The hardest thing about getting well is making a total commitment to health. I just listened to a seminar that said 95% of us have a chronic health problem that we would like to have disappear. I don’t know how true that will feel for you as readers. I know that for me, acne, an occasional asthma episode, and a tendency toward constipation didn’t feel like “chronic health problems.” They were just inconveniences that could be addressed with medication.
My body had to pull out the “big guns” to get my attention. When I received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, I was finally ready to admit I had a chronic health problem. For five months I was a model patient for my neurologist. Then I felt an internal shift and my body said “no” to treatments that “might keep me from getting worse.” The treatments didn’t even help me feel better. I wanted to be well.
I looked far and wide for a program that might get me there, trying several in succession. When I found The Wahls Protocol (TWP), the requirements seemed insurmountable. No bread, no cheese, no milk, no sugar, no corn . . . How on earth could anyone manage a diet like that?
Doctor Terry Wahls had been diagnosed with an incurable and progressive form of MS. She was her own test subject while researching components of what would become The Wahls Protocol, identifying and using supplements, real food, exercise and other measures to improve her health. Since she believed her doctor’s prognosis, she was surprised by significant signs of recovery. Within months, she got out of her wheel chair and even began riding her bike.
Colleagues encouraged Dr. Wahls to develop a research program examining TWP. Because it required so many challenging lifestyle changes, first she had to demonstrate that people could actually adopt it. Only then was she able to begin formal investigations to show that The Protocol improves chronic diseases.
As I learned more about TWP, I began adding supplements, eating more vegetables and avoiding bread. At first, I saw no improvements; but I didn’t get worse.
I yearned to do the things I’d done with ease before my diagnosis—like walking the 100 feet to the mailbox or bringing in the trash cans. I could still shop for groceries because carts were always available. The pleasure of shopping for clothes was gone. Not only was it hard to find a cart, taking off and putting on clothes was complicated by lack of control of my legs. Before I could finish trying on even one outfit, I would be completely exhausted. More than anything, I missed being able to walk outdoors in parks or on nature trails. Not only did my feet seem to have a mind of their own, the heat of a summer day left me with no strength. Nature had sustained me before MS, but now it was hard to be outside.
For two years I ate Wahls-consistent food, meditated, and eliminated toxins from my environment. Physical therapy five times a week was the most challenging, though after a year I began to feel stronger and to walk at home without a cane. This was not the triumph of a giant ballet leap or earning a black belt in martial arts—but I enjoyed improvements and celebrated eight weeks without a fall.
Then I had a visit from a beloved cousin who had developed MS 20 years before I did. She had undergone weight loss diets and mercury amalgam removal. Still, every year, she lost more function and could no longer drive or walk. She had recently been discharged from a care center because she’d stopped making progress in physical therapy. Double vision made reading impossible, and problems with temperature left her miserable in both warm and cool environments.
I served her a Wahls compliant meal and described my success with the Protocol. She seemed to like the food, but asked for sugar. I filled my sugar bowl and handed it to her. With a trembling hand, she put five spoonfuls into her tea then dumped the remainder on her salad and ate it. Then, I watched as she leaned to the left and almost fell out of her chair because she was no longer able to sit upright without support.
In that moment, I made a full commitment to do everything in my power to get well, no matter what.
What would it take for you to make that commitment?