MS - a personal view


Diagnosed with MS 27 years ago. Six weeks after the usual tests my GP showed me the confirmation letter and I said what now? He shrugged his shoulders and I left. I read up on the condition and decided it was a one-off and I'd have the 20 or more year remission even though the main symptoms of chronic fatigue and weakness persisted. When the 2nd exacerbation occurred a year later I realised this was going to be yet another challenge and one that I would also win. Even after the 6th exacerbation I still thought I'd have the 20 year remission! During the 7th I had to concede the pattern was forming and this wasn't to be - yet!

Annual exacerbations for 11 years. Each one took longer to recover from than the previous one e.g. the first one was a few weeks and the last one 9 months to get back near where I started and on crutches. I have had many symptoms (4 sides of A4, needed for a homeopathic assessment) and paralysis of many muscles, including half my tongue, and buttocks (they really are huge muscles!) I have no reaction to the tuning fork from my left side toe joints to my mid-rib and no response to the stroke under the feet. Each exacerbation would leave me further down the ladder. I rarely recovered full movement and they always left more weakness.

Depression in the months of recovery. After an exacerbation the brain was more willing than the body able and I guess I would push too hard. In later attacks I found a homeopathic remedy that worked really well instead of the usual anti-depressants. Yoga was also extremely beneficial.

Chronic Fatigue. My major problem from the beginning was chronic fatigue with its accompanying brain symptoms that were similar to ME fatigue. If I sat or stood for too long I would pass out and not be too well for some time. I realised very early that if I sat with my legs up I could sit upright for much longer and if I lay flat (no pillow) I would recover my energies much quicker. I had many ways of dealing with it as I recognised it developing and knew when to disappear or take action. I was able to work successfully without colleagues knowing I had this problem. It was 10 years before I found out that my blood pressure (controlled by the autonomic system) was dropping when I was upright. I gave them up as bad for my health many years ago.

Dizziness and Fainting. In Denmark they recognise that MS can cause slight dizziness through to fainting but this is ignored in the UK. The knowledge I gained along with my increasing yoga knowledge led me to meditation and breathing practices that have beneficial effects on the autonomic nervous system and blood pressure. This was definitely the right way for me and I now no longer have this problem.

Each attack meant more and more adaptions. In an effort to keep working I had a garden lounger in a cupboard so that I could lay flat at every opportunity and restore some energy. I would also spend most of the evening and weekend lying down in an effort to increase energy for work the next day. I still had to shop but I couldn’t stand for long so would finish up on my knees as shops no longer provide chairs. In Boots I finished up walking on my knees to the low checkouts, made a joke of it with the assistant and left. It’s not that I need or even like attention it’s just that I need to shop. There’s usually a way to accomplish most things without too much stress. I find if I do things confidently, speak intelligently and smile people respond just fine.

I lost half my vision (horizontally) taking a meeting. Suddenly nobody had a mouth or body. If I'd stopped the meeting I would have had to do it again, needing more energy, so I carried on. I had read that this can happen and a friend’s mother went blind for 3 years. I assumed it would come back quite quickly as the rest of me wasn’t too bad at the time. It was more difficult trying to get my key in the door lock when I got home!

I could no longer run. I realised this when I tried to run and finished up doing a front drop on the grass and was nearly hit by a car when I attempted to run across the road having made my usual judgments. The latter taught me that the brain had not adjusted sufficiently so I’d have to retrain it. Fortunately I rarely hurt myself when I fall as I used to do judo and gymnastics. I still cannot run but who knows one day………..

Neither could I jump. The feet would stay on the floor even though it felt as if the muscles were jumping. If I tried to jump onto the floor there was no resilience, my feet were flat, knees straight and it was very unpleasant. For 12 years I couldn’t jump but thanks to daily yoga, homeopathy and acupuncture I finally did it in the year 2000.

Each annual attack took longer to stabilise. This meant there was less and less time between attacks in which to strengthen. After the 1990 exacerbation that amongst other symptoms paralysed the muscles in and around the pelvis (I now know why the ‘buttocks’ are one of the biggest muscles in the body) it took me nine months to get back on crutches and with my record I could have another exacerbation in 3 months. I was aware of the statement ‘use it or lose it’ but exercise and physiotherapy exhausted me and made me feel unwell.

Use of the 2 middle fingers lost when I had a wisdom tooth out. My writing hand was already weakened by MS attacks and when I had a wisdom tooth out I lost their use completely. Eventually movement started to come back but they are still weak. My writing wasn’t easy to read before! As tends to happen when there has been loss or partial loss of function there is still weakness and when playing the piano I will realise I have 2 notes missing as the 2 fingers weaken and curl up.

I interpreted my illness as an energy crisis. It made sense that if I was going to improve my health I would have to work on and understand the body’s energy system. Homeopathy, acupuncture and yoga all work on the body’s energy system.

Homeopathy was crucial. My last full exacerbation was 16 years ago and my last partial exacerbation 10 years ago. The homeopathic remedy Lueticum, in high potency, was important initially as it stopped the attacks when they started but Luesinum, which is the correct remedy for MS caused by the Luesinum miasm, finally stopped them altogether. I have been told by my homeopath using EAP (electro-acupuncture) that is able to detect numerous viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and the miasms (disease agents or taints handed down through the generations in DNA) that the Luesinum miasm, responsible for my MS is now very dormant and unlikely to ever flare up again. 

Diet. I wish I had looked at this first rather than later. When I gave up wheat, yeast, sugar and dairy my energy improved and as a bonus I also lost weight.

My first yoga session energised me. This meant that yoga would be very important in my improvement and breathing was the key. I came home and asked the physiotherapist to move me or allow me to move in time with my ‘yoga breathing’. It was fantastic and made such a difference. My energy improved markedly along with many other areas. The physiotherapist told me she expected me to be in a wheelchair permanently years ago and I am definitely not.

Yoga. I have found that daily yoga (I work at living yoga daily not just once or twice a week), homeopathy and acupuncture have been the right paths for me.

Visualisation. This is another powerful tool e.g. one exacerbation left me with the right arm unable to rise forward more than about 10 degrees. I wasn’t prepared to accept that and used visualisation daily to ‘move’ the arm above my head. It took several months but finally I got there. Small repetitive movements and circling always exhausted me but using visualisation and yoga breath they are much easier and less tiring.

Mind and Emotions. All chronic illnesses involve the mind and emotions. As part of my yoga studies I have also looked at their role and worked on myself in these areas. As the Buddha said, ‘Train the mind’. This has been very interesting and very helpful too as I get rid of old mind sets and attitudes.

Meditation. I have found meditation or just sitting quietly for about 20 minutes twice a day extremely helpful and have been aware of many valuable changes as a result. I recommend it to anyone with chronic illness or not!

Fatigue is still a problem but I am winning. I am not in a wheelchair permanently as predicted and I have more energy now than 10 years ago. I last had a really well day after the onset of MS on a Monday 27 years ago. It was a normal day and I had had an ordinary weekend so I couldn’t fathom out why. There will be a reason and maybe one day I’ll work it out. What it does show is that it is possible and I have accepted the challenge.

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