MY AUTO-IMMUNE STORY, in brief:
In August of 2014, I suddenly lost sight in one of my eyes. This was determined to be “optic neuritis”. After a series of tests, spinal tap, MRI, blood, etc. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Optic neuritis is very often the condition that brings MS to one’s attention.
In hind sight, I’ve had MS for many years, but have been very fortunate, with minimal symptoms which could easily be mistaken for something else. I was always healthy, so, the diagnosis was very much a shock, a totally unexpected part of my journey. I’ve been doing major research since then, reading everything I could, in books and online. As a result, I am treating my auto-immune disease with diet and supplements, and not with immune suppressing “disease modifying drugs”. I will write more about this in the future.
What follows is a collection of books that have been very helpful to me. They have helped me to decide how to treat this, to give me a better understanding of myself, and to give me hope and humor.
This experience gave me an introduction to the auto-immune epidemic, and the possible causes of the hundred or so different auto-immune diseases, of which multiple sclerosis is just one. My vegetarian, mostly vegan, mostly organic, diet seems to have helped me, and I am now even more aware of my food, as my medicine.
Recommended MS Resources:
I want to share this part of my journey, what I have learned, with others who may not have time or inclination to do this much research.
The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
This was one of the first books that I read, after being introduced to Dr. Wahls by a TEDx Talk. It was a good place for me to start, and I’m still try to follow some of her diet. Dr. Wahls was a practicing conventional doctor when she was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. She started on one of the disease modifying drugs, but was getting worse, becoming restricted to a tilt-reclined wheelchair. After doing considerable research, she changed her treatment, reversed many of her symptoms, and became able to return to long distance bike riding. Her new mission is to promote her protocol and relieve suffering with auto-immune diseases, especially MS.
A Guide on How to Eat Properly and Live a Healthy Life while Controlling, Reducing, and Eliminating the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
This was my next read.
The author, Daryl H. Bryant, did opt to take one of the disease modifying drugs, but does give a lot of advice about supplements and diet, and managing symptoms, some of which I have not found elsewhere.
I went to the local MS Society office and found some books by Dr Allen Bowling, who I was soon introduced to at a Rebif program/dinner. He is the Director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Rocky Mountain MS Center in Colorado and Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology and has written several books. Dr. Bowling’s first book here, “Dietary Supplements and Multiple Sclerosis”, gives detailed positive and negative effects of many supplements:
A MUST READ for anyone with MS:
MANAGING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS NATURALLY: A Self-Help Guide To Living With MS
(REVISED, UPDATED) ] By Judy Graham
Judy Graham was diagnosed with MS at age 26, so she has had a lifetime to experience different therapies, research and write the original in 1984, as well as this revised edition in 2010. It is a very thorough and well researched book on diet, supplements, alternative therapies, toxic overload, mental attitude, etc. *** I consider this a “must read” for anybody with MS.
MS and Your Feelings: Handling the Ups and Downs of Multiple Sclerosis
by Allison Shadday, LCSW
This book focuses on another major aspect of MS.
“…an MS diagnosis…changes your life forever…the news can turn your world upside down, All your previous assumptions and expectations are replaced with uncertainty.” “Shock is a human response that allows us to accept the unacceptable gradually, from a psychological distance, rather than being overwhelmed…..”
“After we’re first diagnosed, our belief systems are challenged and our trust in all we once knew is broken.”
Some more thoughts from the book:
“We tend to compensate for our losses. In fact. we become so skilled at adjusting to our symptoms,that we fail to objectively see changes in our abilities. ‘compensation is a great coping technique.”
“Eventually, you will begin to reshape your identity and establish a new sense of yourself as someone who has MS but who is not consumed by it.”
Supplements That I Take for MS & Health:
For Brain Fog:
This supplement is new for me. My neurologist recommended PhosphatidylSerine for memory issues, about a year & a half ago. As I had just started taking so many supplements I started taking only 100 mg a day, which didn’t seem to do much – taking 3 a day on top of everything else was too much. However, I started taking this 3x per day, or 100mg x 3 for 300mg per day & the brain fog has lifted!
One day I woke up and felt very clear and light, not weighed down – I hadn’t felt like that for a long time! I continue to enjoy increased mental clarity and reduced anxiety
Needless to say, I highly recommend this for anyone dealing with this common symptom. It is also good for anxiety and difficulty with concentrating, both of which I’ve been dealing with. After taking Phosphatidylserine and other phospholipids are structural components of a brain neuron, and phosphatidylserine is a component of the cell membrane.