I have mentioned before that my husband of 4.5 years was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I wanted to share a little of that story today 🙂
June of 2010 my husband got new glasses. They worked great and were only $9.00 so he was pretty stoked about them. By the end of the summer he continued to complain about his right eye being blurry. It seemed likely it was due to the cheap lenses… after three doctor visits however, they said that they were noticing some swelling of the optic nerve in his right eye and sent him to the specialist. We were shortly sent to Lansing, Mi to a neurologist there. Everything was happening really fast and we were blind sighted when the neurologist came back to the room and showed us the image from the MRI. There were multiple “white spots” or lesions in his brain (you arent supposed to have any). In order to be diagnosed with MS you need at least 2 “episodes” or “flare ups”. The blurry vision was #1 – optic neuritis – and the MRI showed #2 – multiple lesions. Probably for the first year of the diagnosis it felt more like a dream than real life. His vision had returned to normal and he was experiencing no other symptoms. It was easy to put the diagnosis to the back of our minds, and that’s what we wanted to do. Not that we were trying to be in denial or trying to be irresponsible. We did though, want to live our lives and not be paralyzed by this news. It didn’t really work, however, and we just went through the motions.
A few months later we got him set up with a daily injection medicine called Copaxone. Seth had to give himself a shot each night and rotate the location as to eliminate scarring or nerve damage. They did warn us that the main side effect was “site injection reactions”. Seemed fair to us since a shot was involved…. still better than risking his liver with the other meds offered and having to get that checked out every 6 months.
Three months into it, Seth was done. Even with the tricks of the trade he was still in a lot of pain from the shots. He was grumpy each evening: before his shot in anticipating it, and after his shot all the way until he was asleep. Needless to say, I hated watching this happen to the man that I had come to love so deeply. I did not put up much of a fight when he stopped. They were expensive, painful, and it was a toss up as to whether or not the drugs worked anyway.
We went back to MSU and this time we got a different neurologist – one we were not impressed with AT ALL! His advice to Seth was “clean the inside of your nose with your pinky finger, and do not eat at McDonalds”. While these might be good things to do – – – they were not the guidance we were hoping for.
We had a friend who went to the MS clinic at Rush in Chicago and they were having tremendous results…. so after months and months of waiting for referrals and dragging our feet. We finally met with Dr. Cho at Rush Hospital. We liked him immediately. He showed us the latest MRI with innumerable white spots on Seth’s brain and stated matter of fact “My standard is perfection” I start aggressive and then back off as needed. We need to stop this from damaging your brain further. Your brain is doing tremendously at compensating for now – but we don’t know how long it will be able to sustain this”
We enrolled in a newer drug regime where Seth goes 1x/month for 2 hours and gets an iv with Tysabri medicine the first hour, and saline the next. This year is the first time he has had an MRI with NO NEW lesions! Amen?! Yes…..
Now, one could argue if he would have had no more lesions even without the medicine. I don’t know – only God knows the intricacies of this disease. But for now – we praise Him.
There’s always a catch though right? This drug has only been on the market for 7 years. It has the potential to be fatal if Seth was to contract a specific virus (I can’t remember the acronym for the virus right now). That means he goes every six months for a blood test to make sure he does not have the virus, and he gets routine MRI’s.
Enter Gary Levin. Gary is a doctor in Australia who has been prescribing MS meds to his patients for years – but not anymore. We’ve heard a lot over the years of how diet can influence MS and other autoimmune disorders. It’s always intrigued us, but with our fast paced lifestyle, eating anything was a miracle – let alone preparing and planning! haha. As we kept reading the book (we actually haven’t finished it yet) God started changing our mindset. We are not health nuts. And honestly it makes me laugh to think we are considering a vegan diet. (A raw food diet is the recommended diet but that was too hard for us at this time). So December 31, 2012 we emptied our pantry and fridge of everything that had animal products in it and began this new adventure.
We said we would try it for 1 month. I think it was totally God changing us – it was not a difficult switch at all! We felt 100 times better with more energy after the 1st day. When asked, we say that we are “vegan-ish” or “vegans at home” We’re still in transition and don’t want to be a burden to anyone when we go out (also, if were at a restaurant… why buy a salad I could make at home? haha) So yeah… pretty radical switch that we have not regretted in the slightest. Then month ended and we have embraced the 80/20 ratio: 80% plants 20% anything else. It’s not perfect – but its a start. Its something fun we get to do together too. And now I don’t have to cook meat! So our meals come together much quicker which is nice for this momma!
Anyway, just thought I’d catch you up on our newest endeavor 🙂 Let us know if you have any advice for us in this… we’re the new kids on the block for sure.
We’re not sure how this will affect Seth’s medicines or not. We meet with his neurologist the day before we fly out to Boston!