A woman who says her life was made miserable by fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis, claims she is on the road to recovery because she has taken control of her body and is using a combination of hormones and diet.
Instead of relying on conventional treatment, she is praising hormone treatment and a new diet for making life worth living again. “I was listening to doctors, but not now,” she told me.
Lisa, whose last name I am withholding, lives in a town in upstate New York. She was a nurse before she was forced to retire because of MS and received a number of different therapies before striking out on her own.
“I was given Tysabri, which is very strong and has a risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). I have also taken Avonex (interferon beta-1a). In fact, I ‘ve been on several disease-modifying therapies over the years. I consider I have paid my dues in that arena,” she said.
“It was my experience as a nurse that led me to notice that as women with the disease became pregnant, their symptoms lessened as their hormones increased naturally. Pregnant women don’t have relapses,” she said.
“It seemed too much of a coincidence, so I thought it had to be tried. I had estriol, an estrogen, as a lotion that is absorbed through skin, while progesterone is tablet,” she said.
Taking part in life
But that’s not all, diet also has been involved.
“I have started eating an anti-inflammatory diet, no red meat, dairy products, or gluten — and all that seems to be working, too,” said Lisa.
So what did it used to be like? Lisa explained that she used to have to lie on the couch for 11 hours each day. “I had to lie virtually flat because the fatigue was so bad, but now I am sitting up and taking part in life,” she told me.
I asked Lisa about the symptoms she had experienced before her trying hormones and diet. “The fatigue was phenomenal. Just rolling over was a major exertion. Walking to the bathroom resulted in extreme fatigue, and I used to literally crawl out of the shower,” she said.
Now that Lisa is so much better, she has some strong words for MS researchers.
“Not enough attention is being given to this form of treatment; it just goes to big pharma to make more money,” she said.
But she had some conciliatory words for those who do feel existing medicines help them. “If medicine works for you great,” said Lisa, “but they’re not for everyone.”
This article, written by me, first appeared in Multiple Sclerosis News Today.
50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.