Archive for the ‘The joy of living’ Category

The interesting thing about blogging is that individual posts sorted by their categories can create a timeline of events that chronicle a life.  In my case I am referring to my previous posts about Multiple Sclerosis.  I don’t write about my life with MS often, but as I review my previous posts on that subject I realise that an update of my condition is in order.

Only four months ago I lived in a world of ever diminishing possibilities.  MS was getting the upper hand and I was rapidly descending into the netherworld of physical paralysis.  But in spite of it I was unwilling to give up the search for a way to stop progression.  I remember feeling somewhat belittled after reading my neurologists evaluation in June where he expressed surprise about my continued optimism to find healing.

Uncle Albert, putting it all into perspective!

He wrote:  “In spite of her marked decline from secondary progressive MS patient continues to explore alternative methods; she is still hopeful that her condition can improve.”

That was in June when my husband had to accompany me to my appointment because alone I would not have been able to navigate the ample corridors of the renowned medical center where I get my annual neurological checkup.

After that appointment, many things fell into place and my decade long search solidified into a true path toward healing.  And this is what happened:

I had been reading about the impact food has on people with multiple sclerosis.  Over the years I had encountered many personal accounts of how individuals found healing by changing their diets.  But it was not until I found Dr. Ashton Embry’s research, on his website www.direct-ms.org, that I saw a clear way to develop my own path that will lead me to regain my health.  Especially helpful was this article   http://www.direct-ms.org/sites/default/files/Embry-Darwinian.pdf.

Success finally came when I decided to have a comprehensive allergy test which included 250 foods, 10 food additives, 10 antibiotics, 10 anti-inflammatory agents, 10 environmental chemicals, 20 molds, 50 functional foods and medicinal herbs.  The laboratory which conducted the tests provided a complete report of my food and chemical sensitivities/intolerances in addition to recommendations on how to eliminate all problematic agents from my diet.

I implemented the recommendations immediately and was astonished by the instant turnaround in my condition:

Within three weeks of eliminating all allergens from my diet my bladder function returned to normal.  At week four the fine motor functions in my left  hand returned and I was able to voluntarily straighten my fingers. At week five I had a complete resolution of all bowel problems and my overall condition improved to the point where I was now able to be active a good portion of the day.   Today, only four months into the my personalized version of the MS recovery diet, all MS progression has stopped and I am able to take short walks outdoors.  I now know that I have found the way of healing; and for the first time in my twenty year journey with MS I look forward to what is to come.

Nothing can express the change in my relationship with Multiple Sclerosis better than the following metaphors.  I equate the first two decades of living with this illness as having a prowling tiger in my house.  I had to step lightly in order to avoid waking the beast; yet in spite of all my efforts, the beast could and would strike any time.

Now that MS is quiet and lies dormant, the tiger has vanished and in it’s stead the illness sits idle like the unused car in my garage.  I know now which foods turn the key and activate this dreaded disease.

Allow me to leave you with a blueprint for healing by giving you access to these life altering resources:

1.  For a full explanation of how and why the diet works please read Ann D. Sawyer and Judith E. Bachrach’s book:   The MS Recovery Diet, published by the Penguin Group, 2007.

2.  For complete nutritional information for people with Multiple Sclerosis see Dr. Embry’s website  http://www.direct-ms.org/recommendations.html and for recipes visit  http://www.direct-ms.org/sites/default/files/Direct-MS_Cookbook_0.pdf.

3.  Even though there are many ways to get tested for food allergies, I chose to get the complete test from www.Alcat.com.  It was expensive, but worth every dollar spent.

May this information become the bedrock on which you build your own path to healing.  Blessings to you all.

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Summer has gone and the Autumn is filled with harvesting the abundant fruit our young orchard has provided this year.  The peach trees suffered broken branches from the weight of the fruit and will need to be trimmed after the first frost.  The asian pear trees also were heavy with fruit but luckily the branches did not succumb to their heavy loads.

I have a neighbour who helped harvest the fruit in exchange of plenty of it for her own canning.  The surplus we distributed among friends, to everyone’s delight.

Sammy is enjoying the Asian pear harvest

The dogs happily participated in gathering the fallen fruit and all of them were eating their fill.  I was astounded to see how many pears each of them ate without any ill effect.  Even our Berner girl Sophia, who is famous for her touchy digestion, did not experience a stomach upset.

Sophia contemplating another pear while Lilly looks on

Now, all that is left to harvest are the Bartlet pears and the apple trees.  It will be a pleasure to accomplish that task in the coming week with mild weather and temperatures near 70 degrees.

Our own Hummingbirds left a few weeks ago, but there is still activity at the feeders as migrating Hummers stop to replenish their flight weight.  Only yesterday three more arrived from far North, settling in for a few days to enjoy the abundance offered by blooming prairie flowers and our freshly cooked sugar-water.

It is always bitter-sweet to watch these tiny travellers arrive in dire need of an abundant foodsource and see them settle in for a week or more until their flight weight is restored and they are able to continue the dangerous journey to South America where the lucky ones will spend the winter.

All to soon, the last of them will be gone, the feeders will be put away and winter will come.

Hummingbirds all a-flutter during courtship: How fluttering feathers can generate courtship sounds.

Hummingbirds catch flying bugs with the help of fast-closing beaks.

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The month of June has been busy here and a Sontheim update is long overdue.

The bird breeding season is in full swing and there are nests all around the house, in the bushes, in the trees, the meadows and in the prairie.  There even is a new swallows nest attached to the light fixture high above the front door.

Our hummingbird population has more that doubled with the first batch of fledglings that arrived at the feeders in mid June.  It is pure pleasure to watch these fat little jewels congregate for a drink of sugar-water.  At this stage in their development, the baby Hummers are very sociable.  Only later do they become protective of their turf.  I suppose there is a similarity to human behavior in that.  The Hummer moms are busy with their second set of eggs and will soon again have hungry chicks to feed.

Two days ago, before the big heat hit, we enjoyed a romp through the meadow.  Sammy and Lilly way ahead of Sophia and me.  My Berner girl and I could be considered slow-pokes when it comes to sprinting along the path.  And I watch with fascination when the dogs stop at their favorite places to chomp on tall leaves of grass.  And I wonder what Walt Whitman would have made of that.

Sam, the undisputed leader of the pack.

Now, that the tropical heat has us confined indoors there is ample time to sit at the computer and attend to our blog.

A big part of our recent silence is the effort it took to form a much-needed MS support group for our neck of the Wisconsin woods.  🙂 And I am happy to report that the group is well on its way to host monthly meetings that will commence in August.  Our website is up and the PR effort is in full swing.  But more of that later.

And speaking of Multiple Sclerosis, it is always good NOT to take NO for an answer.  Instead there is the YES I CAN as Janet Echelman demonstrates so beautifully through her art.


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A perfect solution to the vexing problems of  saving money, the environment and closet space.

What could be better???

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This is what I have been hoping for.  For a long time now Multiple Sclerosis has taught me to sit rather than to stand, to stumble and fall rather than walk; and all along I have been thinking of the construct of an exoskeleton that would return my ability to move freely and give me back my sorely missed independence.

Today, after watching Eythor Bender demonstrate his exoskeleton on Ted I am elated and filled with a new kind of hope. 

Could it be that a new kind of mobility will put this cursed disease in its rightful place and return to me the freedom to walk.

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Just for fun:


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We are thoroughly snowed in and I witness my dogs’ unbridled joy as the garage door opens and they fly out well ahead of me.  We have three feet of the glorious white stuff and we are expecting more as the year ends.

I back the tricycle out and follow them along the plowed path, camera in hand.

Today we are in Wonderland.  Shrubs and trees are coated with diamonds and the sun shows a brilliant face.

In this very moment happiness is all around und three jubilant dogs show me the way.

They run and scoop the snow into their mouths – to toss into the air – and some of it to crunch between their teeth before they slide it down the hatch.  The moment is magic and joy ignites the air.

A poem comes to mind, a poem newly read, by a poet just discovered through my daughter’s gift which I received this Christmas:

Halleluiah (by Mary Oliver)


Everyone should be born into this world happy and loving everything.

But in truth it rarely works that way.

For myself, I have spent  my life clamering toward it.

Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!


And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes almost forgetting

how wonderous the world is and how miraculously kind some people can be?

And have  you too decided that probably nothing important is ever easy?

Not, say, for the first sixty year.


Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,

and some days I feel I have wings. 


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