of. We hadn’t even had our first event yet. It took everything I had to walk back into that room the next day. When I pulled up, I stepped out of the car and opened up the back door to get my folder. While I did that, I got on one knee like I was searching for something and asked God to help me, saying my favorite saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

That day we were instructed to write our grants that night and bring them in the next day. I wrote my grant out and brought it in. I quickly noticed the beautifully typed and clean grants the others created. I looked at my pathetic lined paper, handwritten, chicken scrawl complete with crossed out words and sentences. We were then instructed to grade each other’s work. Thoroughly and completely humiliated, I got through it. But, miracle of miracles, I learned how to write a grant. I found someone with computer skills to set my words to paper carefully following the layout instructions of the grant writing instructor. The first grant we applied for, my proposal got us an invitation as one of only 10 invitees out of many that were denied. Out of that ten, only five would be selected for the grant. This was not a huge grant, but for us it was. Five thousand dollars annually. A fair amount for a small grass roots non profit in 1995. They complimented me on the grant. I was the only one there who wasn’t collecting a pay check from the non profit they were representing.  After a presentation we won the grant and a number of others with that same basic proposal.

My confidence was so bolstered by all of this, that I finally made the decision to go for my G.E.D. Afraid that I was as stupid as I usually felt and was assumed to be, I was amazed when I passed the practice G.E.D with marks in the 80’s and was directed to go ahead and take the test, which I passed. I put that off for ten years out of fear and lack of confidence. Ten years before that, I had an appointment to take the test. But, the day of the test, one hour before, I chickened out. Ten years later, “Higher Powered”, I was doing things and facing things I never could before, all because I thought I had God with me. Feeling empowered and not alone. I find that if what I do serves a purpose, then the doors open up. It doesn’t matter to me what other people believe. Its none of my business, I respect other people’s beliefs. This works for me.

Doors have opened up for me to get well from an incurable disease. Am I being cured by God? Not really. Am I working my %ss off? Yes. Am I doing the footwork, reading the books, following the examples of the “winners” before me? Yes, yes and yes. However,  day in and day out, I turn to a Higher Power for fortitude and strength. Maybe its the belief that I am a woman acting as if a loving, powerful entity is behind her that does it. Who cares what it is, its working!

Speaking of winners, in reference to the Protocol, specifically. I was involved in starting a support group for people with MS. This was just before starting the Protocol. I had a very powerful message from a one time attendee, Matt Embry in remission over 20 years, who spoke of a lifestyle like Dr. Wahls. Dr. Wahls began her research with Matt Embry’s father’s research. I started the Wahls Protocol straight away the very next day. My focus switched to that of wellness. The group’s focus was on the disease. Not where I want to be. I quit the group and joined The Wahls Protocol Facebook group, bought books, and watch for others successful on a natural diet, whether its Wahls’, Swank’s, Emery’s, Jelinek’s, whoever. I am on the look out for examples of success with this diet. I have had bad moments (which I am honest about here), but that’s where my Higher Power comes in.

I read another example of success in my Facebook feed today posted by Matt Embry. I’ll share this interview for you here:

http://www.msdietforwomen.com/living-well-ms-24-years-interview

Very inspiring example!

 

Bonne Sante

 

The Lobster Man

I checked my bank account for the fortieth time thinking, “Is it there?” It never was, six months and it still wasn’t there. A single mother at the time, I had to make an emergency move due to my eighteen month old daughter’s consistent illness because of a basement apartment and very old rugs and moss. My US tax returns were due to be deposited in my bank account and I felt confident that that would take the pressure off the extra cost of the move. We moved into a nice place and my daughter’s health returned to normal. But, the tax returns never deposited. It threw us into a financial vise. I obsessively checked the account often to no avail. Six months later the phone rang. It was my aunt informing me that my mother with advanced diabetes had pneumonia and that my brother and I needed to make a decision to let her go. I was living in New Brunswick and my mother was in Massachusetts and I had no money. I called the bank for the one hundredth time, I heard the recorded voice say, $1,028.00. That was my tax return. Two things were amazing about this, one is that it happened just in time for this, fore if I had had it sooner, it would’ve been spent. Two, I wasn’t surprised. Why did I know it would be there? Because deep down inside, I knew I needed to be in Massachusetts. That it was those cliche sayings people say they hate to hear, “It was meant to be.” and “God makes no mistakes.” Its easy to say, that one freak accident means nothing, possibly true, but this story is full of freak accidents and that adds up to something.

My young daughter’s father took her for two weeks and my eleven year old son and I left for Worcester, MA. I drove a three quarter ton truck with a cab on the back, a Chevrolet Silverado. Halfway to Worcester I blew a tire. We made it to the side of the highway. It was August and I was wearing a dress. I looked miffed at the big spare tire bolted under the truck. I had no idea how to change a tire. I didn’t own a cell phone. In the those days, especially in the rural area I was living in, cell phones were unusual. After watching car after car blow by us for forty five minutes. I told my son that I was going behind that tree to talk to God and ask for help. I just needed to take that extra step to connect and got on my knees. I finished and had just reached my son’s side when a pick up truck pulled up. A man and his daughter, the same age as my son, got out. He had a vanity license plate that said, “The Lobster Man”. He had an easy way about him and after setting me at ease, he set to work. It took him 30 minutes to pry the tire that was secured with rusted bolts to the undercarriage of the truck. Even if I knew what I was doing, I didn’t have the strength to do that. I felt bad that it was taking so much of his time. When he was finished, I tried to give some money, but he put his hand up and said, “Absolutely not, its my belief that what comes around, goes around. One day, when I need it, it will come around to me.” I asked for help and God sent me The Lobster Man.

In Worcester, my mother had been non-responsive for several days. Yet, when I took her hand, I said, “Mom, I’m here.”, and she squeezed my hand. After speaking with the doctor it was clear that her prognosis was horrible. Even if miracle of miracles she made it out of her distress, she wouldn’t last and would suffer. Her body had blown up like a whale because her organs were shutting down. The decision was to take her off of life support. We waited to notify everyone. Immediate family stood around the bed. My mother’s cousin told humorous stories of their teenage exploits. Soon laughter filled the room as everyone jumped in with a story. We were so engrossed in the memories that we hadn’t noticed the nurse at first, she repeated, “Excuse me. She’s gone.” My mother’s cousin had a tag with a Catholic saint on it that she pressed into my mother’s palm. As she closed her hand around it she animatedly said, “There’s your ticket Mae, your all set to go, you got your ticket!” That was that, she was gone.

She had made it clear for what she wanted for her funeral arrangements with us a year before. She did not want us to spend money, she didn’t want a wake. She wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes spread over the ocean off the coast of Salsbury Beach. We honored her request, but we had a Memoriam. We rented a VFW and put an announcement in the paper. My mother is the polar opposite of me. She was effervescent in personality. She bubbled over with a positive gaiety that most people who met her loved. She was tall, statuesque and had Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows. She dressed elegantly always. Never saw my mother in a pair of jeans. She had carefully styled hair and make up and brightly colored polyester suits. I am a more serious person in personality. I have to work at being lighthearted, whereas for my mother, it was second nature. We wanted to celebrate her life. We wanted her Memoriam to be full of life like she was. We played her favorite music, BB King, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams and displayed pictures and momento’s of her favorite days. I dressed up in a brightly colored fuchsia blouse and black polyester slacks and I did my make up. I flitted and greeted everyone, then sat with a table of women that my mother had worked with at a bank twenty years before and they swore to God that they were sitting with my mother. For that day, I was my mother.

When it came time to take care of her ashes. I was there for just a few more days before I’d have to return to Canada. We set out to Salsbury Beach. We thought the State Park was not a swimming area and would be best to go where the rocks are craggy. But, we thought we should sneak in after the park closed. It being a Saturday night in August it was packed as we drove from the public beach area and amusement park to the State park. It was around 9:30 pm. We got in, my brother, his wife, my son and his two kids, thirteen and fourteen. My mother was in a paper bag. We found the right spot, my brother took Mom to the edge of the water and after we each said a few words, he opened the bag and swung his arm out in a big wide arc to distribute her ashes out across the water. But, just then a big wind came out as waves crashed blowing the ashes back at my brother, some of it in his mouth. Larry spat and spit and we laughed hard. Just then, the fireworks went off at Hampton Beach not far up the coast. This was all my mother. She loved the ocean, she loved fireworks and she loved to laugh. That was exactly how she would’ve wanted it.

My Aunt in Florida had heard of my trouble with the flat tire and she mailed me an old cell phone. She said that even though it wasn’t in service, that I could still call the police with it if I had to. I had the tire plugged and put back on the truck. The next day, we began our trek home. About 30 miles outside of Worcester, the tire went. But, I had that phone and it really did work, I called the police and told them my predicament and could they call my brother, which they did. He came and we bought a tire, then I drove home. I don’t care what anyone says, that whole trip was under divine guidance and nothing will ever convince me otherwise. I seek strength from a Higher Power that I choose to call God. I began this relationship 26 years ago and over the years, there have been many moments like these. I call on that same source of strength to help me stay the course with the Protocol.

I miss my mother, I always will. We know she made it to where she needed to go, because she had her ticket!

mom 3 mom1 mom 2

Love you Mom

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Angelsta Creation’s: http://angelstarcreations.com/wallpapers/salisbury1440.html

Waking up to the possibilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bonne Sante

 

 

 

 

As A Man Thinketh, So Is He

Super busy day today. Did a lot, got a lot done. I’m tired, but happy that I am well enough to be busy and just be tired, not dying. Of course I may be singing a different tune tomorrow, I am looking forward to exercise in the morning and coffee with a friend after. On a different note, I am going to physio on Monday, I want to ask if there is anything that I can do to improve the vertigo balance issues I have. They are neurological, can’t change that except to hope that what I am eating and not eating will improve it. When I am tired, the tight rope feeling is markedly worse. Before, when my walking was so bad, I noticed less the balance problem. I knew I had the damage, but now that my walking is so much better, I notice the vertigo much more. Therefore, it is not a case of it getting worse, just more noticeable due to other neurological problems getting better. I’m wondering if balance exercises could counter an off balance teeter with muscles that control balance might be a temporary answer. Other than that, I practice the belief that I am healed. From the beginning of my Wahls sojourn. The first thing I did was return to an old habit of burning sage morning and night and saying that I am healed as I draw the smoke over me and then “think” abundance.

As a Man Thinketh is a literary essay and book by James Allen,  published in 1903.           It was described by Allen as “… [dealing] with the power of  thought, and particularly         with the use and application of thought to happy and beautiful issues. I have tried to         make the book simple, so that all can easily grasp and follow its teaching, and put               into practice the methods which it advises. It shows how, in his own thought-world,           each man holds the key to every condition, good or bad, that enters into his life, and         that, by working patiently and intelligently upon his thoughts, he may remake his               life, and transform his circumstances. The price of the book is only one shilling, and           it can be carried in the pocket.” [1] It was also described by Allen as “A book that will         help you to help yourself”, “A pocket companion for thoughtful people”, and “A book         on the power and right application of thought.”                                                                                                                                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_a_Man_Thinketh

I was introduced to this book 24 years ago. It is a small little book with a big message. Emmet Foxes’ Sermon on the Mount and Around the Year with Emmet Fox are books that have greatly influenced me as well. Emmet Fox was a Christian Scientist who was a founder of The New Thought movement in the 1930’s. I am guessing that he and others were partly influenced by James Allen’s book above. I believe in this, when I start to shred myself and think impossible, then yes, the possible does become impossible and when I think that the impossible is possible, well then the impossible does become possible. I believe that this is what Jesus meant when he said, “The Kingdom of God is “within you”. “Within” means inside, “The Kingdom of God is [inside] you.” That, to me, is a clearly stated and unmistakable directive. It doesn’t mean that we are God, or that we are the Kingdom, it simply means that I have the Power of thought, which when rightly used (positive love) can build up and when badly used (negative fear) can destroy. If I am seen on the outside as strong, respected, educated, whatever, but on the inside I think that I am nothing, then I am nothing, because I will act like nothing. But, even if I am born on the outs, projects, uneducated, disrespected and prejudiced against, the outside world is telling me that I am nothing, but I believe that I am worth something, then I will be worth something. That is the Kingdom of God that I believe that Jesus was teaching about. If the Kingdom of God is inside of me, then I am with God everywhere when I remember to tap into it. I tap into it with thoughtful prayer and follow thru with hard work. “God will help you dig a hole, but you better bring shovel.”

On a side note it is important to explain that I do not consider myself to be religious, but spiritual. There is a big difference, while I respect other’s beliefs whether they be rooted in one religion that works for them, or they be atheist or agnostic, I practice the freedom to pray where I want, with whom I choose and in anyway that moves my Spirit. I have moved freely within many different churches, faiths, cultures and morays. I respect them all, they all had something to teach me, if I close my mind to only one way to reach the “inside” Kingdom of God then I will rob myself of the lessons I can learn from other walks of life and belief systems. What I described above, the power of thought, I am thinking day in and day out that, “I am healed.” And I am backing that up with action to heal myself. And its working. If I did the Wahls Protocol with the constant thought that, “This won’t work” or “this isn’t working” or “I say it is working” to myself, but I don’t believe the statement, then I am still thinking that it isn’t working and so it won’t. Because, you see, I really am what I think.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-hand-over-white-background-316465/

 

 

 

Powerless? I think not!

I have my neurology appointment tomorrow. I’ve not seen my Neurologist since just before I began the Protocol. My last visit with him was an emergency visit because of an attack I was having and after three visits to the emergency room with excruciating back pain and a bad fall, I realized I was having an attack. My walking had deteriorated significantly and really had been getting progressively worse year after year. I had walked with a cane for four years, but now I needed a walker, even at times in my own home. The Doctor told me to take only half a dose of steroids. He was worried about what it may do to my bones where I have three fusions in my neck. I asked him for muscle relaxers. For me to ask for that, things are bad. I’m not big on taking drugs if I can help it. I chose to not fill the steroids script and took a half dose of muscle relaxers at the prescribed times. On day two of this, I was slurring my speech, sleeping hours during the day and drooling on myself. I said, “F@#k this!”, and started working towards what I knew was the answer all along having been introduced to the Wahls Protocol two years before. I saw the wheel chair and the motorized scooter looming ahead.

Three weeks after that I started this blog to help me stay on track and be accountable. I considered naming the blog “F@#k this!”, but thought that might detract from what it is actually about without an explanation in the title. So, Defeating MS – My Journey became the title, it says it all. As many of you know, I’m off the walker, then the cane. My mobility has improved back to what it was five years ago and gets a little better everyday, I’ve lost 34 lbs and my cognitive damage has improved dramatically as well. So, I’m going to see my Neurologist, who hasn’t seen me since all of this occurred. He’s been a good Doctor for me. I’ve had support. They know what I am doing and he sent the scripts and paperwork I needed to do Wahls electrical stimulation and physical therapy for my leg. He could’ve said no or charged me money for the paperwork. I have no resentment with him. The system, though, is too inundated with medication as the only resort for autoimmune illnesses. Someone debated with me not long ago, who is in the medical field, she argued the tired defenses that you can’t truly test if the Wahls Protocol works because you don’t know if their sticking to it and even if you do tell people, they won’t do what’s good for them. I agreed, that’s true in regards to the second point, but maybe 25% of them would if they at least knew that this exists and that it works. People need to at least know that this is an option and it comes with no ill side effects. And in answer to the first point, Wahls has suggested that they record their progress. Wahls Warriors she calls them. They are filming, writing, and blogging. Living proof they are. No its not a double blind study which costs millions to do. Right now the backing isn’t exactly there, but the testing is happening. Dr. Wahls is a published research MD aside from her Protocol, Autoimmune Wellness AIP are in the midst of research testing as is Dr. Jelinek of Overcoming MS OMS in Australia. Whether the pharmaceutical companies like it or not, it is coming.

Alright, back to my Neurologist. I keep side tracking the original thought. I have no idea what his reaction to any of this will be. I stopped my Copaxone about a month ago, they know that. Will it be indifference? Will it be interest? Might he be excited about my progress in the other, unexpected direction? Will he try to talk me into going back on Copaxone? No clue! I have a had an MRI confirming the attack. It showed two new lesions in my back, the year before, lesions were developing in my mid back. Scariest is the conversation I need to have with him in regards to seeking support and therapy to become ready to try working full time. I want to try this in five months, I understand full well, it may not be possible for me to ever work full time because of fatigue. While fatigue has diminished greatly, it is still around and must be factored in. My hope is that it will continue to get better. Then there’s the fact that I am 55 years old. Glass half full: I have at least ten years I could work, glass half empty: I am 55 and have MS, Wahls or no Wahls, like it or not, it is a major factor. I am confident I could work a little part time job. I have been considering doing this right now to help offset costs of the diet. This diet with supplements is costing me $500 to $600 a month. Ordinarily, $300 is what I spend on groceries and household a month. It’s a heavy amount on a small fixed income with no other source of income.

I am of this belief: Nothing is impossible if it is meant to be and you work hard for it. How do I know its meant to be? Well, the healing for one. I feel like I’ve been in some ways, frozen in time, unable to move forward. I feel free to once again work for future goals like school or work or non profit work. I have hope, when once I didn’t.

I am no longer a powerless victim of this disease.

 

Bonne Sante

Another Big Day

Sleepiness is away. This is what I ate today:

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Midday meal of Baked chicken thigh with coconut oil, Cajun sweet potato fries baked with coconut oil and a cabbage, onion, and carrot Cole slaw in a balsamic/olive oil vinegarette
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Dinner, fried cod with coconut oil (two pieces instead of none for the second meal), sauteed broccoli with garlic and onion in coconut oil, last of spinach with pepper, cabbage, radishes, almonds, onions, and carrots in a vinaigrette. 

Look at these meals, poor me, I gotta eat this! I expect this food in a good restaurant. These are the types of dishes I am eating most days, factor in smoothies and bigger salads, with chia seed pudding from time to time for a treat. Chia seed recipe:

  • 3 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup fresh fruit (I like strawberries or blue berries or both)
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • dash of salt and a 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Mix together and let sit for 1 hour or overnight. Awesome stuff!

Another big day, spoke with my Neurologist’s nurse today. She’s so good at getting back to us. We spoke at length. She filled out the form sent to my Doctor for physio, yay! Have to wait a week for my Doctor to be back from vacation to sign it. Then that should be good to go. I reiterated that I will not be renewing my Copaxone prescription. She warned me that I might not be able to get back on it if I stop. She’s right too, in Alberta, they require you to have two MS attacks within a two year period to be approved for a MS drug. Even if you’ve had a dozen attacks and dozens of lesions, and have taken the drug before. Its an odd criteria, I am aware of it, I had to wait for a second attack to hit to get back on Copaxone after having been on it for three years. Copaxone has proven to me that it does nothing, while the Wahls Protocol has proven to me that it does far more than Copaxone can barely claim to do. So, I’m done with it. My mind is made up. And the third biggie in the conversation, was going to back to work in five months. I asked to have support. I want to see my Doctor, not a student of his so that I could speak to him of the fact that I am terrified to go back to work. Fear of the rug being pulled out from under my feet again. I have safety nets in place now that I stand to lose, namely subsidized housing and disability. The last time, I ended up homeless, bankrupt and lost primary care of my daughter. Yes, its a frightening prospect. I need all the help I can get! And so, the next five months my job will be to get ready to work, physically, psychologically and logistically. Spiritual disclaimer: “If it by Thy will.” I am on this planet to live it to the best of my ability.

Important to remember, that as I move in this direction, it does not mean that it will end the way it seems that it will, with a job and that I will be okay working thirty-five to forty hours per week. I may find that the best I can do is twenty hours a week or less. I won’t truly know till I settle in. In the mean time, I will do everything I can to be prepared. Hopefully, after a few months of rehabilitation and counseling, I’ll then pretend to work, by scheduling full days of work. I’ll set pretend hours and begin to build my schedule and life around the loss of those hours. That will help give me a clue whether its possible. And after a month of that, then I will begin applying. Of course, by then, I will know the best occupations to strive for, I will know what I can do and can’t. I already have a good idea. And, given the remarkable progression of wellness I’ve had in seven short months, I believe that I should be in better shape then as well.

Friggin’ Scary! That’s how we would’ve said it in Worcester, Massachusetts where I was born and raised : )

 

Bonne Sante

Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels

 

 

Depression

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

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

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

 

Bonne Sante

 

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Tested!

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

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

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

So, big breath, what have I learned?

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

Most importantly….

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

 

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

 

Bonne Sante

 

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