Changing our world, one thing at a time.

Thoughts move through my brain at about a billion miles a second anymore, probably because I don’t recall like I used to. But, the thought for now is this: if you are looking for a way to take back control after any diagnosis, especially multiple sclerosis, try your diet. I decided to change over to paleo after hearing all the talk in the community, and talking with paleo converts over at NerdFitness. If multiple sclerosis is the result of an attack from the immune system on the nervous system, resulting in inflammation; and paleo reduces general inflammation symptoms by removing gluten, which is said to cause inflammation in the body; then why wouldn’t you immediately go paleo after being diagnosed? I asked myself this after starting down this road, and after a long space of forgetting my shots, I have no idea why not. But I should have done this earlier.

My son and I are both going paleo. The two of us and Abram (the very important dog) are all living grain-free. Both boys have already shown huge steps in improvement since going grain-free – both have ultra-sensitive skin, and were experiencing rashes up until 3-4 days after doing paleo (or grain-free, in terms of the dog). Now? All clear. I’m not proud I went five days without any medication, but I did, and was paleo the whole way. No reaction, no flare, nothing! How exciting is that? Also, So Delicious chocolate ice cream tastes like a Almond Joy without the nuts – greatest thing EVER when you’re recovering from a double tooth extraction and trying to come off painkillers. I’ve since heard about the AutoImmune Protocol (AIP) and don’t know that I could go that extreme on a whim, but if things were (or get) worse, I might be inclined to change my mind. I’m not willing to completely sign my well-being over to anyone other than my husband, regardless of how much I like them or the degree on their clinic wall. I’ve lost control of so much to this disease, the things I have left are precious to me – the couple of months when I was so debilitated I couldn’t pick up or put down my son from his crib were the most emotionally destructive days of my life. The removal of my ability to be a hands-on mother – hell, the ability to take a shower without someone checking on me every ten minutes – was so powerful that the emotions remain with me to this day, and will probably never leave me until I die. Remembering the helplessness I experienced for that (relatively) short time, I would do anything to keep control as well as I could of my own life and limb – and if paleo, or even AIP, is the way to do that, I’ll jump in with both feet.


My boy will always make me proud.

This wasn’t started as a self-aggrandizing “greatest Mom ever”, typical mommy blog – i started this as a way to reach out to other MS patients, and share my story as a warrior against MS, and as a mother to a young son. who is the absolute light of my life, and my husband’s life, too. Right now, my boy is learning snd exploring at an amazing rate, and I feel like a new mommy blogger as I type this. But I keep thinking of a cousin (by marriage) with two kids, the older of which has learned to be a whiny brat of a child when he doesn’t get his way snd only eats chicken nuggets, cheese quesadillas, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate chip cookies. How does a child expand as he grows, living on that? How does a mother allow that to perpetuate? He’s in kindergarten, and he eats 5 things! My son is 14 months old, snd he ate homemade meatloaf and sweet potato tonight for supper, with enthusiasm!

He has never had a soft drink (we can fight sbout that in a few years, since his grandparents are unapologetically addicted to Coke). I’m not anti-junk food, don’t get me wrong, but I want the best for my only son – especially as he has a predisposition for lactose intolerance, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, skin cancer, and diabetes.Which is the biggest reason he is my dietary partner in the transition to paleo – feeding my kid real food, with only slightly more work, and reap a great load of short- and long-term benefits for us both? Hell yeah! Any dedicated mother would jump on the chance to make their child’s life better, and that’s exactly what I’m doing, to the best of my ability. God has ensured that I cannot work – my MS gets in the way of seeing a screen accurately, type more than 50 wpm, or write clearly, not to mention I’d never know if I could make it to work day-to-day – so I’m dedicated instead to doing the best at my best job ever imagined as wife and mother. I’m not a great housekeeper, or chauffeur, or banking agent, but I am a good wife, snd a hell of a great mother. For right now, at his age, that means making sure that he is safe while he plays, and he gets the best at every meal.

I know that my son will always make me proud, because he been our pride and joy from the moment we knew he had been gifted to us. I know that even as he gets to an age where his fight for independence will get the better of him, I will still be proud of him. And it will have started with all-beef hot dogs, meatloaf, and sweet potatoes. You have to start somewhere.

Taking back control.

MS is an invisible disorder that affects so many things, and different things for so many people. I am usually fine, on the outside, which makes it hard for people to understand why I can’t read something, why I have a dog where most people don’t take dogs, why I carry my son (still, some say) in a sling or a backpack instead of in my arms, why I (sometimes) can’t speak or hear or walk. MS has affected me this way, though not always or every day. Some weeks I’m doing good to stand upright, or pick my son up from his crib, if I’m very lucky. Some months I can’t take two steps on my own without a cane, or a wall to lean on. For the past month, I have been able to walk fairly well, even feeling well enough to drive in a limited capacity (depending on the weather or the brightness of the sunlight). Soon, I’m going to start making a point of going to the range again, since I need to renew my CCL soon and I don’t feel I would be a terribly responsible gun owner if I didn’t get in some practice (especially if I actually needed to use my gun, and being married to a LEO).

Basically, my life has felt like it has rapidly spiralled out of my own domain since January, and I haven’t been able to get it back until recently. My first step in taking control of my life again was picking up my SDIT, Abram, from 5L German Shepherd Kennel in North Carolina (which, by the way, I will shamelessly plug as a source for anyone looking for an EXCELLENT family dog prospect, 5L breeds specifically for family-friendly traits and not for working/police attributes). Now my second step is to start transitioning to paleo; after all the posts I have been seeing on PaleoHacks and Facebook link-throughs (Cave Girl Eats, Civilized Caveman Cooking, PaleoHacks, NerdFitness) for auto-immune, I really feel like changing my diet is the best place to start before I start on an exercise routine too heavily.  At the least, if others’ changes are true, then I can at least bet on losing weight, at most cutting out potential flares or MS-related issues on a regular basis, if not permanently. Being that I intend to strength-train on the Bowflex and via bodyweight at some point, I think losing nonessential  weight would be the best option, in addition to cutting out the inflammatoryy response of grains.

All things told, this is my response to multiple sclerosis trying to take over and control my life by keeping me from doing what I want to do (driving, going out with my husband to supper or a movie or a park or the range). I will not allow a disease, that otherwise I cannot control and has no intelligence, to control MY life and my overall well-being. I am going to FIGHT like hell, and live MY life by MY rules. I will not live according to a disease!

Living with MS, a family, and a very important dog.

I was diagnosed with MS in January of 2013, after having our first child in June of 2012, and almost falling while holding him and trying to get in the truck almost eight months later. I was put on Rebif after my diagnosis (now Rebidose), have been through a neurological clinic and a specialist/internal med practitioner (who I have stayed with) to get an accurate diagnosis, and decent care for myself and my family. After all, my MS does not ONLY affect me, it just affects me DIRECTLY. I went through my first lapse in March. after a very stressful nonprofit event, and it lasted nearly two full months, where I experienced a loss of balance, mild vertigo, and optic neuritis . It was hell. trying to take care of myself and my family. I was released from physical and occupational therapy after (just shy of) three months, and I have been trying to work on my physical fitness and well-being with exercise and food – I’m looking at strength training slowly with a Bowflex we recently got, along with some bodyweight exercises, and of course, light extended cardio with our son and the dog. 

The dog. Maybe as much as I have mentioned the dog, I should explain how important he is (or will be). Abram is an 18-week-old German Shepherd (AKC) that we brought home with the intention of being a mobility and balance service dog for me, a nanny for our son, and a guard for all of us while my husband is on or off-duty. He came from North Carolina, and it was a huge trip for us to make (with rearranging my husband’s schedule and blah, blah). Even if he doesn’t “make it” as a SD, he will make an excellent family dog, and is EXTREMELY smart. In four days, he learned to “sitz,” “platz,” “fuss,” “hier,” and “revier” (sit, down, heel, come, and speak). I intend to put him through his CGC test before his ADA service clearance, which puts me at about a year’s difference, I would like to have him CGC-certified by 2014, at the latest. I will admit that having a dominant puppy and a son learning to walk, both about the same weight, is quite a thing.

I have another blog, 354 And a Half, that explains parts of my life a little closer to the vest, so to speak. You can visit there if my material here just isn’t doing it for you. This will be a walk through a MS patient for you, and a way for me to unload some of the stress MS puts on me. I haven’t been living with this condition as long as others, so I am always open to advice, suggestions, anecdotes, whatever; if you have experience you’d like to share. I’d love to hear it.

You can learn more about the two (known) types of MS, the treatments, and the general condition of others with multiple sclerosis on MS is an invisible condition that is not well-known; until the past 12-15 years, more advanced treatments (like Tecfidera, a medication as eye-opening for its oral application as for its non-interferon and non-steroid treatment of MS, unlike most standard MS therapies on the market) have emerged, which is tremendously exciting for people like me. Before even interferon-beta medications emerged, MS was treated with a standard application of powerful IV steroids, radiation therapy, and pain medication – the cause behind the disease was unknown and mysterious, so effective treatments weren’t available. I was lucky enough to be born in a knowledge boom (1985), so I can now benefit from the things they have discovered are reasonably effective responses. Being new to this condition, I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have – answering YOUR questions makes me a more knowledgeable patient.

I will apologize ahead of time, because my mental connections don’t always fire on the intended circuit. Sometimes I am irate and irrational, and I will do my best not to respond until I can get myself under control. Sometimes I am depressed and inconsolable, so I may be temporarily unreachable until I can pull myself back to reality. This is all new to me, but I would like it if you would take the journey with me. The unknown is less frightening when you have company.