Looking for a Nutritionist who...
Does individual nutritional consultations for all ages, understands MS and works with elite athletes?
Looking for a Speaker who...
Does motivational, environmental and/or nutrition presentations?
Contact Crystal Phillips from Branch Out Nutrition (contact info above)
Part 2 of 6
I referred to Dr. Masaru Emoto for his research on the molecular structure of water crystals. Using high-speed photography, Dr. Emoto found that crystal formed in water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on labels all had an impact on the crystal structure.
Here are a few of his examples...
On August 28th, I was asked to do an inspirational talk at the "Skate Like a Girl" camp at the Olympic Oval, Calgary. I had a whole hour and decided to tell my story on how I managed to overcome many obstacles in sport and with my MS and what lessons I learned along the way. It was such a rewarding experience and I look forward to learning from and improving my public speaking skills as I do more. I hope my message can be taken and applied to anyone's life hurdles in some way or another....
The following video is part 1 of 6. I will post a new video each week as the presentation is quite long.
-Numbness and tingles in muscles not ligaments
-I was actually 18, not 17, when I first lost feeling from my chest to my toes.
-Named Laura not called Laura :|
One of the consistent symptoms of mine throughout the past 5 years of living with MS is twitching/loss of sensation/muscle spasms/weakness/numbness in my left leg. So I often refer to my left leg as "ol lefty". Otherwise, no I do not talk in third person!
Anyways, as I am getting back into a consistent training regime I have noticed a worsening of all these symptoms in my left leg, especially after a running program. Well I have good news! Last week I went for an overdue visit to my Chiropractor, Richard Robinson. I think Harry Potter is a more appropriate name for him as it feels like he performs magic after I see him, BUT this was only after a couple days of pain and fear... I got an adjustment on my back and neck last Thursday (Aug. 12th) . For the following 2-3 days all my symptoms were worsening, especially the leg twitches. I started to think something went terribly wrong and that I might be going into relapse. I decided to wait it out and ice my lower back. Sure enough I felt like a new person come Sunday. Today (Aug. 17th) I did running sprints and can say that for the first time this summer I did not experience ANY symptoms in ol lefty during or following the workout.
A million thumbs up to Chiro for MS! Now we need to figure out wether the problem is pressure on the veins or nerves or both...
It's been about three weeks since I got back from India and it has taken a long time to get back into a routine and a different routine then I have ever had before. In the past, my typical summer day consists of waking up and eating, training, eating, napping, training, eating, sleeping. ahhh so simple!
Things are a little different now for a few reasons. A) I just started training this week in comparison to starting in May. Because of my last relapse of losing vision and sensation in my left leg I have had to take a much longer off season. B) I am trying to find a new path to healing, starting with finding a neurologist/doctor/naturopath or healer of any sort with a scientific yet wholistic background and approach. C) I am living in Edmonton for the summer with my parents and working in a big kid job in St. Albert as a performance nutritionist.
So if you were wondering why I'm behind with my blogging, now you know :)
A) Training- For the first time since I moved to Calgary in 2003, I am training somewhere other than the Olympic Oval and without my team and coach. This has prevented me from getting too anxious about being behind in my training and given me the opportunity to really focus on myself and reading my body as I slowly ease my way back into training. I usually would have started full time training in May but this year my first day back was 3 days ago (July 26th). Because of my MS and my last relapse that is still affecting me, I need to make sure I do not push my limits.
Overall, my body feels super healthy and fit. I can recover well between training and work up a good sweat and leg burn in my workouts. The only thing that is holding me back, I am also finding very strange... I have not had full vision in my left eye since I lost it all in April due to my MS (Optic neuritis). Over the past few months my vision has come back to about 60% EXCEPT when my heart rate goes up. So within a few minutes of training I lose almost 100% vision again in my left eye but the rest of my body feels healthy and normal. Does this not sound like a circulation problem?? Now if only a doctor would take an interest in this and not just tell me "oh ya that's a phenomenon with Optic neuritis. Go on Drugs" Hmmm I guess this leads to B)...
B) New Path to Healing- Since being home, I saw a new neurologist who was no different than my current one, so not super open-minded. It was recommended for me to go on a drug called Rebif. I am not completely opposed to going back on drugs but I want to be going back with confidence and not only out of fear for my future. Apparently that is a hard concept for most doctors I have seen to realize. Anyways, my next step is to book an appointment with my chiro Richard Robinson as my symptoms are always alleviated after he does his magic and then I am thinking about trying the private route and booking an appointment with Dr. Hoffman at the Hoffman centre in Calgary.
C) Living in Edmonton-So I am back living with my parents in Edmonton for the summer and its actually awesome! Since I moved out when I was 16, I never got to that stage where living at home was annoying and parents are taken for granted. Now I get to go golfing with my dad (on his tab :) and come home after a long day of work with dinner (cooked by mom) waiting for me on the table. But not just any dinner, dinner made from my moms products of her green thumb!!
I am also working as a nutritionist at an elite sports performance training centre called Athletes Nation in St. Albert (https://www.athletes-nation.com/programs/nutrition.cfm). I get to work one-on-one with pro athletes and soon to be pro's in many different sports, write a weekly health column and speak at nutrition seminars. All this work with nutrition has also helped me stay very regimented with my personal diet.
As I get used to my temporary new routine, I will have more time to keep my updates going on my website. Check out the new album with pictures from India (even more to be added) and two new "news" articles.
"Never Fear, The Cure is Near"
I came across the perfect Dalai Lama quote today:
"I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe."
I am now back home and finding it hard to break the news to so many that I did not get "liberated". It reminds me of when I would come back from a speed skating competition and have to answer the common question asked upon my return: "Did you win?". Well no I didnt BUT I gave it my best, I got a new personal best time, learned that I should pace myself better, got to travel and met few new friends! Then I go back to training and figure out what needs to change so that I improve my results the next time. I know I can not win them all but It`s still fun,challenging, keeps me modest yet still motivated.
Same deal for my health now. I am currently reassessing my situation. I am trying to mostly focus on the bright experiences in India and when I have darker moments I focus on what I learned from my Indian journey and think about how the new knowledge I gained will help me in my continued search to my ultimate goal....a cure.
So I will follow the Indian way of thinking, "Let It Be" and not judge the universe for the way that things unfolded for me at the Max Super Specialty Hospital and keep moving forward.
This country is more confusing than the lyrics to "I am the Walrus" and definetely a good distraction to my occasional negative thoughts and fears about my health. It is also extremely grounding being here, surrounded by poverty, pollution and overpopulation. I feel like the luckiest human on earth here but my heart is repeatedly broken at the sights I am witnessing.
I have now left the city of 14-17 MILLION people and made it to a city called Udaipur (aka White City). Me, my parents and Shannon took off a couple of days ago on a train to Jaipur (aka Pink City) where we saw some beautiful architecture and a wall that mimics the wall of China but on a smaller scale (obvs). We then took an overnight bus to Udaipur and fell in the love with the city for its beautiful landscape, cleanliness (esp. compared to Delhi) and Lake Palace view from the rooftop patio of our charming little hostel. My parents are heading back to Delhi tomorow but me and Shannon are planning to stay a couple extra nights here to explore the city some more. Donna and Chris are staying in Delhi so that Donna can go to physio at the hospital everyday. She is still feeling and looking great!
my continued quest for a cure...
I am not counting out CCSVI but am excited to continue trying new things (preferably natural) to optimize my health. There is a seriously interesting and wide range of healing approaches in the world. As a natural nutritionist and student in herbology, these different healing systems naturally fascinate me!
Tomorow, I am going to be meeting with an Ayurvedic Doctor and yoga master on the rooftop of my guest house at 6:00am where he will lead a yoga class for me, Shanon and my mom. Probably not my dad. I will then meet with him about an Ayurvedic healing approach for my MS. Ayurveda and Yoga are sometimes considered to be sister sciences of ancient India. Ayurveda is related to healing the body using the natural therapies and medicines whereas yoga is considered to be the science of mind and the body purification. But the two very well compliment each other in their own unique ways.
Off to watch the sunset colour the city with a cold Kingfisher in hand :)
Brace yourself for goosebumps and happy tears....
I first met Donna only about 5 weeks ago. She has this contagious energy that makes you want to be her friend within the first 5 seconds of meeting her. She is witty and spunky and the perfect team mate to go on this journey to India with. I was diagnosed with relapsing-remmitting MS and Donna suffers from progressive MS meaning she does not recover from her relapses. It broke my heart when I met her for the first time and watched her struggle to walk even with a cane and her hero husband Chris to hold on to. She is trapped in her own body and suffers a scroll worth of symptoms every day. I am not suprised that she was also not willing to wait the estimated 8-10 years for Canada to get their act together and go get tested abroad, with me:)
Well, I must say that seeing her yesterday will put my visit to the Taj Mahal to shame. She not only has full feeling back in her hands and feet but I watched her with my whole eye ;) get up from a chair without assistance and walk for the first time in 7 years without assisstance.
Dear Canada; Wake up!!!!!!!!
In a few hours I will finally be discharged from the hospital and free to see India for the first time. I can just imagine how grounding it will be to see what the majority of the population lives like.
Donna is doing really well with noticeably more feeling in her hands and feet. This is a good sign and I have a feeling that it is only the beginning of her improvements. I only got to see her briefly yesterday but will, of course continue updating on her progress.
It’s been quite the emotional roller coaster for me so far but thanks to all my friends, family, hospital staff and all of you back home sending me encouraging messages; my tears have been few and far between. My results a couple of days ago may have been disappointing at first but it’s now time to re-group, re-focus and find a new direction on my journey to find a cure. This is just the beginning down this long and winding road and I look forward to and feel positive about my future and the future of MS.
Do I still think CCSVI research is important for me personally? Absolutely
Would I recommend for all MS patients to get tested as soon as possible? Definitely
Would I recommend The Max Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi to others? No question. Yes!
Will I continue to Fundraise? Of course. I want to not only help other MS patients get tested and possibly treated but also help fund studies on MS and CCSVI that are taking place around the world.
Will I continue to skate? Yes, for as long as I am able and for as long as it makes me happy
Off to the Indian markets!!
Well, we got good news and/or bad news depending on how you look at it. I was the first to get wheeled away to get a venogram and possible surgery. The experience was fascinating. I was under local anaesthetic so I was awake through the whole procedure. I know this sounds cheesy but it`s actually true….when I got anxious on the surgery table while watching the doctors prep, these alarm bells would go off when my heart rate was too high. I first tried visualizing qualifying for the Olympics but I think that made my heart increase even higher so then I imagined and could actually hear my roomy Laura`s beautiful and soothing voice with Evan and Andre playing the guitar and bongo in the background. Within a couple of seconds, my heart rate actually dropped about 10 beats and I smiled to myself at the thought of how powerful the mind is. Thank you `Her and Us` for the help ;)
The surgery then began with a little needle prick in my groin to numb the area. There was no further pain but a couple weird experiences…the first odd feeling was when I was asked to hold my breath while the dye spread into all the veins in my brain. I came so close to passing out and definitely spaced out for a long 5 seconds before I was fine again but a little freaked out. The second weird feeling was when something was in my jugular veins and I could feel my veins flickering, weird. Thank fully Dr. Hussain, my surgeon, was amazing at pep talking me and making me feel as comfortable and confident as possible. There were also about 8 other doctors and nurses watching the procedure intently and treating Dr. Hussain with the utmost respect. He is clearly very experienced and looked up to around here.
Unfortunately, all the screens were on the left hand side and because of my poor vision in my left eye, I had to wait until everything was over before I could see the images and my prognosis. You`re probably annoyed that I have not told you the results yet, so here goes: “There is nothing significant enough to give me reason to go forth with the Liberation Treatment.” -Dr. Hussain. He then showed me the images. The only potential abnormality is that my left Jugular vein is about half the width of my right. This sounds very abnormal to me but apparently it`s not, necessarily, so no liberation for me.
Then it was Donna`s turn. I tried to put on a brave face for her as we passed and I feel really bad that I could not quite hold it together. The disappointing news about my results was very fresh, about 5-10 minutes fresh. Donna cried with me and Swati (administrator who helped me book everything) but then was able to wipe the tears, re-group and crack a few jokes as they wheeled her into the surgery room. Gotta love her!! After waiting for about 5 hours to hear Donna`s results, we were all very happy to hear that she was liberated! She had about 64% and 52% blockages in her right and left jugular veins. It took a few tries to keep the veins open which they finally did without the use of a stent. It is too early to tell whether or not Donna`s symptoms improved but wouldn’t it be something to see her walking again!!? I`ll be sure to update you on her progress.
As for me, yes I am a little upset and disappointed but I got what I came here for….results. And these results will be some of the first to help doctors and MS patients around the world to find the link between CCSVI and MS.
-Maybe you can have blockages that come and go
-Maybe my disease will only improve from here on
-Maybe there are many different disease that are currently all labelled as MS
-Maybe the size of my Left jugular IS abnormal for me and will have to get that fixed in the future
-Maybe there is and will never be any link between my MS and my veins
My results today may not be what I was looking for but like Dr. Hussain said….. “Having no major blockages may be a good thing for you. This may mean that you will not progress with your disease or at least not for a while” he also talked about the power of the mind. Yes, this scientific genius doctor was telling me that there is no surgery or drug out there that is more powerful than your own mind. I thought he was the Dalai Lama himself when he took the time to give me this incredibly powerful pep talk about believing in one`s self and to always take the positive route in life. He also told me to dream bigger than my biggest dreams. I later got a glimpse of his office and noticed a picture of Dr. Hussain and his assistant Swati with the Dalai Lama.
It is now 11:15 pm in Dehli on June 23rd and me and the whole Canadian crew could potentially be out of the hospital as early as tomorrow to continue our adventure in India, but this time without needles and unflattering pj`s.