Paleo Saved My Life
Written by: Mim Haigh
It’s a simple story. I was diagnosed with MS at 35 and within 4 years I had gone from being a healthy active mum with a toddler to being riddled with spasticity my limbs twisted up on themselves to the point where no function was possible. I couldn’t walk, feed myself or clean my own teeth. The muscles tightened around my chest cavity to the point where I was struggling to breath, my swallowing was failing and I was choking on my own saliva. I had to stay in a nursing home until I could resolve appropriate care for myself. I was on the verge of losing my son, my home, all my savings and certainly any independence. For the larger part of my life I have been a competitive athlete and I always believed that exercise was crucial to health. I maintained the best exercise regime I could as my abilities deteriorated. I tried every drug that was recommended to me. I tried every natural alternative, emotional and spiritual solution that I could find. I tried the Gawler foundation DIET recommended for cancer survivors. I tried the Swank DIET for MS. Nothing made an impact on the disease progression.
Approximately every three months I was hospitalised experiencing a relapse, deterioration and loss of abilities. I would be given a massive dose of steroids to try and calm the inflammation. In hospital they referred to it as the industrial dose. It was just one element of a drug cocktail – monthly immune suppressants, and daily thirteen muscle relaxants to relieve the symptomatic spasticity.
I was lucky enough to begin therapy with an Exercise Physiologist who eats Paleo and is a keen follower of your website. He worked through my objections to diet being a contributing factor to my health and spoke of the benefits that he and his family had experienced and encouraged me to try.
Within four weeks nobody was more surprised than me when my symptoms began to subside. It began with my hands. I had been experiencing a halo sensation around my hands. The halos and the buzzing stopped. Then the spasticity began to resolve. As it disappeared I noticed that I would become over medicated – when you take muscle relaxants this feels like going floppy, so I would have to reduce my medication until I had enough stability to function. I must have made this cut to my medications 20 times or more until there was no medication left. I still have a lot of spasticity and the process of it reducing, exposing weak and unused muscles is still ongoing.
I started the diet two years ago and the process of recovery has been slow and steady since then. I haven’t relapsed, no trips to hospital, just a steady march towards recovery.
Throughout the process I have maintained my maximum levels of exercise – with weights in the pool and stretching. I find that each element plays a really vital role in my recovery. The more movement that my body permits the more therapy I do. I’ve recently set up a therapy room at home. Currently I do two sessions a week in the pool, three weights and four stretching. I still meditate and try to be very mindful of my physical and emotional state.
I am eternally grateful for the Paleo diet and to everyone who has played a part in bringing it into my life. It has given me back my life. I believe I am on the way to a full recovery. My specialists held no hope for me. My prognoses was MS causing quadriplegia.
I have included some photos of my everyday life. They are a snapshot in time. In terms of recovery I am a work in progress. I’m not walking yet. My limbs have little independent movement and I am still largely bound up by spasticity. But I know that I can talk to all of my toes and 8 out of ten of my fingers. I know there is function under the spasticity. I just have to be patient as diet and exercise create the environment for my body to recover. http://www.mimhaigh.blogspot.
Thank you again.