Posts Tagged ‘Multiple Sclerosis’

It has been approximately 1 year since my first major onset of multiple sclerosis and a lot in my life has changed.  I would have to say though that it has all been for the positive. I remember at about this time last year my legs were completely numb and that feeling would spread all the way up to my chest.  I couldn’t get to bathrooms fast enough and would have to wake up at least 3 times a night to use the bathroom.  I was getting horrible migraines where the only time I would get out of bed all day was to throw up.  I was severely depressed to where I didn’t want to do anything or see anybody.  I remember 1 night where I woke up to find I had wet the bed (at age 31) and thinking “this disease is taking over my life this quickly”.  That was one of the more depressing times that I can remember.  I didn’t have a whole lot of hope after that.  All I could think of was wheel chairs and catheters.

Then my wife stumbled across Dr. Terry Wahls on the internet and everything has changed since then.  I started the paleo diet, I started exercising again, and I started eliminating stresses in my life and learned how to relax more.  With those changes I am happy to say that 1 year later I am feeling great!  I have minimal amount of numbness and I can usually pinpoint what has caused it.  I continue with the diet and am constantly working on improving what I eat.  I continue to workout and am currently in the best shape I have ever been.  I have dropped my running times from 9 minute miles when I started running 2 years ago to 7 minute miles currently.  I am signed up for a bunch of running races and triathlons this summer and I can’t wait for it to warm up so I can get outside.

One of the few times I ran outside this winter.

One of the few times I ran outside this winter.

It has been a long, cold, hard winter.  I think we had something like 45-50 days below zero.  That has made it hard to stay sane.  A lot of days stuck inside.  I tried to get out and run or snowshoe when I could but the weather just made it miserable if not dangerous.  I was able to stay fairly active thanks to my stationary trainer and my treadmill.  Very boring, but it helps with mental toughness.  Even with it being one of the hardest winters I can remember my health is 100 times better then it was a year ago.  So something I am doing is working.  This gives me a lot of hope for the future.  I am especially excited for this spring and summer.  We are getting more chickens for both eggs and eating and I can’t wait to get our garden growing and start eating foods from my own land.  I am also excited for the arrival of our third child come the end of August.  A little nervous though to have 3 year old twins and a newborn…

I read a couple of good books this winter and just yesterday started “The Wahls Protocal”. (http://terrywahls.com/about-the-wahls-protocol/) I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially anyone with MS or an autoimmune disease.  It really goes into depth about how our body works and how it uses the foods and nutrients that we put into our bodies.  Another good book that I recommend reading is “The Grain Brain”.  http://www.drperlmutter.com/about/grain-brain-by-david-perlmutter/) This one also talks about nutrition and how foods effect our bodies and how what we are told to eat today by the media, corporations and even our government is completely wrong.  (I’m not trying to get into conspiracies but I truly believe this and my health is proof).  It is written by a neurologist which I think makes it even more interesting because it is the one of the first books that is connecting foods/nutrients with every part of our body. Not just your stomach and intestines.

Well I hope everyone had a good winter and I will try to stay more current with my posts.

Thanks for reading!!

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A picture of my pup out snowshoeing the other day.

Well winter is well upon us and I am ready for it to be done. The holiday season was fun and filled with joy. I got to spend a good amount of time with my family and my children are old enough this year to have a good time Christmas morning which is fun for everyone, (Except that they got up at 5AM to open presents). I was able to stay with my Paleo lifestyle quite well since my family is adopting this lifestyle as well. I did however have a few cocktails and quite a few on New Years. We had a good time but I don’t think that alcohol is worth dabbling in. After the holidays were over my family was able to get back into our routine and that is when the winter blues set in.
My symptoms have come back a little bit since the holiday season. Nothing too severe but a little numbness and tingling in the legs and stomach. I don’t know if it is caused due to the alcohol that I drank, the couple cookies that I snuck, the cold that I have been fighting for over 2 weeks, the lack of sunlight or a little bit of all of them. Whatever the cause it makes me want to take care of my body and health even more. I am still amazed at how much exercise (or lack there of) effects my MS. When my legs feel very tired and the numbness comes back a good 3-5 mile run will make me feel almost 100% again.
On that note, to keep my motivation up I have signed up for quite a few triathlons and running races over the spring, summer, and fall. The spring ones especially keep me moving now because there is not enough time to train for them once spring comes. I have been doing hot yoga once a week and try to fit in another session when I can. The stretching is very good but more importantly the mental clarity and reset that I get from it is the biggest benefit. I also make a point to get out side when the sun is shining no matter what the temperature, (Although -20 Fahrenheit is pushing it). I am becoming a huge believer in the healing power of the sun. I don’t know if it is the vitamin D or just the warmth on my skin but it can instantly change my frame of mind.
In closing, winters are hard. They get a little depressing, the days are short and there is little sunshine, but I try to keep motivated and busy. I read books to keep my mind working, I exercise for fitness and to fight off the MS. You have to keep on keeping on, and just think, without winter spring wouldn’t be as exciting!!

Thanks for reading

I’m Back!  It has been a while since I have written so here is just a quick post.  Things have been good but very busy with work and the holiday season.  It has been 9 months since my first severe onset of MS.  When we first decided that it was most likely Multiple Sclerosis (thanks to the internet) I decided to adopt the Paleo Lifestyle, and let me tell you that it is great!  My symptoms went away rather quickly and have stayed away for the most part.  There are still some days when I am stressed or overly tired that a few of the existing symptoms will come back lightly. Nothing as bad as the first major episode.

It has been 7 months since my MRI that showed the lesions on my spine and brain and 7 months since I was officially diagnosed and 7 months since I made the decision to not do any drugs or steroids.  I was putting my faith in my diet and exercise.  About a month ago I got another set of MRI’s done and today I met with my neurologist to go over the results.  No new progress!!!  I will call that a victory.  I know that I have not had this disease for a very long time so it is a little too early to start claiming that I have beat it, but no new progress, no drugs, no steroids, and I the fact that I am getting healthier, more physically fit, and even trying out new sports is enough to keep me on the  right track.

I know that I have talked about the Paleo Lifestyle in past posts but I truly believe that our bodies are capable of so much healing and prevention if we give it what it needs, or rather stop putting harmful things in it.  I will leave this post with that.  I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!  2014 is going to be a great year!!!!!!!

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Thanks for reading.

This picture is me after finishing the Tough Mudder Minneapolis.

This picture is me after finishing the Tough Mudder Minneapolis.

Part 2: Exercise

In Part one of this series I talked about how the Paleo Diet has changed my life.  I mentioned in the last post that My health is better, my endurance is better, and my overall feeling of life is better.  I will give credit for this to the Paleo Lifestyle, but not just in the way of eating, but rather in opening my eyes to other aspects in your life that are just as important as nutrition.

Before I was diagnosed with MS I was an active person.  I have been a cyclist for most of my life and had just recently gotten into running, and fitness was becoming more important in my life as I got a little older.  In March of 2012 the first serious symptoms of MS really acted up after a snowmobile trip to West yellowstone.  I got fairly sick while I was out there and just couldn’t kick it so I went to the Dr. and got an anti-biotic.  After 3 days of anti-biotics my feet had gone completely numb.  (The anti-biotic is a story for another day)  This had happened before in prior years but it was never to this extent and it would come and go, I just chalked it up to a pinched nerve from one of my previous injuries.  This time however instead of coming and going it just kept coming, working its way up my legs.  It got to the point where I couldn’t feel my legs.  I would lay in bed and snuggle with my wife and couldn’t tell if we were even touching.  (That was depressing to say the least).  As time went on the numbness moved all the way up to my chest.  I could still walk and did some downhill skiing, but my legs were very heavy and it took a lot of effort to move them and I couldn’t feel anything.  Once it was up to my chest I started to have some other health issues that were terrifying.  Not to get too in depth but they involved bathroom functions.  I remember one instance where I was driving and had the sudden urge to pee.  Lets just say I wasn’t able to stop the car fast enough.  I had been going to the Dr. for quite some time by this point trying to figure out what was going on.  Though I had pretty much figured it out thanks to the internet.  I would have to say that this was the low point during my MS experience.  I was very depressed and had stopped exercising and my symptoms were at their worst.

My wife had been doing a ton of research into how to treat MS and that is where we came across the Paleo Diet.  We started with removing grains and I noticed a big difference.  Spring was also starting to show it’s face which cheered me up a little bit and gave me some urges to get out of the house and do something.  I decided to start running again.  It was very hard at first.  My legs were still fairly numb and heavy as could be.  Once I got moving though (about a mile or so into my run) I felt great.  By the time I had finished my run my numbness was almost gone.  This went on for quite some time.  Some days my legs would feel good and others the numbness would come back and my gait would be off  (Hot days are worse).  on those days as soon as I would get home from work I would go for a run and things would get better.  At first I was trying to stay active because I thought that “if I can still run I am beating MS”.  But then I realized that if I didn’t run, MS was going to win.  This is when I realized how important exercise was going to be in my life.

My diet was going well but I had now decided to go full Paleo.  I wasn’t really drinking or eating very much dairy at this point.  A little cottage cheese here and there and some half and half in my coffee.  When I took dairy out though…….My numbness went away in about a week and has rarely come back, and when it does come back it is minimal.  So at this point I was feeling pretty good.  My spirits were up and my symptoms were down.  I was back to exercising most days of the week and could feel definite effects if I didn’t.  In the middle of the summer 2 of my friends decided to do a Try-a-Triathlon.  Basically a mini triathlon without any pressure of the bigger races.  I decided to do it and signed up the morning of.  The gun went off and we were off.  The swim was hard, I only swam one time before this.  The bike went well because that is my strong point and the run went well too.  I ended up winning.  That was a big boost for me (having been diagnose with MS a few months prior) and has gotten me to where I am now.  I did one more triathlon last summer and surprised myself with my results in that one as well.  I have now decided that I am going to pursue the sport of triathlon for a couple of reasons.  It is a hard sport that requires you to exercise on a regular basis in multiple disciplines.  That means you are using almost every muscle in your body.  It is also very mentally challenging, forcing you to go beyond what you think you are capable of.  Whether you are racing against other competitors or the clock or just trying to finish, the sport holds you accountable for how hard you trained and the time that you put in.  This is a great lesson that I have carried over to other aspects of my life as well.  If you put in the extra effort there will be a reward.  Maybe not instantly or even noticeable but at some point it will benefit you.

The Paleo diet (Lifestyle as I like to refer to it) has really made me look at life in a different way.  We eat clean food.  That is food that is grown or raised without the use of chemicals.  I don’t use any products that contain chemicals on my body.  Start reading your labels on shampoo, deodorant, hand soaps, lotions, etc. It is amazing what we put on our skin.  (Yes I still shower and use a deodorant. I just use natural or homemade alternatives) I consciously drink a lot of water throughout the day.  I try to remain as stress free as I can and enjoy the moment that I am in.  I follow a strict sleep schedule to allow my body the time that it needs to repair itself.  Exercise and triathlons have helped with all of these areas.  I want to perform well so what I put in my body is important.  I want to recover quickly so my rest is important.  I have found that nothing relieves stress better then exercise.  There is something about being out on the road with your bike or running on a trail with nothing but you and your thoughts is very therapeutic.  I start everyday with 30 minutes of core exercises and stretching.  If I don’t follow through with these disciplines my stress levels go up, my anxiety goes up, my patience with my family goes down, and my MS symptoms start to come back.  If you recall from my last post I have just had a knee surgery so I haven’t been able to run in a while or exercise like I would like to and I can definitely feel the effects.

So, I’m not saying you need to get out and do Triathlons (though they are fun),  but get out and exercise and enjoy nature!!  It will benefit all aspects of your life.

Thank you for reading!!

I have changed the name of my blog to: Wake up and Tri.  All post from Riant’s Words are now posted on this site. You can access it at https://wakeupandtri.wordpress.com

 

This past week has been somewhat of a battle for me.  We will start with last Sunday.  I took a trip down to Minneapolis with a couple of buddies to go mountain biking at a few different areas.  At the first location, only about 5 miles into our ride I took a pretty substantial digger on an elevated bridge.  The result…. Our trip was over.  I was very close to being knocked out and definitely had a concussion and was in a lot of pain.  Being that I was on an elevated bridge, (more like a 6″x6″ beam) when I put my hands down to break my fall there was nothing for my hands to hit.  Therefore I broke the fall with my jaw and shoulder.  On the ride home I was very concerned that I may have really hurt myself.  I couldn’t raise my arm and my jaw was huge.  (it looked like Quagmire’s jaw from Family Guy).  The next day (Monday) I went and got X-Rays to clear the air.  I was OK.  This was a good wake up call though.  As I mentioned above the ride home was a good time to do some thinking.  Am I going to be able to work this week?  I’m not going to be able to pick up my children,  I just ended my season, what if I am really hurt.  Maybe riding across obstacles isn’t worth it anymore. 

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Anyway, that was the start to my week.  Along with being in pain my MS has started to act up again.  My legs start to get the numb feeling which is what I experienced about a year ago when this all started.  It is very stressful because I don’t know if it is just an old symptom acting up again,  A new lesion forming and the disease is progressing and I am one day closer to a wheel chair (that is unfortunately one of the  depressing thoughts that I always have lingering somewhere in the back of my head),  Or is it just part of the MS that I have and this is what I have to deal with?  Usually when my legs start to get a strange feeling I go for a run and that seems to help make them feel better.  Unfortunately my left meniscus is torn and I have a surgery scheduled for the first week in November, so running is not an option.  My second remedy is to go for a long road bike ride both for the exercise and the peace of mind I get from being out on the road.  Well it has been raining for a week straight so that is not an option either.  My final option is to ride indoors on my trainer.  It gets my legs moving and helps a little bit but it is not as effective as the first two options.  So what do you do? I’ll tell you what you do!  You look around at your life and be thankful for all of the things that you do have going for you.  In my case, the positive thoughts for this week were.. I didn’t break my jaw or my shoulder, I’m not in a wheel chair, I’m able to walk, ride my bikes, and exercise, I have a wonderful home to hang out in with my wonderful family while the weather outside is not so nice.

Life is a battle everyday.  Some days are a lot harder then others.  But at the end of the day there is somebody that is always having a harder day.  Find all of the positives that you can.  Try to make other peoples days better.  That simple act alone can turn your whole day around!

Thanks for checking in.