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Another great story shows it’s never too late to start beating MS with ultra healthy living August 11, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS, Uncategorized.
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23 comments

Diagnosed with MS in 1986, Mona Sen spent 22 miserable years struggling with MS. Then she discovered neurology Professor Roy L. Swank, M.D., and her life turned around. She is another person whose story shows that it is never to late to start getting healthier with ultra healthy living. Whoa! Mona Sen is looking healthy, happy, fit and younger than her years too. Notice the great sparkle in her eyes!

Since I started writing this web site, individuals with MS from all over the world have written to me and told me how ultra healthy living has opened up a world of possibilities for them. Here’s another story from Mona Sen:

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My story I’m sure began like many other people’s. I was diagnosed in 1986 at age 20. What does a 20-year-old do but listen to the powers that be which in my case included my parents and Harvard medical school. I went along with huge doses of steroids, lithium, lumbar puncture and the whole bit. I really think I suffered needlessly for many years. My diet was ridiculous — standard fare including dairy, saturated fat and processed foods. Who knew?

I continuously got a little worse over the years. Went to graduate school got a master’s in occupational therapy of all things and continued to deteriorate. I had been on Betaseron since 1995 and had a “hypertensive” episode with stroke level blood pressure in 2005. I knew I never wanted to be in the ER again.

I survived all this and felt a change in thinking coming on. In 2008 I had another episode and in retrospect my diet consisted of lots of saturated fat. By this point I was on disability. I then discovered LDN by accident and my mobility was pretty much by scooter. I fought with my own neurologist and then found a doctor friend who gave me a script.

That was the beginning of my journey. After starting LDN in 2008, I discovered Dr. Swank. His book is a fixture in my kitchen. I stopped all toxic medication. Right now I take LDN, mind my food intolerances, use my WalkAide to build my muscle strength and wear a small but flexible brace which is more comfortable. I have gotten rid of that standard ankle foot orthosis (AFO) brace. My leg strength is better even with the foot drop and I’ve started walking again for exercise and fun.

A low-fat diet, LDN, a hell of a good attitude, a sensible schedule which includes rest, a multivitamin and a new zest for life is my recipe for success. I have been exacerbation free since 2008. Oh and everyone says I look great!
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When I asked Mona Sen if she would tell her story on this web site since it would be helpful to others, she wrote back: “Rebecca, of course my story can be used. I am exhausted trying to get others to listen, even people in my own MS group! I am not working anymore and my time is my own. I see this work as part of my ‘mission’ and life’s work!” Isn’t that true for many of us? Once we learn that eating right and the basics matters, we are out to save world! I love it! If we don’t change the world, who will?

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 your with 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 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Sizzling with multiple sclerosis (MS) – what it’s like to beat MS January 9, 2012

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Diet - the right diet for MS, what you need to eat, Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
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11 comments

An ultra healthy living program for MS seems to be working like the fountain of youth for Julie. Now in her mid-40s, Julie looks cuter and cuter by the day. What’s not to like about living ultra healthy?

From time to time it’s fun to check in with our ultra healthy living friends with MS. Julie previously wrote last in January 2011 for The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Beating Multiple Sclerosis. Now a year later it’s fun to check in with her again. Here are her words:

It’s been about a year since I last wrote and I’m happy to report that I continue to go year after year without a relapse or any worsening of symptoms. In fact my symptoms get better and better as the years pass and now are all quite minor.

My main symptoms before I started following an ultra healthy living program for MS were fatigue, foot drop, balance problems, taste problems, tremors of the hands and an overactive bladder. I was also over-anxious and very sensitive to temperature (hot and cold) and I had eyesight problems (double vision). Most of my symptoms were solved by going on George Jelinek’s diet, but I still had foot drop and bladder problems. My eyesight problems cleared up completely in 2010–I no longer need to wear glasses at all. I was diagnosed in September 2004 and I started the diet in 2008. I have now been on it for three and a half years and I have had no relapses since I started, plus my last MRI scan showed no progression at all and no active lesions. I started taking low-dose naltrexone (LDN) a year and a half ago (March 2010) and I really think it has added even more to my recovery. The bladder is no longer as overactive and my foot drop has gone completely. The fatigue was reduced by the diet and reduced further by the LDN.

Over time I have changed what supplements I take. Here’s what I’m taking now:

  • Vitamin E, 400 I.U. per day (recommended by Bob Lawrence, my LDN doctor who says this is the best way to combat CCSVI, rather than surgery!)
  • Cranberry 5,000 mg (to combat bladder problems)
  • Selenium 200 micrograms per day (anti-oxidant and anti-cancer)
  • Magnesium 300 mg (for extra energy)
  • Vitamin D3 5000 I.U. per day
  • Vitamin B12 1000 mcg per day
  • Zinc gluconate 75 mg (also at Bob’s recommendation – this keeps my blood pressure up)
  • Chromium (400 mg) – to regulate my blood sugar levels
  • 4,000mg super strength EPA & DHA omega3 fish oil (this is at Dr. Tom Gilhooly’s recommendation – he’s hot on omega3 requirements for MS patients)

Apart from that I try to stay pretty close to Dr. George Jelinek’s diet, but I still allow myself eggs (as mayonnaise) and chicken. I have increased my seafood intake a lot (I usually have crayfish and rocket sandwiches on brown bread for lunch). Plus also, of course, I take 4.5 mg LDN – this really helps to regulate my immune system – it has really calmed down my overreaction to dairy products. Of course I still avoid milk, cream and cheese like the plague, but on the rare occasion when there is a tiny amount of milk in something, which I don’t know about, I no longer suffer from dire consequences!

 ——

That’s the news from Julie and it is great to see her looking and doing so well. Just so others know, I personally still do not take any drugs for MS, not even LDN, and I personally take few supplements. I personally take fish oil, vitamin D3 (about 3,000 I.U. per day but this varies depending upon the results of my last test), calcium 1,000 mg per day, vitamin B12 250 mcg two times a week), vitamin B6 100 mg once a month) and B1 100 mg each day. Vitamin E I get in abundance from raw sunflower seeds, selenium I get from eating nuts, and zinc I get from eating a couple of oysters each day.

I was happy to see Julie report her success with zinc some time back so I looked for a natural source and found oysters. I find that the dizziness I experienced when getting out of chairs quickly disappeared after I started eating a couple of oysters each day.

All in all, ultra healthy living wins new supporters each day. When we see reports from Julie, Jelinek, myself and many others who no longer have relapses, healthy living become more and more attractive!

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 your with 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 2012 Rebecca Hoover

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Another story of beating MS–from England January 20, 2011

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
43 comments
March 2009 photograph of Julie Calder at age 43--taken 11 months after starting an MS diet.  Julie says she believes the diet not only helped her get rid of MS symptoms, it also improved her appearance.

March 2009 photograph of Julie Calder practicing yoga at age 43--taken 11 months after starting an MS diet. Julie says she believes the diet not only helped her get rid of MS symptoms, it also improved her appearance.

From Julie in England: I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) on September 4, 2004, but I had been having symptoms since about September 2000. My first symptoms were tingling in my fingers and toes and a sensation of sunburn down my right leg, for no apparent reason. These were dismissed as “probably a virus” by my primary care physician. In subsequent years, I suffered from inexplicable tiredness, which I now know was MS fatigue.

In 2003, I had problems with my vision and I was diagnosed with “convergence weakness” and given eye exercises to do — these did not seem to help much. By this time, we also knew that my sister had MS and her case was severe. She had been hospitalized, had temporarily lost the sight in one eye, and was finding it difficult to walk. This was when I started to research whether MS was genetically related or not and I discovered that I had about a 1 in 40 chance of getting MS, because my sister had MS.

Next I experienced dizzy spells and hand tremors; and I saw a specialist. He did not think I had MS (he thought it was myalgic encephalomyelitis, also called chronic fatigue syndrome) because I could still walk in a straight line and stop my hands from shaking if I concentrated hard enough — for a few minutes, anyway). I asked him to order an MRI scan–he agreed “just to set my mind at rest”. Later he said, “you could have knocked me down with a feather” when he saw the white areas of demyelination on my brain scan. I had to pester him for the result of my MRI, and I eventually received my MS diagnosis–over the telephone!

My eyesight seemed to improve of its own accord, but I started losing my sense of taste, which was very strange and a bit worrying. Also, I was under a great deal of stress. My Mum was ill with lung cancer which upset me a great deal, because we were very close. It was while I was going back and forth to Manchester to see her in hospital that I realized that I was suffering from a new symptom — foot drop! This meant that I had a noticeable limp and I was no longer able to walk long distances. My eyesight became weaker again, but only for a few months.

To cut a long story short, my Mum passed away in January 2005, at age 62. My Dad, my two brothers, my sister and I were all devastated. Sadly, my Mum’s death seemed to send my sister with MS into a downward spiral of many relapses followed by incomplete remissions. My Dad never got over Mum’s death, and he subsequently passed away less than two years later at age 69, of pancreatic cancer.

To add to my stress, two days after my Dad’s funeral, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and he was operated on just before Christmas, 2006. From the beginning, however, he was determined to fight the cancer; and he inspired me to fight my MS. We had a difficult time while he went through six months of chemotherapy, but we survived to tell the tale and I remained stable.

It has now been just over two years since my husband’s operation and his most recent CT scan gave him the “all clear”. Needless to say, we and our three sons (ages 15, 12 and 10), are feeling a lot happier and we are all enjoying life again!

My MS, however, continued to be problematic. Then, last year, I came across George Jelinek’s book; and I was impressed with his well-researched ideas about diet and how to live your life to “take control of multiple sclerosis”. I have been on his diet ever since. My first improvements, after starting his diet, involved reduced fatigue and less anxiety. Prior to starting his diet, I often felt anxious — worrying about day-to-day things — very much out of proportion to the likelihood of them actually occurring. A few months after starting the diet, I actually felt my spirits had been “uplifted”. Before long, I also realized that my foot drop was considerably reduced and I had loads more energy! My balance problems and problems with hand tremors also disappeared almost completely. I was thrilled.

Six months after starting the diet, I realized that I was not taking enough Vitamin D, so I increased my dose from 1,000 IU to 5000 IU; and wow! It was as though I had taken another quantum leap up the scale to good health! I have now been on the diet for 10 months, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with MS.

I should mention that I do exercise and this helps me feel strong and the exercise addresses specific problems. For example, I swim about once a month, do yoga once a week and do exercises every night to strengthen my ankles and feet.

I am trying to persuade my sister to go on the same diet, because she is now able to walk only with a walker. I think my suggestions are starting to get through — she is now taking Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, but probably not enough yet.

Here is a summary of what I take each day:

Methyl B-12 1,000 mg

Vitamin D3 5,000 IU

Vitamin B complex (contains 2 mg Vitamin B6, and 200 mg of folic acid),

Omega-3 from fish oil 1,000 mg

15- 20 ml flaxseed oil

1, 200 mg soya lecithin (I take this to keep my brain as healthy as possible–this is the result of my own research and is not based on George Jelinek’s recommendations)

Amantadine (This is a Parkinson’s disease drug, which is given to some MS patients to help combat fatigue. It works in about 60% of cases and it certainly helps me. However, the real fatigue breakthrough came when I started George’s diet. By the way, amantadine is also an anti-viral, so I get few colds.)

Here is a brief summary of the dietary rules I follow:

  1. Eat absolutely NO red meat, however I still have chicken (breast only) about two times a week–this is more in keeping with Dr. Roy Swank’s diet (Dr. Jelinek suggests no meat, except fish, at all).
  2. Eat lots of fish, especially mackerel, tuna, salmon, lemon sole and prawns (yum!).
  3. Eat absolutely NO dairy products, not even cheese if I can avoid it. I use soya milk with my cereal in the mornings (porridge with apple and raisins, usually). I eat brown bread with seeds on top.
Julie Calder often cooks tasty ultra healthy food with a wok.  Her family benefits from eating right too.  Photograph taken March 2009.  (P.S.  Notice how cute Julie looks--a good diet does that!)

Julie Calder often cooks tasty ultra healthy food with a wok. Her family benefits from eating right too. Photograph taken March 2009. (P.S. Notice how cute Julie looks--a good diet does that!)

To accompany the fish or chicken I eat, I have rice, pasta or potatoes and whatever vegetables I fancy, usually broccoli, cabbage, carrots, mange-tout, and onions. I sometimes saute or stir-fry vegetables with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, or bake them in the oven after coating them with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil first.

I also eat absolutely loads of tomatoes and red and green peppers, especially in my Italian-style dishes. I add tomatoes to my curries, along with cardamon, cumin, garlic, chilis, and peppers. To my Chinese-style dishes, along with baby sweet corn, I add soy sauce, ginger etc.

If I need something sweet, I have either alpro-soya yogurts or alpro-chocolate or caramel desserts. Alternatively, I have fruit with either alpro-soya cream or non-dairy ice-cream (Swiss glace).

For snacks I have fruit or Mrs. Crimble’s low-fat ginger cake or Dutch apple cake, or oat bars with cranberries and apple.

I love cooking and I have never once felt deprived.

If you met me, you would not know I have MS—I am much healthier than I was before I started following Jelinek’s and Swank’s recommendations. I still have MS (for example, I still experience foot drop after walking a couple of miles) but I also now have hope. I believe that my children will be glad their Mum is taking care of herself. My improved health makes life much easier for everyone.

Julie Calder

With her ultra healthy life style, Julie Calder almost seems to beat aging as well as MS. Here she is in 2011 with her new puppy -- looking even better and cuter than she looked in 2009. (Julie is now in her mid-40's.)

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 2009 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags:  Diet, Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, MS

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.
3 comments

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.

SeattleSwankFan


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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Another neat story: in her 70’s and still beating MS February 16, 2009

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
7 comments
the way to beat MS is to follow a healthy low-fat diet, rest when needed, exercise and have goals.

Stories from all generations point the way: the way to beat MS is to follow a healthy low-fat diet, rest when needed, exercise and have goals.

Julie Calder introduces this story: Doreen is a wonderful woman who is in her seventies, very strong and an inspiration to me. I first spoke to her when I was starting the George Jelinek diet–we compared notes and found similarities.

She strongly encouraged me to stick to the diet. I have never forgotten how she told me that when she was first diagnosed, she could not even walk to the end of her garden, without having to crawl back and that her doctors were ready to confine her to a wheelchair! She told me it was after she changed her own diet to a low-fat diet and made other lifestyle changes, she started recovering.

Nowadays, she walks for miles with her dog, Murphy, nearly every day. Just recently, she phoned me to tell me that her doctor had said that she had “cured herself”. She described herself as “the lady who used to have MS”.

Here’s her story in her own words —

I am not going to list the symptoms of MS, we all know those and it is not helpful to raise agitation in those already suffering from them. Neither am I going to list seemingly endless supplements as these are very expensive and not everyone is able to afford them. True, I took Vitamin E, B complete, lecithin, blue fish oil and had an injection of B12 once a month for many years, and no doubt derived much benefit.

I avoided all meat, dairy products, sugar, white flour and all processed foods. A diet which we would all benefit from following.

My MS was diagnosed over thirty years ago in the Maidavale hospital in London by the then leading neurologist in the country–Mr. Henson.

I had hitherto led an active, very public and professional life and the years that followed were filled with feelings of isolation and desolation. I remember one day standing alone watching a little stream flowing under a bridge near my home and I prayed aloud that a friend might be found for me and that friend proved to be the catalyst for my total healing.

This is a story that was to span over thirty years. She was/is a yoga teacher and together we met the fear, despair, frustration and everything else that goes along with this debilitating condition.

I had never experienced unconditional love before, i.e., love that first gives and asks for nothing in return, and it was this love that set the wheels of healing in motion. Today, I have forgotten all about MS and am fitter than I have ever been in my life.

“And there remain three things. Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is Love”

I struggled with an exercise bicycle twice a day, practised my yoga and found a balance between rest and exercise. I sought the help of the late Ted Fricker — world famous healer and kept my eyes forever fixed on simple goals. On my darkest days I refused to believe that I was beaten. I knew beyond doubt that I would once again, walk my dog. Today, we think nothing of five miles.

It takes a lot of effort and a lot of courage, but it can be done. I did it and so can you.

Doreen Kirby

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 with consult 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 2009 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags:  Multiple Sclerosis, MS, Diet, Exercise