MS Feel Their Pain Poster
Credit: Flickr photo by Frank Bonilla

Anecdotal Evidence that MS can be Conquered

A growing number of patients say they've beaten the disease

It's generally believed multiple sclerosis is a permanent condition, marked by increasing debility as it progresses.

So is it possible to ever recover?

Most mainstream medical doctors say no.

A growing number of patients claim otherwise. They've managed to reverse their disease, usually through a combination of dietary changes and alternative medical treatments, such as homeopathy, herbal remedies, electromedicine and heavy-metal chelation.

Although some types of mild MS may temporarily go into remission, even for long stretches, the more serious forms generally don't. Someone, for instance, with Secondary Progressive MS, typically experiences a steady loss of bodily function.

But this is changing. The Internet now makes it easy for patients to connect with one another, swap stories and exchange medical information. The most useful bit of advice seems to be adopting a very strict diet. By changing their eating habits, even people who've been confined to wheelchairs for years have been able to regain mobility.

Stories of recoveries now abound. Some successful MS warriors have gone from severe disability to leading a normal life, and, consequently, have become crusaders on a mission to educate others. A few of them have written books about how they've successfully battled this mysterious condition, the cause of which is still unknown.

How Doctors "Discovered" MS

A disease characterized by brain lesions

Hundreds of years ago doctors did see patients with symptoms of what we now know as MS. But it wasn't until the late 1800s that a French neurologist named Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot noticed an identifying factor. During an autopsy, he saw unusual-looking lesions in the brain of one patient who'd displayed classic MS symptoms.

Shortly after the turn-of-the-century, other researchers viewed brain tissue with microscopic magnification. They also noticed abnormal lesions and damage to the myelin sheath that protects the neurons.

When myelin is damaged, the nervous system misfires and the result is often a diagnosis of MS or another neurodegenerative process. This damage is known as demyelination and what we see, as a result, are symptoms such as vision disturbances, lack of balance, weakness of the limbs and overwhelming fatigue.

Doctors have gotten much better at detecting MS, which is notoriously difficult to diagnose. This is complicated by the fact the disease can go underground and then flare up again.

No one is diagnosed after just one attack. Doctors look for at least two episodes of symptoms before someone is told they have MS. Actually, the only way to know for sure the disease is present is after death, when the brain can be studied.

Although mainstream physicians can't say what causes MS, since no one really knows, the general consensus, still, is that it can't be cured.

Some Patients are Leaving Their Wheelchairs Behind

Some Patients are Leaving Their Wheelchairs Behind
Credit: Flickr photo by Marcel Oosterwijk

The Amazing Recovery of Dr. Terry Wahls, MD

Cured with diet and other alternatives

Terry Wahls, MD, however, believes MS is very curable. She has recovered from secondary progressive MS, the most severe form of the disease that generally only gets worse.

She first learned of her diagnosis in 2000, and it was discovered to be an advanced form three years later, when her body began to rapidly deteriorate. Soon she needed a wheelchair for much of the day, although she could still walk a little bit using crutches.

Dr. Wahls spent four years, by all definitions, severely disabled. Realizing that conventional medicine didn't offer a solution, she threw herself into researching alternative therapies.

She regained her health largely by changing her diet to whole foods, rather than highly processed ones. Her meals now included a lot of fruits and vegetables and free-range, organic meats.

All of this was designed to restore the health of her mitochondria, tiny bodies in our cells that control various functions, and which need the proper nutrients to function well.

Before and after photographs of Dr. Wahls are the most convincing. In 2007, for the most part, she was confined to a wheelchair. Then she began to address various nutritional deficiencies. The 2008 photograph shows her riding a bicycle.

This can be seen in her book called Minding My Mitochondria 2nd Edition: How I overcame secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and got out of my wheelchair.

Daryl H. Bryant Makes MS Symptoms Go Away

Another advocate of a strict diet

Daryl H. Bryant is not a medical profession. He once worked for a software company in New York City. Then he left to start his own web design firm, which has enjoyed tremendous success.

He also developed MS during this time period. For years, he was able to ignore the fact that something was wrong.

Once diagnosed, he became extremely depressed. However, after adopting a healthier lifestyle, he was able to manage his symptoms to the point they're no longer noticeable.

Bryant has also written a book called MS Living Symptom Free, and he is now able to do just what the title claims.

Although he's not a doctor, he believes mainstream medicine has its place in the treatment of this disease. But he also tells readers there are certain things doctors won't tell you, such as how to regain your health, how to eat right and the importance of sleep and adequate physical activity.

Bryant's book includes dozens of recipes for anyone interested in controlling MS through dietary interventions.

Two Women Recover from MS

They collaborate a book about their experiences

Ann Sawyer and Judith Bachrach were both diagnosed with MS. They've since regained their health, or are in the process of doing so. Sawyer's disease was less severe than Bachrach's, so she was able to heal herself much faster.

The pair have also authored a book, The MS Recovery Diet, which describes about how they fought back against this often crippling condition.

These women believe changing their eating habits made all the difference. Although their book focuses on diet, it offers much more than meal-planning advice. Rather it's a roadmap for recovery.

The authors have included other success stories, which are just as inspirational as their own.

Sawyer's MS was considered relatively "mild." But she suffered fatigue and numbness in her feet that impeded her ability to walk.

Bachrach, on the other hand, was bedridden, after battling MS for nearly four decades. Her body became so weak that even sitting up in a wheelchair wasn't possible. Fortunately, she has greatly improved after adopting the diet described in the book. This is a strict menu without wheat, milk, beans, eggs and yeast. Some people, depending upon their particular sensitivities, must avoid other foods as well.

The book contains a lot of recipes, as well as other advice on how to make MS a more insignificant part of your life.

Sawyer describes a scenario with "The MS Worlds." One is filled with endless doctor visits and increasing debility. The other is a world of seemingly endless possibilities, such as taking a strenuous hike in the Grand Canyon, which Sawyer was eventually able to do.