Hope drives living with MS as a family, as well it should.
In our story, the Swank Diet was about all there was for MS when Patti was first diagnosed back in the 1980’s. Roy Swank, MD (1909 -2008) was a neurologist who began studying the correlation between diet and MS in the late 1940’s.
As the in-house chef I found the Swank MS Diet somewhat of a pain to prepare
1) Saturated fat should not exceed 15 grams per day.
2) Unsaturated fat (oils) should be kept to 20-50 grams per day.
3) No red meat for the first year.
4) After the first year, 3 oz. of red meat is allowed once per week.
5) Dairy products must contain 1% or less butterfat unless otherwise noted.
6) No processed foods containing saturated fat.
7) Cod liver oil (1 tsp. or equivalent capsules) and a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement are recommended daily.
Preparing was just a function of cooking. The problem was in enforcing. Only if I became a Swank Diet nazi was this going to be given a fair chance. From visitors to calling for carry out, Patti greeted such violations as her dietary salvation. Plus we had a toddler daughter at the time and between her and her friends the diet was ignored. Meals on Wheels supplied Patti both lunch and often companionship but NOT the Swank Diet.
While I understood the anecdotal logic behind it, Patti needed instant gratification and found socialization in eating with visitors and family more appealing. I still chuckle about the day I got a call at work from a neighbor who was called by Patti because “I was starving her” and could she bring over some food, a bottle of wine, and some cigarettes. 🙂
Soon we were off on more manageable alternative treatments for MS. Patti’s parents generously paid for and accompanied her to Hans Nieper’s clinic in Hannover, Germany where treatment with Calcium EAP was producing miracles for patients with MS.
Patti left the US confined to her wheel chair unable to walk, and in two weeks stunned our daughter and myself as she ‘walked’ through the airport returning to the US.
Home maintence after returning to the US was a problem because of the provincial nature of US medical professionals. Patti’s treatment necessitated every other day intravenous injections of Calcium EAP. NO medical professional in the US would even go near the stuff. Fortunately my cousin, who was an RN, and taught me how to give intravenous injections. I still chuckle at my brother’s original encouragement – “how hard can it be? Stoned out junkies laying in alleys can do it.”
I got to be pretty good at it, unfortunately after a about a year the early dramatically successful results began to fade. Symptom progression began again.
Following a news story of local woman who went from bedridden with MS to walking, we turned our attention to Bee Venom Therapy. I would sting Patti with honey bees 22 times every other day using a modified acupuncture chart.
Here again immediately following the advent of Bee Venom Therapy, Patti’s MS symptoms receded. The principal involved is that the immune system is kept busy attacking bee stings and will leave the myelin sheath surrounding the nervous system alone.
Ingesting Benadryl beforehand and icing down each target before and after the sting generally minimized pain. It actually became a family activity with me catching a honey bee from a box with a pair of tweezers and placing it on Patti to sting her. Our daughter stood quard with a butterfly net with a slice of apple in the bottom, for any escapes who flew right into the trap.
Actually Bee Venom Therapy held back MS symptom progression for over two years, longer than anything else alternative or pharmaceutical. Sorry no easy pills to pop – the bee venom can only be produced by the act of stinging.
Living with MS as a family surrendering was not an option for Patti. Patti tried anything to fight progression since her continuing progression negated eligibility for Big Pharma options.
Her neuro around 2000 found a German study with some promising results on patients with progressive MS. Fighting with our medical insurance and prescription carrier they approved two years pending consistent noticeable results. Unfortunately there never were any results as dramatic as Calcium EAP or Bee Venom Therapy and funding for Avonex was aborted.
Finishing this I’m smiling at pushing and rolling Patti through the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show where she became a ‘celebrity bzzz‘ at the Bee Keepers Association booth fielding questions in her inimitable style.