Posts Tagged ‘Multiple Sclerosis’

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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I’m sure you know of the man who was named “Dr. Death” because of his bold battle to bring the choice of physician assisted suicide to the terminally ill. 

As a person living with Multiple Sclerosis, and hence living with a very uncertain future, I have a deep interest in the topic of  ‘dying with dignity’.  I consider the act of ending my life at a time of my own choosing as a basic human right which no religion, state or government should be allowed to take away from me.

Of course, people commit suicide every day in the US and around the world.  And I have always thought that it is usually a desperate act, prompted by helplessness and suffering that simply is too much to endure.  But ending one’s life as an alternative to suffering the unending ravages and unbearable pain of a devastating illness, is in no way an act of  desperation. 

In fact, it is an act of courage and should be supported by society the same way we have long accepted euthanasia as a merciful alternative to the unnecessary suffering of a beloved pet.  Only here, with physician assisted suicide, it is the human being him/herself who determines IF and WHEN to die.  This is the complete opposite of a decision that many fear may be made by a second party on behalf of someone who cannot express their wishes.

In a previous post about how “To live and die with dignity” I shared Craig Ewert’s courageous story of how he travelled to Switzerland in order to find the assistance he needed to die his way and at a time of his own choosing.  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/suicidetourist/

It seems clear to me that anyone who is brave enough to watch the documentary of Greg’s struggle with ALS and his final decision to die, will also witness the strength and the dignity of his final choice.

However, it is not the premeditated dying that is important here, but rather, it is the legal CHOICE people ought to have, that matters.   Even if the right to die were well established and acknowledged by the power of  law, not everyone would choose this path. 

My favorite example of such an individual is Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist, who has clearly chosen to live in spite of having lost his body to the devastating effects of ALS.   

In his case, no  financial or scientific means are spared to enable him to continue his work.

He also is an inspiration to me and I admire him for his straight forward and unsentimental way of looking at life.  In his recent book “Grand Design,” he says: “There is no heaven or after-life …, that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”   He also states that he is not afraid of death, but adds: “I’m in no hurry to die.  I have so much I want to do first.”

So there you have it: more food for thought. 

I’d like to close by thanking Dr. Kevorkian for his committment to human dignity and by posing the following question: 

What gives a society the right to deny any person a choice in determining how much suffering is enough?  And WHEN and HOW to die?

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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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I don’t often write about the devastating disease that has me largely home bound,  but on a day when the simple task of taking a shower feels like climbing  Mt. Everest, I indulge in a little self-reflection.

True enough, Multiple Sclerosis has changed everything.   It has slowed me down, has taken my strength, and step by step it is wrestling mobility away from me. 

So today I climbed Mt. Everest and afterward the dogs and I ventured to the great outdoors.  With the snow melting steadily, it was crucial to get out and scoop the accumulated poop.  While I carefully guided my electric bike around the yard and frequently stopped to pick up the thawing unspeakables, the dogs joyfully bounded around, miraculously avoiding to step into any of it.

Since my forced retirement from business, the internet has become an indispensable companion and unlike my beloved dogs, this companion needs neither outdoor potty breaks nor frequent pettings.  And that is a good thing when fatigue rears its ugly head.

Of course, no computer could ever compete with a lovable Bernese Mountain Dog.

Meet Frost, the Berner pup who will steal your heart!

But back to the topic at hand.  For me the internet is a miraculous door to the world.  A door which I open every day and step through to participate in world affairs.  From my seat at the computer I have been able to connect with like-minded people, such as the Bernese mountain Dog community.  The picture of puppy Frost is a perfect example of the friendships that have come about because of the internet. 

Another example is the community of bloggers which I joined a few years ago.  A community that has brought a sense of normality back to my secluded life.   I dare say that some of the bloggers who interact regularly by commenting on each others posts are an indispensable part of keeping in touch with others and avoid social isolation.  A perfect example of such interaction is the pleasure I receive from Teresa Silverthorn’s blog:


And there are wold events, such as the shifting sands in the Middle-East.  Primarily through Al Jazeera Live I am able to step among the multitudes of people who have lost their fear of their oppressors. 


A most exhilarating time to see human history remake itself, as dictator after dictator teeters on the brink of justice.

And there are other communities,  the communities of people struggling with illness such as Multiple Sclerosis,  the communities of activists of all kind, the community of scientists, the community of people engaged in the creation of music and art, and so on…and so on…

And finally, the most important point about the incredible door that sits on my desk: 

I can close it at any time!  I can close it and pursue the other life that I have learned to cherish since Multiple Sclerosis has forced  itself upon me.  And that life is the one I never thought I would have the leisure to pursue, the life of contemplation, the life of quiet dignity, self-reflection and peace.  

And what could be better than that?

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2010 was an enlightening year which brought me clarification on many fronts. Most importantly it brought the joy of reconnecting and strengthening a family bond which had unraveled and become fragile over many agonizing years.   My loved one, in her wisdom, pursued a path of healing which in the end brought us together again in a connection that will strengthen and endure.

But 2010 also brought sadness at the early death of two dear friends.  You already know about Patti, whom I met through our mutual love for the Bernese Mountain Dog.  I wrote about her passing ‘A few days after Thanksgiving’.   I think of her often and wonder how our young friendship would have deepened over time. 

And there was Bob, my friend Cindy’s beloved husband, who died of a brain aneurism within a few days of Patti’s death.  While Patti’s passing came after many months of unrelenting suffering and can be looked upon as a blessing, Bob’s sudden death struck like a lightening bolt and was a shock to all.   Bob is remembered as a generous man who raised his children well, a man who loved his wife, a man who will be missed.

Here at Sontheim 2010 was an important year.  The dogs have settled in and become a closely knit pack.  Our newcomer Sam has become the undisputed, but gentle leader whose presence has brought out the best in Sophia.  Because of Sam, our neurotically shy Berner girl has learned to boldly go where she never went before.  Now, Sophia comes running to collect her share of hugs and kisses throughout the day.  And what a change that is from not so long ago, when I would have to corner her, in order to bestow some petting.

And now that 2011 has begun and last year’s snow has largely melted we are settling into Winter.  The air crackles with frost and the wood burning stove warms the house.  I think of the long line of  lovely people I have been privileged to know and wish a very happy New Year to you All!

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