Testimonial written by: Nicole Cochran
Six months ago I visited the wheelchair clinic at Vanderbilt in Nashville to get fitted for my new wheelchair which would mark a major negative milestone in my almost decade long battle with multiple sclerosis. Part of me was absolutely grief stricken that I was “here” in my digression. Also, a small part of me had expected this day to come…you see, I had seen this “movie” before.
My mother was diagnosed with MS in 1983 at the age of 38. I was 13 and she was a triathlete that had been experiencing worrisome symptoms during her training rituals. She is now quadriplegic and confined to bed and a wheelchair operated by her head.
So there I was, in July of 2013, sad because I felt my fate was sealed and inevitable. As I was trying out the different electric chairs and getting my measurements I had a moment where I said out loud what I though was only in my head “HELL NO!” I just wasn’t ready…this could not happen to me. So, I took my walker and stumbled out of there without completing the evaluation. I went home and cried and cried because I just wasn’t ready. There was so much more I wanted to do, to see, to experience…walking. A year prior I had adopted a 9-year-old child who had a trauma background and deserved a mom that could do everything that full mobility afforded. I could not let this happen. So, I made the most important decision of my lifetime.
My good friend, Melonee Hurt, was a Paleo devotee and had gently tried to introduce me to it in the past, which unfortunately fell on deaf ears. That very day I called her and confidently told her,“I’m ready!” She responded with a well-organized notebook with recipes, instructions, shopping lists and homework. The first thing on the homework list was to read the The Paleo Solution and to begin following Robb Wolf on various social media outlets.
When I told my friend I was ready….I was. I dove in hard. She advised that I do a hardcore Paleo diet (including the auto-immune protocol) for at least 30 days and see how it made me feel. I knew 2 weeks into eating Paleo that I would never eat any other way. Paleo was my solution!
Today, 6 months later I am walking unassisted, exercising regularly, I still have some balance issues but they are minimal, and I have lost 45 pounds. Last week I had my bi-annual appointment with my neurologist who I had last seen when he wrote the order for the wheelchair. He was genuinely impressed with my significant progress but I must say he was extremely reluctant to give Paleo the credit it deserves and that was really disappointing for me. I gave myself about a day to be sad/mad over his reaction and then I realized how lucky I am to have a friend as wise as mine that shared the diet me. With the help of Robb Wolf, my friend, the people who taught her and my own willingness I CREATED THIS SHIFT in my health and I am never going back!
21 Day Fix says
That is an amazing story. I’m just now learning more about Paleo but I’m excited to implement some of the nutritional modifications into my diet. Sad to hear you physician wasn’t giving enough credit to your nutrition.
Amy B. says
Nicole, your story is incredible! What a huge testament to the power of real food and the amazing things that happen when we give our bodies what they want, and remove the things they don’t. It’s really too bad your neurologist had no interest in learning more about your stunning turnaround. Think of all the people he could help if he were more open minded. Oh well…guess you’ll just have to be living proof, then! 🙂
Debra Graff says
Nicole, I am so happy for you! I know how difficult making the transition to Paleo can be, especially with the autoimmune protocol. It takes incredible courage and strength to make the changes necessary to help heal our serious diseases.
I firmly believe that the medical community will eventually be forced to acknowledge the possibility that Paleo and similar lifestyles may actually be able to help turn around the steadily increasing rate of chronic and autoimmune diseases in this country. When doctors start seeing patient after patient coming in with drastic improvements in their conditions, they will have to start to wonder.
I have a hard time understanding why some people still call Paleo a “fad”. If they really listened to all the stories from people like you, they would start to understand that this is a movement and a major turning point.
I can see things starting to change in my own community. My family doctor is Paleo, and although my rheumatologist is not, she is quite open to the possibility that my switch to Paleo has contributed to my own improvements in my disabling disease.
Very best wishes, Nicole! Give your child a big hug for me!
Carolyn Hall says
Hi, I was so excited to see someone on Robb Wolf’s website that I sorta know! I am a program assistant with FNP in the VCE office in Christiansburg. I have heard your name mentioned in our office. I am a major paleo devotee and am excited to see the Paleo lifestyle become known in the NRV.
Do you mind if I ask who your family doctor is?
I have a friend with MS and so this story touched home. My MIL has RA and won’t try Paleo… Take care!
Kevin Vincent says
Thank you for telling your story Nicole. I hope you continue to keep those symptoms at bay. I have RR MS and am currently in remission for the most part. Are you on any disease modifying med or any other therapy? I think your approach is as good as your attitude…Awesome.
Congratulations, Nicole! I too have had frustrations with conventional doctors either denying or actively trying to dissuade my paleo lifestyle. I now just keep it to myself for the most part, as it’s not worth the stress to fight. Best of luck on your continued journey to health.
It’s sad that most doctors don’t “believe” in the Paleo diet but throughout history many things that are now accepted as fact were at first steadfastly denied and refuted! But I truly believe that as more and more people turn to a Paleo diet and share their stories, this way of life will slowly get more and more of the recognition it deserves until one day, it is accepted as THE healthy way to live and eat.
Victor K says
I’m in a wheelchair and want to do paleo diet but cannot do crosfit. What do people recommend ?8
CrossFit is definitely not necessary, and unless you have a good gym with good trainers that does smart programming (they do exist), CrossFit isn’t always the best thing.
It really depends on what you are currently capable of, what your current condition is, what your goals are, etc. I would recommend working with a good trainer to help you get started
I have COPD, certainly not the challenge you face, but nevertheless a challenge.
I tried crossfit, but to be honest, my lungs couldn’t quite keep up.
I’ve have since downloaded an exercise App on my Android. Mine is called the ‘7 minute workout’, but there are several other Apps out there. I started with a basic workout, and am just progressing in increments as I feel able.
There’s several exercises I can do, and some that are beyond me at present.
I feel better, stronger, and it feels good. My lungs, which have always been my weakness, are definitely benefitting.
Maybe a similar thing may work for you?
I hope so; all the best mate.
My own GP’s a bit skeptical, but to give credit where credit’s due he is open minded enough to acknowledge there might be something to to it. Though it won’t be anytime soon I think he will come around.
Kevin Kelly says
As a doctor I am amazed and encouraged by your story. After reading The Paleo Solution and It Starts with Food I began following a paleo lifestyle and offering the same to my patients. I am happy to report many success stories like yours but also many disappointments as many people seem to need to reach rock bottom before they are they open to the possibilities that healthy living can provide. I wish you all the best!
Wow! Amazing testimony! I love that she declared “HELL NO!” and determined to be open to Paleo. I admire her determination! It’s so frustrating when people won’t even TRY something. Like my sister, who suffers from migraines so badly that she has been out of work for months. She wouldn’t do it for one day. Ridiculous! I’m so happy for this wonderful woman and her child and their future. So proud of her and inspired as I continue my journey. Shame on that doctor. My own husband is a doctor (radiologist) and I do not mind saying this: many of them are quite closed minded and have little knowledge of nutrition. Main problem seems to be unwillingness to explore different possibilities than what they know. No one likes a know it all. Thanks for sharing story. After I dried my tears, I am so empowered.
I know 3 people who are diagnosed with MS. They will not listen at all. One of them claimed to have done healthy eating for 6 months and “it didn’t work”. I have my doubts as she really knows nothing at all about good nutrition. I have tried to approach her with this but she gets very angry and says that it doesn’t work. So, I’ve backed off.
I know other people with fibromyalgia, IBS, Crohn’s, etc. and they are also not willing to listen.
I’ve been Paleo since April. While I had some issues over the holidays and am still very much overweight, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. What is kind of a deterrent for some is that they combine being healthy with being thin. So, when they see me, someone who is still very much overweight, they just don’t believe that Paleo is “working” (I have lost 50 lbs though). I tell them that I’m healthier than they are (and I am!) and that being thin doesn’t mean that you’re healthy.
I digress. I am hoping that people will see that being healthy can help all kinds of diseases, conditions and illnesses. I’m also hoping that Paleo will become mainstream sooner rather than later.
Thank you Robb for being such a great pioneer and thank you Nicole for your brave and beautiful post. I’ve shared this on Facebook.
Wow, this is really really cool!
You need to check out Dr. Terri Wahls author of the Wahls Protocol. She has MS as well and is treating it with her own version of Paleo.
This really is amazing stuff!
I’m so happy for you!!