When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004, I felt like the sky had fallen on my head. But it solved a lifelong mystery. By my mid 40s I had spent over 5 years of my life in bed with bouts of extreme fatigue. When I was ill it felt like all the energy circuits inside went dead. I could barely stand and when I did I lurched about like a drunk with a hangover. My head was such a foggy sodden mess I put sentences together back to front and upside down. But fortunately when I was well, I could dance, ski, bike, skate, write, quote shakespeare and stay up all night. You would never guess to look at me that anything was wrong.
Most doctors concluded it was all in my head. They were right. Just not in the way they thought. My MRI scans in 2004 showed I had a head full of demyelination. In layman’s terms the nerves in my brain and spine had faults in the coating (the myelin sheath) so that sometimes the nerve signals to my body sputtered or cut out. By my early 40s, I was in bed for about a week each month. A simple cold could knock me down like a prize fighter’s punch and I marveled at my friends stamina going to work when they had what they called ‘the sniffles’.
The conventional medical view of MS is that it is incurable. But for me a lifetime of MS symptoms have vanished. I have no more bouts of fatigue. When I get a cold it lasts a day (like my friends colds) and flu knocks me out for a handful of days, not weeks or months. I know without a doubt that I couldn’t have looked after Laura as I did last year (spending 12-15 hours a day and sometimes staying overnight in hospital) if I had been my old sick self.
So what changed? By mid-2007 I was in bed 5 out of 7 days a week. I thought my life force was ebbing away. In desperation I used every ounce of energy to track down people who had recovered from MS. I knew I was too weak to take drugs (I couldn’t even take Tylenol), so an alternative treatment was my only hope. Every miracle recovery I tracked down led to one man, Dr Hal Huggins, a dental surgeon who believes that MS is a disease of mercury poisoning from silver-colored amalgam fillings (that are 50% mercury) and also toxins leaking into the body from toxic root canals (it is impossible to sterilize the 3 miles of dental tubules in a root canal so it becomes a reservoir of anaerobic toxins which can poison the system, says Huggins). Implants can also channel toxins directly into the bone.
One good question I hear a lot is why, if the majority of the western world has these silver mercury fillings, isn’t everyone sick with MS? The answer is simple, MS sufferers are genetically predisposed to be poor detoxifiers of heavy metals and other toxins. The APOE4 gene seems to block the normal channels of detoxification via sweat, urine etc.
Dr Blanche Grube (an expert holistic dentist), carefully removed my 9 ‘silver’ fillings replacing them with mercury and aluminum-free plastic fillings and cleaned out 6 old extraction sites (‘cavitations’) ensuring no toxins were pooling in my jaw bone. And then slowly over the next 2 years, I detoxified my body by eating a largely paleo diet (but absolutely no fish or sea salt), taking Dr Huggins supplements and doing detox baths, body brushing and infrared saunas.
But there was another part to my healing which was just as important. Any stress on a weakened immune system can cause it to collapse and I wasn’t just under physical stress (from the mercury poisoning), I also had a constant reservoir of emotional stress. I suspected I was gay in my teens. But I wanted to be accepted and loved, and I feared my nearest and dearest wouldn’t love me if they knew. So I ignored it. And when I could no longer ignore it in my 20s, I began dating people who concealed their true selves. People like me, who tried to live under the radar (hopefully I don’t have to tell you it is impossible to find someone who truly loves and accepts you, if you don’t first love and accept yourself). The constant vigilance, worrying about discovery and fearing the worst (that I would lose my job and everyone I loved) was exhausting.
With hindsight it is no surprise that my main MS symptom was fatigue. I was running myself into the ground. My lightbulb moment came when I realized that MS is an auto-immune disease; the hyper-vigilant body goes about attacking itself. I thought there must be a mental equivalent to the physical mechanism of MS, so where was I attacking myself? I didn’t have to look far. It was obvious. I was self sabotaging every day, attacking myself for being gay. So I decided to be out and proud. It was as simple as that. No more secrets. It changed my life. I didn’t recover immediately from MS. I did feel stronger, happier and my relationships became much healthier. I began driving my life rather than being dragged along behind it. So when my health took a turn for the worse in 2007, I decided to take power into my own hands and seek out someone who spoke my language and the universe guided me to Dr Huggins. He saved my life, for which I am eternally grateful.
Everyone’s path to recovery is different, but I am not alone in thinking you can reverse MS with alternative treatment. Dr Terry Wahls, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, cured her secondary progressive MS (she was in a tilt recline wheelchair) with a combination of the paleo diet, dental detox and electrical stimulation. She now cycles 5 miles to work each day and is doing clinical trials on healing other MS sufferers using the Wahls Protocol. Here’s a link to her Ted Talk http://terrywahls.com/minding-your-mitochondria-dr-terry-wahls-at-tedxiowacity/
Dr Gabor Mate When the Body Says No