A year ago this week I decided to take a new direction.
I was fresh off a really bad exacerbation of my MS and was in a bad place.
My exacerbation had caused me to have some serious balance and coordination issues. I had numbness in my face and hands and I could not balance or even attempt to stand on one foot.
When this happens, your neurologist tends to reevaluate your current medication. The medications for MS up until recently have all been injections. Every day, I would get up and give myself a shot. It never got easy, I never got used to it and I hated having to see myself do it for the rest of my life.
I was informed that I should go on a drug that was a bit riskier than the one I was on. It was an injection that I would have to take every other day and it had some pretty scary side effects. It could potentially damage my liver and it caused a large amount of people flu-like symptoms that included aches, pain and fever for usually about 24-36 hours.
Potentially, I would spend my days battling more pain and fever until my next shot when the whole cycle would start over again.
I sat down with my husband one night and said, “Enough is enough.”
My quality of life sucked, I was already in pain and exhausted and I didn’t think I could handle much more.
I told him I was going off all the MS meds.
I had looked into my options with the MS drugs and didn’t feel like the benefit outweighed the issues that came along with them. I decided along with my doctor that I was going to treat my MS a more natural way.
I looked into some recommended MS diets and found one that fit me. The first thing I did was eliminate all red meat from of my diet. This wasn’t a huge step for me because I had never been a big meat eater, but there are days I miss bacon.
I also started upping my intake of what they considered good fats like fish, olive oil and avocados.
The next big step was getting off the processed foods. I committed to making more of our food from scratch (like breads) and eliminating store-bought canned goods.
It has not always been an easy process, but I enjoy cooking and nothing tastes quite as good as homemade.
In addition to the diet changes, I also started doing my own version of physical therapy. I would stand in the shower on one foot and hold on to the hand rail. It was a very slow process, but after a couple of months I got to where I didn’t have to use any support for balance. It was an amazing day when I could look at myself in the mirror and know that I was doing something for myself besides pumping me full of drugs.
I have really seen a change in the way I feel. I no longer fall asleep driving to work in the morning and I feel like I have more energy across the board.
I now feel like some of the things I attributed to MS really were side effects of the medication I was taking.
I know this is not something that everyone who has MS can do or will condone. There is a lot of fear to go against the norm of treatment and what that might hold for you.
And is this a cure for me? Sadly no. I still deal with the fatigue and pain associated with MS, but it is at a more tolerable level. This is, at most, a solution for the here and now.
I don’t know what tomorrow or even the next year will bring for me. I don’t know if I will have to resume medication.
I do know that today I can handle what MS is to me right now. I feel better and that is the most important thing.
I can be a mom and a wife at a level I never thought I would be at again. I don’t ever think I will be the person I was before my diagnosis, but I am OK with that.
I feel like I am in control of me for the first time in a long time.
And that feels good.
Kristi Davis is married with two sons. She blogs regularly for fruitamoms.com.