What next?

The sound of steel chains clanking against wood, the feel of a breeze across my face on a sunny day, the sounds of carnival music and children laughing, the fear in the pit of my stomach as we slowly climb the first big hill of a new coaster that I’ve never been on before. Deep down inside, I know we’re safe, but, a horrifying thought, “There is the rare and odd case of a malfunction, like the one I heard of that shot a car of screaming patrons off the tracks and into a billboard sign killing everyone……or was that an urban myth?” “Oh my God, were at the top!” I can see the whole park and half the city from here. We creak up to the tippy top and just begin to crest where I see for the first time just how sharp and steep the trip down will be. Yikes!

This is a how I feel with my plans to hopefully rejoin the work force. I am slowly creaking up the big hill, more than halfway to the top. Most of the time, I am sure it is the correct direction, but that it must be slow, like the car creeping up the tracked hill. Counseling first, volunteer work next, then career counseling and finally the time will be to knock on doors of potential employment situations that will be best suited for me. That day will come when I crest the hill, tipping, and I take the literal plunge. A fleeting thought, “Oh my God, will my car break away from the steady, but fast guidance of the rigid tracks as I fly off and crash and burn!”

Truth is, I don’t know what its like on the other side of that hill, this is a new coaster ride. I do know that chances are infinitely slim that I will fly off the track, because the track I am on is a steady one. It is a well thought out, well advised, researched, prepared for and worked for track, most important is that it is a Higher Powered track and I have faith. I know that the ride will be exhilarating and rewarding. I also know that I will be frightened, but really, really happy too. I love roller coaster rides. Then there is the moment of the fleeting thoughts, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this?! What if….? What if….? And…..What if?!”

Someone shot down my greatest accomplishments in my life on my resume in the space of 60 seconds because they are not suitable to be on a resume. You will be prejudiced against, red flags will be set off with this word and that word. That goes right in line with old paranoia’s that I have worked years to grow out of. Self constructed prisons of, “What will they think?” and, “Who will take me seriously?” I have not had a conventional life, both my failures and my triumphs are controversial to some. Can’t talk about MS, can’t talk about the blog, can’t talk about 26 years clean and sober and all the accomplishments I’ve had with organizing successful events. I wonder if it is okay to list success in drinking events instead. I will not hide my entire life from anyone. I bring all of me or none at all. I said that in college and I wrote honestly and I received nothing but the greatest respect from my teachers and my class mates and one A after another on all my written papers. I said then, “I bring all of myself or nothing.” I will not live a pretend life of safety that was never my real life. My life has been a roller coaster ride that I am not ashamed of. Some of it does belong on a resume. Because I earned it. If someone will prejudice me for that, than why do I want to work for anyone who thinks like that.

Bonne Sante

All or Nothing? I Pick All.

When I tackle something, I have learned through the years of my life to bring all of myself or nothing. I am an open book. Following the Wahls Protocol and how I am defeating MS is no different. My goals for this blog have been:

  • To help keep myself motivated and accountable
  • To provide a detailed record of one person’s healing
  • To inspire others
  • To give a truthful account, good and bad
  • To share helpful information and shortcuts that I have learned
  • To give a realistic account that does show how hard, yet how doubly rewarding this has been and is
  • To prove that its all worth it

At this time, as I have written in the past few blogs, I am rehabilitating in preparation for the workforce. I will have a job that fully utilizes all that I have to offer. Too be successful, I have had to look at some tough to swallow truths about myself. I have written about these as I deal with them. Is it wise to publicly speak of a crippling past fear of success, of horrible wreckage at the hands of MS, of darker issues that I have worked very hard to successfully overcome, thereby preparing me for a one hundred percent commitment to the Wahls Protocol?

Fear….what if a future employer reads about these issues and discriminates and I lose the opportunity for this job or that? Here’s my answer to that…..I bring all of myself or nothing. That includes any future job on my horizon. My learned skills, my experiences, and my wisdom comes with me. I once lived in a self constructed prison, terrified that the world would know where I’ve been and what I’ve done and that secretly, deep down inside, I knew you knew that I was worthless. It has taken me a long time to overcome that. Today, I have so much to give, so much I want to learn, and so much to share. Because of the Wahls Protocol, my body is finally catching up to my ambition and drive to help others. My mind is out of the fog, awake and hungry to learn more.

I had a friend in the early 90’s who had Progressive MS. She was diagnosed when she was 18. She managed to complete her degree in education, but was never able to realize her potential in her chosen career. By 26, just as I met her, she lost her right to drive, her husband left her for someone else and she then had to let go of her position as the primary caregiver for their three year old son. She was athletic, she went to the gym five days a week. A tiny, muscular thing. She strained as she forced her spastic legs to walk, her hands shook uncontrollably and the day she messed herself, but then calmly gave us direction to help her, all of us embarrassed for her, whilst she stayed calmer then us all. I think often of her courage and dignity in the face of all that ugliness.

That year a new drug, the first ever, was introduced. Copaxone. I watched her face light up with a renewed hope, only to see it fall just a few days later when she was told that the drug could do nothing for her as she was Progressive. Well Joanne, I just want to say to you, I have relapsing remitting MS and I have been on Copaxone for ten years. I started the drug when I had 20 lesions and now I have double that. I too lost my ability to drive, lost my ability to work, had incontinent bowels and had to give up primary care of my children. So, my dear friend, you missed nothing. She died a few years later, bedridden. When I was diagnosed with MS in 2004, I immediately thought of Joanne. Terrified, having watched what it did to her. If she had been given the knowledge that I have been given, she would’ve jumped on that band wagon in a heartbeat. She was far more disciplined than I am. If she’d known that Dr. Swank had published his 30 year trial on MS and diet with astounding results around the same time as the release of Copaxone, she’d be here telling me about the new exploits of her now adult son.

That’s why I have a responsibility to share my experience, strength and hope and that includes the dark stuff. So anyone afflicted with not just MS, but other autoimmune conditions, can have a chance to take control of their own health again or even better, prevent themselves from ever developing one of these diseases. This is my personal journey, and like all journey’s, though they may be the same road, each will be its own.

My success is in memory of Joanne.

 

Bonne Sante

 

Picture from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-background-beach-blue-296282/

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

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

A puzzle worth solving

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bonne Sante

 

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

Another Big Day

Sleepiness is away. This is what I ate today:

unnamed
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
unnamed (1)
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

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

 

Picture from UnSplash: https://unsplash.com/photos/CpUgwcQn_SA

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