Thursday, March 12, 2009

Underground Medicine

My hubby, the Dish, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in May 1999. I remember the month because it was a few weeks before our wedding. The Dish was having really bad vertigo and other symptoms like twitching, numbness and tingling in his fingers and legs for about a week. After a few trips to the doctor, an MRI confirmed that he had spots (plaque) on his brain. The neurologist came in the exam room and coldly said, "you have MS, start taking this injection once a week and just live your life." While I'm sure there is no easy way for any doctor to deliver bad news, I found it cold. We were both in shock with visions of wheelchairs in our heads. He told me that if I wanted to back out of the wedding, he would understand. I punched him in the arm.

The medication, Avonex, is a weekly injection that is supposed to slow down the progression of the MS. It seemed easy enough but side effects are horrible. It's like having the flu...shakes, muscle aches, fatigue...just feeling like shit. And he would feel like shit for three days a week. He would take it in Friday night so he wouldn't miss work and suffer all weekend. The symptoms were supposed to get better over time but they barely did. It sucked. We (I) fired three neurologist just because they were big jerks and were closed-minded on exploring complementary treatments like nutrition and acupuncture. I finally found one willing to listen...even though the Dish still had to take the Avonex. The Dish had a few relapses...steroid treatments and more meds.

Fast forward to 2004 when we moved to the suburbs and one day my husband forgot to refill his medication and sort of forgot to refill it for 4 years....he just stopped taking it. He actually felt better and not one relapse. It had been a while since he had a physical so I found a primary doctor for him and he got check-up. His new doctor urged him to connect with a neurologist because of the MS so we found one and the first thing the doc asked was why the Dish was not on any meds for the MS. He had another MRI which showed a few new spots which is a panic that it's getting worse. So they put him back on the Avonex and he returned to suffering on the weekends.

Anyone who knows me, knows my interest and fascination with integrative medicine...holistic, natural, contemporary...you name it. I do believe that the body had the ability to heal itself if given the chance and some assistance. I have little trust in modern medicine...some, not all. There are some great medical advanced today BUT we still have more cancer and heart disease and auto immune disease in this country than in any other nation.

While perusing through Dr. Mercola's website, I can across this article about LDN or low dose naltrexone therapy. I also went to www.lowdosenaltrexone.org and was fascinated by this treatment for MS, HIV, cancer and other autoimmune diseases. It seemed too good to be true. I actually just bookmarked the page and went on with life as usual.

Then one weekend I noticed that the Dish was having a bad weekend with the shot and he looked so miserable and then I remembered the LDN and started reading everything I could...websites, message boards of people with MS, Lyme and other illnesses doing very well on LDN and very little side effects.

And wouldn't you know, there is a doctor in my area that works with MS patients with LDN! We had our first appointment with him today and what a great doctor. Some people might be taken aback by his comical nature and the fact that his dog roams around the office but we didn't. This doctor was human, he cared, he listened, he understood and he asked that we trust him and trust LDN. He actually hugged us when we left.

As explained on the website, when you take LDN at bedtime -- which blocks your opioid receptors for a few hours in the middle of the night -- it is believed to up-regulate vital elements of your immune system by increasing your body’s production of metenkephalin and endorphins (your natural opioids), hence improving immune function.

The doctor says it might not work for everyone but most of his MS patients are doing well with no symptoms, no relapses and improved energy, mobility and health. (I'll talk about why more doctors are NOT jumping to this therapy at another post)

We will get the prescription by mail through a compounding pharmacy and he will start it right away...no more Avonex. He'll see this new doctor in a month for a follow-up. From all that I've read, I am excited for him and for us. I think it will be good.

4 comments:

Kathi said...

Linda,

Sometime we just have to go with our gutt!! You knew in your heart their was something else for your husband and you didn't give up. He is SO lucky to have you. I wish your husband the best of luck with this new treatment.

Chris said...

I am so happy to hear the appointment went well! I've was thinking of you both all day. I'm still giving that some serious consideration for myself. Hugs to you both sweetie! There IS a better way than traditional western medicine, I truly believe that. xoxo

Deep Blue said...

My father-in-law has MS. He has had it ever since my husband was 8 years old. He has the kind that only gets progressively worse over time. That's a horrible disease.

Paul Blake ND said...

Hi Linda,
Autoimmune diseases are very interesting, there are aprox 80 to 100 at this time with another 40 waiting for a name. Medical science cannot explain why and has not found a cure for even one. You can trigger one of them just by having an auto accident, taking aspirin or medicine, by starting a new exercise routine, or even stressing out says latest research. Naturopathic medicine says, "Look for the root cause. The cause is in the basics; beginning with what is on your fork, what toxins are in your body, what exercise do you do, what stress is in your life, what is your spiritual base". Science has led us down the wrong path, we better stop and take a close look at what is happening. Autoimmune disease is the worst kind of contradiction; for MS your immune system is attacking you at your own brain, a world upside down. God bless you in your search.

Sincerely
Paul