My challenges started in 1989 when I slipped on a marble staircase and cracked my coccyx. I spent the year at various doctors and physical therapists – with little help actually. I was 36 years old. Finally, by pure coincidence I ended up at the office of a really good chiropractor – who actually did help! I was a patient for 2 years with great success. I couldn’t really run – but just chalked it up to the fall, and hoped it would eventually resolve.
In ’92 I stopped chiropractic care, and had recently gone through a death in the family, so wasn’t as focused on my own health. By 1994 I was getting weaker and started to fall (trip) on my way to work; if a friend called me from behind me I would lose my balance as well. So in ’94 I started to end up on the floor inexplicably. Also, on the bus one day I lost vision in one eye.
When I finally got to the doctor he recommended a neurologist – and an MRI confirmed his suspicion… he diagnosed Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, and politely told me I’d be in a wheelchair in 6 months!!
At that point I had started to learn about alternative medicine – but it was still early in the game. I made what I think are some bad choices – one was to see a doctor who said EVERYTHING was Candida – not MS. He may have been correct, but had a very aggressive approach – he put me on a lot of very strong herbs / strict diet – and I got weaker and sicker.
Finally a different neurologist put me on steroids for a month. It wasn’t fun, but got me walking better. I was also told NOT to see the chiropractor, so I followed the lead of the neurologist. But I did many other things – had silver fillings removed from teeth, vitamin drips etc. All outrageously expensive too!! Since I wasn’t using a walker or cane at the time, I can’t really say if these things ‘helped’.
I finally did get back to the chiropractor, and have never used any of the pharmaceuticals – I was always frightened by them, and also – they are tested on relapsing remitting MS and not Progressive. So mostly I’ve been coasting; I’m on disability and use a walker now.
My biggest issues are digestion and constipation, and a foggy brain! I try to use a juicer when I can. I’ve read about the Body Ecology diet lately, but their products are expensive too.
At the moment I’m involved with a great guy; I’m a handknitter (in the cooler months at least), and do an abbreviated yoga program here at home with a tape.
It’s so much easier that way! I drive locally to the store and back, and I can load the walker in the back of my CRV. I’m now 58 and still walking (with walker)!!
I can get as far as about 2 NYC blocks at the moment before I need to sit. But I cook my own food and clean my apartment (slowly 🙂 ).
Life goes on – I try to remain as positive as I can; meditate on occasion and stay connected with family and friends – the best therapy! ~Barbara