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Another story of beating MS by a Seattle Swank fan March 19, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.

I was diagnosed in July of 1991 with relapsing/remitting MS. I had lost sensation in the fingers of both hands, and I had tingling in the hands and toes and a numb face and neck. The doctor who diagnosed me was less than gentle, he said “Well you either have a brain tumor or MS, but we won’t know until the MRI results come back on Tuesday.” It was the Thursday before a long July 4th weekend, the longest four days of my life! When the doctor saw the MRI results he handed me some pamphlets, wished me luck, and said “You’ll need to prepare for life in a wheelchair.”

The year after diagnosis was rough — dizzy spells, foot drop, double vision, deep depression, divorce, discrimination at my job of 10 years. I took a two week course of prednisolone for the double vision. Other than that, I have not been on any meds. There were no MS specific drugs at the time. I did try marijuana, although it was somewhat effective in relieving bladder spasticity it left me with a dry mouth, heavy fatigue, and lethargy. (Dr. Swank even mentions this in his book.)

Dr. Swank was putting on an informational seminar sometime around the summer of 1992 here in Seattle. The information was intriguing. I signed up for a consultation at his clinic in Portland, became a patient and traveled there twice a year until he retired. I adopted his program as a lifestyle more than a treatment. Doing so allowed me to take control of my health, becoming an active participant in life rather than a victim of disease.

After just a few weeks on the Swank MS Diet, my vision cleared up and my balance returned to near normal. After two years, my tests were coming back in the normal range. I have had no major problems since then and my most recent MRI showed only very small lesions in just a few places. (At diagnosis there were dozens, and one was the size of a quarter right on the top of my spine.) I have been in remission since 1993.

Recently I switched jobs and have found it impossible to take the mid-day nap Dr. Swank recommends — other than that I follow the recommendations in his book to the letter. Over the years I’ve slipped a few times, such as while on vacation or at a family holiday gathering. (After 17 years some of my family still do not get it!  I usually bring my own food.)

I am 45 years old now, have a five year old son who keeps me busy in the evenings.

I’m not completely symptom free, but have learned to live with the few quirks the disease brings, like a super active bladder and occasional fatigue. Although not currently doing it, I did bi-weekly injections of vitamin B-12 for several years.


Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2008 Rebecca Hoover

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1. Helen - May 26, 2009

I found this message encouraging. I was dx in 1993 and did pretty well until this year. After my first major flare in March 09, I must now use a walker and I have no sensation in my fingers. I’ve been reading Swank and so far I completely elminated dairy,red meat and animal fat from my diet. While I wait and pray for improvement, I am open to suggestions on putting diet into action. Any suggestions, recipes or informational sources?

2. Rebecca Hoover - May 27, 2009


Thanks for your comment. I’ll send you a personal email in response. Hang in there. It has only been a couple of months since March 2009 and it often takes about six months to recover from a flareup. This varies, of course. Take good care of yourself–this helps the recovery. Bed rest is especially important.


3. Optimism – The Wonder Drug « Man on a MSion - May 25, 2010

[…] And it also seems really unlikely to me that George Jelinek, Rebecca Hoover, Julie Calder and others on the Swank diet all just happen to have mild cases (and if you read their stories, some did not […]

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