I was diagnosed with MS in 2005…one short year after getting married. Obviously, our world was rocked. Thankfully, my getting diagnosed wasn’t a drawn out ordeal like it often can be. One day I woke up with double vision and (thanks to my awesome hubby for not taking no for an answer on the phone with healthcare providers), a few days later I had a diagnosis.
The first two questions out of my mouth to the neurologist were: “Am I going to die from this?” and “Can I still have children?” The short answers were no and yes. I was satisfied. Still freaked out for sure, but satisfied that there was hope.
I immediately began taking Rebif, which my neurologist said was the the best option. One year later, after experiencing tons of random symptoms and feeling generally off, my mom had had enough. I trusted what the doctor told us (that Rebif was the best) so I figured we had no other better options. My naïvety at that time is almost amusing now! Thankfully, and unbeknownst to me, my mom and aunt discovered and researched something called Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) while I was busy having drop-me-to-the-floor-in-pain spasms.
I bought in to LDN immediately, and after a search for a doctor who would be willing to prescribe it (since it’s not considered an official MS treatment), I began my journey with LDN. Fast forward to 2018 and I’m still happily taking it. LDN has given me my life back.
It seemed too good to be true. I didn’t change a thing except for stopping Rebif and beginning LDN. I ate tons of junk food back then, not even thinking about what I was putting into my body. I’m appalled when I think back. But I took it and felt great through two pregnancies and nursing two babies. Pregnancy three came around and I still felt great until I got a terrible sinus infection right when baby was due. Natural treatments weren’t cutting it – onto antibiotics I went (which I hated). Soon healthy baby #3 came into our lives and I went downhill fast. I’m talking several months of debilitating spasms. There were days I couldn’t change position at all without having a spasm. Tricky business when you’re supposed to be parenting your 4 year old, 2 year old, and newborn. We couldn’t have gotten through that time without amazing family and friends stepping up and seeing us through. Seriously, they (and my husband) deserve awards.
And that was the end of my LDN bubble. Apparently it wasn’t a magic pill after all. But did it still work? Yes. There just happened to be a perfect storm of poor health/hormone shifts/sleep deprivation/stress, and LDN wasn’t enough. So now what??
Food as medicine. Who knew that what you put into your body affected how your body would feel/act? Somehow I had missed that memo. Or maybe I was in denial. Either way, it wasn’t long before I was having food allergy testing done and being very deliberate about what I ate and drank. Turns out I have a handful of food sensitivities. I feel best when I eat mainly vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meat. I did the Whole30 and I felt better than I ever had in my life. Confident in my overall health, even. I’m not as strict now, but at least now I know how to eat right for my personal optimal health.
It can be- no, it IS- stressful and overwhelming trying to eat perfectly All. The. Time. Even when you know the benefits. So I do my best and hope for grace. Last November I started feeling the weird spasms-are-on-their-way feeling in my leg on and off. After an appropriate amount of time to freak out in my head and worry about the future, I got down to business. I perfected my diet to the best of my ability and took all the extra supplements my awesome naturopath recommended. It never got bad (thank you Lord!), but it did take awhile to go away. Too long, in my opinion. But what other option did I have?
CBD oil. This is my new find, my new hope. I started taking CBD about six weeks ago and have for sure noticed a difference. The thing about MS is that you can never be really, truly sure what is helping since symptoms come and go as they please. But if nothing else, it has helped with the anxiety that accompanies symptoms. The anxiety can get so bad it actually triggers more symptoms, so I can say with confidence that it has improved/disappeared. Time will tell what other benefits it offers.
With MS, there are always new treatments being discovered. Hopefully in the near future there will even be a cure. But for now, I’m taking what I can get. Ultimately it’s my faith in a good, gracious God that gets me through. Having him by my side in the pain and in the good is better than both LDN and CBD. I’m thankful he led me to them, but I’m even more thankful to have him with me each step of the way…through all the years of trial and error and through the (no doubt) many more to come.