Dealing with MS
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2000
I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). My battle with MS has not be fun since day one. I have had to fight for a diagnosis from my doctors and specialists who were supposed to know about MS, but knew little. You have to realize that even though an individual calls himself or herself a professional healer s/he doesn't know everything. In some cases, like MS, doctors know that it is out there, but little else.
Prayer and Faith in the Lord
In the year it took to do all the tests to rule out other diseases, my doctors continually jumped to the conclusion that I was psychosomatic (having physical symptoms stemming from mental illness) instead of MS. This was mainly because my MRI (brain scan) didn't show white tracks which were are the scared nerves in the brain. The doctors even had my husband believing they were right. It was only through God that I had as an anchor in this storm.
I knew with total certainty, that I had MS, even though my doctors had already ruled it out. I knew because I studied it out in my mind, then asked God if it was true. My problem was that I couldn't get my doctors to believe me, so I started to pray for them. It was not long after that when I got my answer.
I was in my neighborhood grocery store when a general practitioner, I knew from my ward, came across the store, to ask me how my testing was doing. This doesn't seem unusual, but it was. This particular doctor is extremely shy and generally keeps to himself. For him to rush across the store to talk to me was uncharacteristic of him, yet he did so under the prompting of the Spirit, to give me the information I needed to get help.
I told him that my doctors couldn't seem to figure what was wrong with me. He said that given my symptoms, he still felt it was MS. I told him that I thought so too, but my doctors had ruled that out. He said that an MRI was not the only way to know if you had MS. The only sure way was to have a spinal tap to see if the protein count was high.
A few days later I had an appointment with my neurologist to plan what we would try next. He became ugly with me because he felt that I was just some nut case needing a Psychiatrist. I stated that I still felt that I had MS. He said that they had tested for MS. I said that he had not tried all the tests for MS because we had not done a spinal tap. He blew up and yelled, "If I wanted a spinal tap then he would see that I got one!"
The spinal tap was not fun, but it showed high levels of protein in the spinal fluid. The count over double what was normal. A few days after that I had my first major exacerbation or flare-up. All the problems I had been having with my nervous system all happened at once and stayed. I ended up in the hospital. During my that time, my doctors gave me a test that showed how fast the brain registered changing patterns. My right eye was registering on the edge of tolerance. My right side of my body was where I was having troubles. Finally, my doctors decided since there were no visible white brain tracks, but elevated protein in the spinal fluid and a definite slowed response of the brain showing brain damage, that there was a good chance I had MS.
MS is Difficult to Detect
A conclusive diagnosis must have two factors.
- Evidence of central nervous system scarring or white patches via an MRI.
- There must have been at least two separate exacerbations or relapses of the disease.
- I have both of these now, but it has taken seven years to get a definite diagnosis because the damage had to be extensive enough to show up on the MRI, and damage is done over time.
My diagnosis came as a direct result of prayer. Thank God, the doctor in my ward listened to the prompting of the Spirit and hooray that God listens and answers prayers or I would be down in the psychiatric ward right now.
How Can a Relationship with God Help You Manage MS?
I have often referred to MS as a terrorist action. Problems and pain hit and run. Some times they stay and encamp for a time or for the duration. No matter what problems you are having with MS there is nothing that canít be made better through prayer with God.
Even though Heavenly Father (God) knows what you are going through, because of the gift He has given you of Free Agency, which is the right to chose for yourself between right or wrong without being coerced, He cannot interfere with your choice to involve Him in your life. If you need help, you must ask Him for His help. You are His child and have that right.
Heavenly Father, like any other good father, likes to hear from you more than just in the bad times of your life. He wants to have contact with you all the time. The scriptures tell us that we can ďpray vocally as well as in thy heart: yea, before the world as well as in secret, in public as well as in private." This means that we can pray in all places and at all times, whenever we need to. Since this is so, it is often mandatory that prayer is done in silently do to the situation we find ourselves in. With MS these times happen often and without warning. It is good to know that He is always there for us to lean on.
Many people open their day with prayer, planning the day with God, and asking for help through the day. They leave their prayer open-ended so that the prayer lasts the whole day long. They literally share their whole day with the Lord. The scriptures supports their actions. It states: "Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you." Here again, you can see the use of silent pray of the heart. This time the Lord suggest that we use silent prayer to speak to Him constantly through the day.
Some people feel that they are imposing on the Lord when they do this, but this is not so. The scriptures tell us to pray unto the Lord about our fields, flocks, houses, household, against the power of your enemies, against the devil, the prospering of our crops, and the increase of our flocks. This shows us that God wants to hear about every aspect of our lives and that there is nothing that He does not want to hear about. He wants us to be with Him whether it is with silent pray or vocal prayer. We are important to Him, because He is our Heavenly Father.
How I have Used Heavenly Father to Manage My MS
If there is one thing for certain about MS, that you can count on is that you cannot count on anything. With that in mind, you know that what you tried the day before and though had worked for you may not work today. How can you manage your life appropriately when it is entirely a guessing game? Who can give you the information that will help you each day to manage MS? Since MS effects everyone differently doctors have been able to do relatively little to help victims manage it. This send most of us running to try every new drug that comes out on the market whether it is sanctioned by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or not.
I have tried a myriad of drugs to stop the pain, slow down the progression of MS, and another things in hopes that it would alleviate the symptoms altogether. All of these have failed and have unwanted and sometimes hazardous side-affects. There is one thing I have tried which has worked for pain reduction, sometimes elevation, and has slowed down the progress and in some instances has elevated the symptoms. It has had surprisingly wonderful side-effects. It is praying for help from God.
My doctors were giving me so much pain medication orally that it was becoming toxic to my body. They were toying with the idea of doing a brain shunt to inject my meds directly into the brain. At the time only fifty people had received an experimental brain shunt and the results were not yet known.
It was at this time, that I was bed-ridden and had nothing better to do than to ask the Lord continually for His help. It was then that He spoke to me in my thoughts. He asked me if I trusted Him. I said I did. He told me to get rid of the medications, of which I had a whole table full, and He would manage my pain. I did and He has managed it every since.
When I say managed, I do not mean that it is totally eradicated. It is to the point however that other management tools like stress reduction and La Maze Breathing Techniques can, for the most part, either eliminate or help me to get through my day successfully.
Sleep is an impossibility for me due to fixating solely on the pain. The Lord literally puts me to sleep each night and awakens me so to use the bathroom so I am not incontinent. I couldnít get along without Him!
There are times that migraines or other pain or problems are past the point that I can manage alone. It is then that I petition the Lord again for His help. There has often been times that personal prayer has not been enough. It is then that I ask for a priesthood health blessing.
Priesthood Health Blessings
It must be understood that I have lost so may functions of my body that I should not be able to write this for you, nor should I be alive. I attribute my abilities to cope, move, think, and raise my family to only one thing, priesthood health blessings from the Lord. These blessings have sustained me through the really bad times and brought relief in each situation.
If you are not a Mormon, then you probably think that this information will not help you. This is not so. If you worship the Christians form of God, then your God is my God. It is important for you to understand that you are His child. He loves you. He wants to be part of your life as any good father would want to be. You can ask the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints) for a priesthood health blessing.
Many people who are not Mormons have done so with good results. I have had a Heroin addict and her spouse ask for and receive a blessing. Roseanne Barr as a little girl, has also. All that is needed is a faith that God can help you. It is that simple!
As you know what you eat can be a hazard when you have MS. Some spices, processed sugar, processed flour, and sometimes honey can cause significant health problems, so I have taken the problem to the Lord. Each day He helps me to choose foods that are compatible with what I need that day to help me with my MS, have good nutrition, and maintain a good weight.
I have managed to see a basic pattern to His menus for me. They follow the Word of Wisdom. That is, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables of the season and base my meal on them. I use meat sparingly like a condiment to top a meal instead of using it as the basis of the meal.
Red meat takes a long time to digest. It also takes a lot of energy. Much of the time MS victims do not have much energy to spare. Allowing the body to large amounts of energy in food digestion leaves little or nothing for you. The skinned breasts of chicken and fresh fish or fish packed in water are much better choices for meat usage. These meats also help you maintain your weight as they have relatively little fat. Many types of salmon contain a higher amount of fat so I suggest halibut or cod instead.
Cold water fish like cod, halibut, and tuna helps the brain repair itself. People with MS know how valuable a tool this can be. If you do not like fish or do not want to have it daily, there are fish oil capsules you can take. Be sure to take them with food as you will be burping up the fish oil taste for hours.
Most of my meals contain whole fresh ground wheat and/or brown rice both contain every vitamin and mineral for ones dietary needs except two and one of those is made by the body. Wheat is missing property is a different on that that of brown rice, so if you eat both during the day you are giving the body what it needs. Both wheat and brown rice help keep you from getting hungry between meals. Vegetables and fruit take about an hour to digest, leaving you hungry. Wheat and brown rice take up to four hours, leaving you with a feeling of being full during that time.
Please note that men and women over 40 need to make sure that they get enough calcium for bone maintenance. Doctors often suggest a daily calcium supplement to keep bones from becoming brittle and breaking.
Read the Labels
I came to realize that many things have processed sugar in them. Processed sugar can cause MS problems. Read the labels before you eat processed items like peanut butter, bread, tomato sauce, ketchup, and etc. If you are careful you will find brands available without sugar added. For example: Adamís peanut butter has totally no additives. Also, when you do find a brand that you like and has no processed sugar added, continue to look at the label periodically as some brands change what they put in their product. My favorite brand of tomato sauce started to add processed sugar. To be sure, read the label.
Note that most all natural foods have sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugar will not cause a problem, but processed sugar additives like corn syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and white sugar will.
What can I use to Sweeten My Foods
Honey has been processed by honey bees, but most MS victims can tolerate up to 2 tablespoons of honey per day. This may not be true for you.
I use sweet fruits to sweeten my foods. Concentrate 100% fruit juices are my favorite. I also use fresh fruit like bananas or canned fruits with no additives pineapples.
My peanut butter sandwich is an open-faced fresh ground whole-wheat quick bread with Adamís Peanut Butter topped with canned crushed pineapples and accompanied by a cold glass of 1% milk. It is delicious!
4 c. fresh ground wheat
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1-1/4 t. salt
- 1 c. fat- free powdered milk
- Mix all ingredients together, well.
- For single serving use:
1/2 c. of mix given above
- 1/2 t. virgin olive oil
- 2-3 T. water
- Mix to thick pancake consistency.
- Cook like a pancake in a no-stick pan.
- Can be used for as a basis for pizza or sandwiches.
- Do not use olive oil when using this recipe for a peanut butter sandwich.
Cooked Whole Wheat
- 4 c. whole wheat
- 8 c. water
- In a large sauce pan combine wheat, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Drain off excess water.
- Use quart-sized zip-lock freezer bags to freeze wheat for later use.
Cooked Brown Rice
- 4 c. brown rice
- 8 c. water
- 2t. salt
- In a large sauce pan combine brown rice, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Drain off excess water.
- Use quart-sized zip-lock freezer bags to freeze wheat for later use.
- 2 c. wheat flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 t. salt
- 1/4-1/2 c. water
- Manual Method: Put flour into a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add all ingredients. Kneed until smooth and elastic. Roll thin and cut. Cook in boiling, salted water. Use 3 qts. water to 1 T. salt. Cook until slightly chewy.
- Mixer Method: Mix all ingredients together. Dough should be slightly sticky. Flour the outside of each paddy of dough fed into the noodle maker. Put noodle on lowest setting. Continue to flour dough's outside as needed to keep it from sticking to the noodle maker. Put the dough through consecutively higher settings until the correct thickness is reached. The higher the setting the thinner the noodle.
Noodles can be hung, dried, stored for use later or cooked immediately.
Cook in boiling, salted water. Use 3 qts. water to 1 T. salt. Cook until slightly chewy.
Nutrition is important, but if you want to be sure to secure help from the Lord to help you manage your MS you need to follow His commandments. A happy God is a helpful God.
Following the Lord
When we do what we know is right, the Lord blesses us. Letís talk about the basics of what is right! Iím talking about what most Christians accept as guidelines for their lives, like the Ten Commandments. The following is from the Bible in Exodus 20: 3-17. Pay attention especially to the bold face or underlined passages. These are your promises both good (bold-face type) and bad (the underlined type) depending on whether you decided keep the Lordís commandments or not.
The Ten Commandments
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
- Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
No one is perfect, but as long as you are trying the Lord will help you when you ask Him. You must remember though that He answers our prayers the way He feels is best for our growth and development. This may not be the way you want Him to do. Many times the Lord wants us to learn to be patience. He may promise you blessings, which once give are yours, but He will fulfill in His own good time. It is up to you to stay worth of those blessings , pray often, and have faith in the Lord.
Through trying to do my best to keep the commandments, personal prayer, personal revelation, prayers of friends, loved ones, good nutrition, and Priesthood Health Blessings, I am able to cope with the problems of MS. Sometimes it is not easy, but it is doable. Without the Lord's constant care, it wouldn't be. I'm grateful that I know God lives and hears our prayers.