Making Sense of Multiple Sclerosis

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006. Although my life has taken many twists and turns since then, I’ve kept my chin up with my own brand of spectacularly relentless optimism.

Recently though, after taking our first family vacation in two years, I was feeling a bit down. Prior to this trip I hadn’t been well enough get on an airplane and travel much, so my husband and the boys had been vacationing without me, which I fully supported. I don’t think it makes sense for others to be deprived due to my limitations.

However, when we returned from our trip, I wasn’t feeling awesome. Some of my symptoms had increased and I felt somewhat anxious about that. I felt grumpy that instead of working out to feel good, I was digging myself out of a hole. It doesn’t really make much sense on a rational level, and yet, a lot was stirred up within me. I think travel does that to many people whether we’re dealing with chronic health issues or we’re in perfect physical shape.

In any event, to clear my head, I went down to our basement to have some quiet time. I wanted to move and stretch and do gentle yoga. As my mind cleared and my anxiety died down, I was filled with new feelings that were not familiar to me.

In my typical world outlook, everything has a reason. Even the smallest events have meaning, and my life is filled with purpose. But, for a few minutes, I let that view unravel and allowed my mind to wander. As my thoughts moved around, I wondered, what if I have this illness for no reason at all? What if I’m sick and it simply sucks? What if there are no lessons to learn? What if this isn’t supposed to make me a better person? How can I make any sense at all of the damage this disease has done to me, and by extension to my family?

For a few short minutes I let myself feel the weight of having been diagnosed with this serious neurological condition that we refer to as multiple sclerosis. I let myself truly understand the reality of it. From that I finally permitted myself to utter a silent complaint, and I fully came to terms with the fact that I don’t enjoy dealing with the limitations, complications, and baggage that hitchhike along with MS. The worst thought of the bunch swimming through my head? What if I don’t get well? Ever?!

In those few minutes, with all of those questions splashing around the ocean of my mind, it was the perfect time to stop thinking and let the tears sprout from my eyes and splatter across my face.

Then something happened. In letting go of my iron-willed optimism I was able to grieve a bit, and it felt good to be sad. It felt congruent. I had let go of some stubborn determination which was covering up anger and more than a touch of perfectionism. I had admitted to myself, that I don’t like this. In fact, I don’t like any part of it!

I’m totally ready to let go of this disease if that can happen. I work towards that end every single day in everything I do, from carving out enough time for sleep, to eating well, and getting just the right amount of exercise, along with prayer and affirmation. At the same time, I’m also ready to deal with whatever comes my way.

I’m relieved that I’m no longer forcing myself to pretend that I’m ok with the burden of this disease, because there’s nothing ok about living with a disability like MS. It’s awful for me, in ways that I will not go into here. It’s equally rough for my husband and children. They are tasked with the incongruity of watching a loved one suffer from a major illness, while carrying on with the normality of their everyday lives.

Comments

246 responses to “Making Sense of Multiple Sclerosis”

  1. Hi Elana, I was just wondering what you think about Candida and sugar (all sugars and anything that turns to sugar) as being part of the culprit to Multiple Sclerosis? This as well as hidden allergies. I have been following as close as I can Ann Boroch’s diet from her book “Healing MS” as I have MS. I know changing my diet years ago has helped me out and when I would allow sugar or go off my diet, that’s when it would come back with a vengeance. I also have so many food allergies that I can’t use almond flour or many of the other alternatives and I find I’m hungry all of the time which doesn’t help with my moods or low weight. Thinking of you and wishing you well. Hoping 2017 will be a breakthrough year for those of us with MS!!

  2. I came across your blog 4 years ago only months after I was diagnosed with MS. I have found your blog to be such an inspiration and a source for great recipes. I have been sticking to a keto diet for the past few weeks and have been taking exogenous ketos and have seen a huge increase in my energy level. Every day at 2pm my body would shut down and I would need my nap but for the last 2 weeks since taking the supplement I have so much more energy. Would love to get your input and thoughts on a keto diet. I pray that you find strength to continue on your journey to better health. You are such an inspiration to others and have helped so many people find better health with all your valuable information. Best, Mira

  3. Wow. This post gave me a lot of hope and understanding. Sorry to hear about your illness. I’m 28 years old and was diagnosed with MS 4 years ago, and man oh man has it been a real struggle for me. I think following a clean diet is so important. I see 2 neurologist, one in Florida, and one in NYC (I live in Florida) one says do NOT ever eat red meat again, it’s the worst thing for MS. While, the other one says.. there is not diet restrictions towards MS. However, I can tell/feel the difference. I normally eat gluten free/no hormones “food” during the week, and on the weekends I splurge (still no eating red meat) just going out to dinner .. you really don’t know what it’s made of! and I can feel the difference. Anyways, this post gave me a lot of hope, and I’m going to follow you for now on, hope you don’t mind!

    Best wishes,
    Kristie

    • Kristie, thanks for your comment! I’m sorry to hear you too have MS, but am happy we are on this healing path together :-)

  4. Hi Elena,
    I am a big fan of yours. I have your paleo cookbookand I read your blog. I understand that you have done so many positive things to heal yourself. I just wanted to know if you have ever tried Dr. Gundry’s protocol. He has helped many with autominnune diseases. Please see his quote below to an answer regarding autoimmune diseases:

    Q

    Which autoimmune diseases are the most responsive to diet changes? What do you recommend?

    A

    I have yet to see an autoimmune disease that cannot be cured or put into remission by simple dietary changes and supplementation. In October of 2016, I presented a paper at The Pasteur Institute in Paris showing 78 patients with autoimmune diseases like lupus, Crohn’s, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and colitis who were cured by these manipulations. Autoimmune disease comes from the gut and is cured in the gut. If you have an autoimmune disease, treat your gut, and the “disease” will subside.

    Please check his website out!

    Best regards,
    Ann

    • Thanks Ann! I totally agree with you! I’m probably alive today because of the changes I made to my diet in 1998! We’ve figured out that there are around 200 zigbee relay chips (the exact kind that are in smart meters) in the smart house that we built. Needless to say, we are having them removed! For more on this please read this:

      https://elanaspantry.com/simple-steps-to-reduce-emfs/

      Thanks for looking out for me!
      Elana

  5. I think this time of year doesn’t help health in those with autoimmunes. I have an autoimmune and teach microbiome, diet and disease to others. I know the data (American Gut) finds that microbiome diversity increases at the holidays and that means we should be healthier, but I don’t really see feelings of increased health in those managing autoimmunes. I think the body is under a ton of added stress loading and health takes a hit at this time of the year. Emotionally – When attending parties, don’t you feel like you are in a fishbowl with all watching what you eat and drink? Mortality – Even though we are doing well, a sobering thought is the fact that the jury is still out on who will win in the end when we talk about the microbiome in those of us using diet and lifestyle for disease management. Another log on the camels back is this weather, at least for those that live in snow and cold. We use the outside to move, run, and strength train knowing the exercise/sun/D3 targets and ramps up our immunity and cellular metabolism. The microbiome responds and diversity increases outdoors (American Gut finding). Well, buckle up for 4 months of no sun and frigid temps challenging the primary health bomb of the great outdoors for many of us. Just keep on keeping because you know what you need to do to best support and manage the microbiome. Matter of fact, be extra supportive and kind to yourself given the hit it sees at this time of year.

  6. Hi Elana!! My daughter and I have followed you for years-our almond flour book is happily cruddy. Ali is celiac-we’re glutenfree 10yrs-grain free now (hx Lyme etc.) We use intuition for our health and have realized that what foods are helping or hurting changes according to where we are in our lives. We feel that paleo has too many eggs/animal protein-we adjust it. We strongly feel you are to revisit eggs-we can use up to 2 in cooking-none otherwise. This change just came to me at age 56.Also, we feel you need to look at the low-histamine suggestions-nightshades/shellfish/fermented food/vinegar/leftovers! Ten yrs ago undx Lyme (dx fibromyalgia)left me with MS/Parkinson sx’s. A wise nurse/bioenergeticist said “What would accepting that do? Change these things/foods”. I did. No more of that! Doing what it takes to keep the immune complex rx down is the key-don’t feel its genetic-food related. Email me if you want-used to be RN. Thanks again!!!

  7. I stumbled across your website yesterday while looking for paleo recipes without a lot of crazy ingredients, and I’m so glad I found it! I live with PCOS and an inherited heart condition. My cardiologist suggested I go paleo a few months ago and I have been struggling with it since. I found out about my heart condition about a year after my father passed from the same problem. I think when you are diagnosed with a chronic medical problem you go through the stages of grief similar to when a loved one passes. I was so angry at first, then I realized that life changes everyday and I needed to make the best of what I’ve been given. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it though. There are some days when I want to give up, but I don’t. So, thank you for sharing your journey and amazing recipes. Keep up the good fight!

  8. I’m so sorry that you suffer from MS.
    May I suggest that you check out Anthony Williams or Medical Medium :-)
    My life has completely changed after having a consultation with him & finding out that the main cause of my health issues is the Epstein Barr Virus.
    My Nurse Practioner refused to give my illness a label because it would be hard to get insurance & certain types of jobs.
    EBV is responsible for many diseases including RA, fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, Lyme, etc & certain cancers like breast cancer.
    Please look into it & sending you healing prayers ?

  9. This brought tears to my eyes. Can very much empathise as I’m going through a very dark time also, related to my health. I found myself pondering many of the questions you did. I believe what you are going through IS for a reason…For a start this post alone has reached and touched so many people through your online influence. You are so courageous. Don’t ever forget that and I pray God will continue to give you the strength to go through all that you face. Xx

    • Sue, I’m glad that this post resonated with you and I’m so glad we are on this healing path together :-)

  10. Elana, I first came to your blog by searching for “best gluten free cooking schools” and somehow stumbled upon your site. The title of this post caught my attention and as I read your story I couldn’t help but nod and empathize. I went through adrenal fatigue and it wasn’t until I truly let go of any expectation that I started to live life with a lightness that allowed for deep connection, not only to myself but to every thing and every one. Living with something that seems so debilitating is one of the toughest things we can do as human beings. I write about it on my blog and am currently on part 3 of the journey. I *truly* am glad to hear you had that breakthrough moment and pray for your health and happiness.

    • You might be interested in Dr. Joe Dispenza and Quantum physics double slit experiment both of which can be found on utube. Also an amazing book on “letting go” called The Phaselock code written by a geophysicist named Roger Hart. All have helped me on my path to finding my purpose; I know you will find yours.

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