Natalie Shultz

Natalie Shultz

 
July 14 2015

MS Saved My Life

Natalie Shultz

We all have one and can recite it at a moments notice – our story. Our lives are made up of images, snapshots and moments we freeze in time, storing them in our brains that make up our stories. Some of those moments and images outshine others; some simply slip away, never to be remembered.

The day I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is now part of my story and, without a doubt, defines a big portion of who I am today. This is my multiple sclerosis story. This is only a part of my story, as I am so much more than MS.

Lying in the ER unable to walk or talk after being severely sick for a month, I got the news. Multiple sclerosis (MS). Well, I am not a dumb person. Sure, I had heard of MS, but honestly had no clue what it was. So I did what any normal human being of this day and age would do: I Googled non-stop for days. What I discovered horrified me and made me dig even deeper.

How could an incurable disease that attacks your immune system be treated with immune-suppressing drugs? Not only that, but the drugs all have terrible side effects! I have never been one to take medicine, and now I was being told I was going to have to inject myself daily and take multiple pills? No, thank you. I was bound and determined to fight this brain-eating disease with every ounce of life I had in me. I mean, hello, I was just starting my new life.

Let me back up just a wee bit for you. I had just survived a heart-wrenching divorce five years before that left me devastated, but also in a much stronger place. For four years, I carefully built a life for myself and my three children. Being a mom is by far the absolute greatest gift ever given to me and truly one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is my honor and pleasure to do so. This too is part of my story. I am a hands-on mom and dare anyone to challenge me otherwise, so being told I had an incurable disease was unacceptable.

From the best we can tell, I have been sharing the real estate in my head with MS since the year 2000, right after the birth of my second child. That is the earliest memory I can pinpoint of my symptoms. For several years, doctors tried to figure out what was going on. I was given antidepressants, anxiety drugs, told to exercise, told I had IBS, sent to the eye doctor, sent to the dentist, CT scans – blah blah blah.

I stopped going to doctors. I felt like I was getting nowhere, and fast. As my former life began to crumble and enormous amounts of pressure and stress built within my body, I began to have more trouble that started to affect my daily living. Of course, I was too stubborn and tainted from past experiences with doctors, so I excused every episode away.

I focused on rebuilding my life and doing things my way with no excuses, no regrets

I never quit. I am strong, relentless, loving and not at all the same person I was a year ago. I also married the man I believe was tailor-made just for me, at just the right time. After the birth of my children and the gift of this man in my life, I will never question if there is a God. Ever.

So these moments in time, these snapshots are what make up my story. They are deep and wide. Unfortunately, they are slowly being stolen from my brain piece by piece by MS.

In my search of what to do to care for myself and how to treat my MS, I discovered Dr. Terry Wahls and her book, “The Wahls Protocol.” It became my lifeline in a world that could easily have swallowed me up if I allowed it. I have never thought Why me? or even cried for myself. That would have been a waste of good energy, and with MS, we must conserve our energy for the things that matter most (check out “The Spoon Theory”). My story continues as I hang on to the memories of days past and feel blessed for each new one.

I read Dr. Wahls book in two days and immediately began adopting the belief that real, whole food was going to be my MS medicine. I started implementing the third level of her lifestyle, called Wahls Paleo Plus. Within days my symptoms started to dissipate.

I had energy return to my once lifeless body. I began to walk straight. My slurred speech began to improve. It was working. Weeks into it I had some cool side effects from my food medicine: my hair got thicker, my nails were stronger, my skin looked more youthful, and the extra weight that had piled on over the previous two years started melting off.

To this day, I am constantly referring back to the book and studying how I can eat better and be better than I was the day before. I will never go back to my old lifestyle. MS truly saved my life.

Today, I am stronger than I have been in years. I am on zero meds. I ask for no pity. I believe in positive thoughts. I work full-time. Live with three crazy teenagers and one amazingly patient husband. Life is good.

I shall continue on with my story, it may look different than I envisioned, it but that does not make it bad or even any worse. What it makes me a multiple sclerosis warrior is real, whole food and the healing powers they have on our amazingingly resilient bodies.

Cheers to all our stories!