Never give up. Never Surrender!

I’ve been a musician most of my life and when I was diagnosed with MS in 2002 I was about to play in a band made up pf co-workers for a Halloween party at a non-profit organization. I ended up bowing out prior to it though because MS had my left side numb and with muscular weakness in my left arm and hand.

I had two choices at that point and they were basically, accept the diagnosis and surrender to my disease or, tell my brain and limbs to find another way because I am not giving up my passions and especially one like music where no mater whether one plays it or listens to it, therapy and meditation are built-in. So I kept trying to play guitar, no matter how uncoordinated or bad it sounded, and willing my brain and limbs to do what I told them to do.

In 2002, I had no idea what neuroplasticity AKA brain-plasticity was or that when challenged enough, the brain can and will reroute neural pathways in its healing process. Deep down, I thought of my dad. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and his hands were clinched closed as part of his condition. He wanted to play the home piano so he taught himself how to play notes with the first knuckle of each thumb. He kept on doing this and eventually the “impossible” happened his hands started to open to where eventually, he had full use of his fingers. He ended up playing the organ all over the south and here in Seattle. Google CP organist and you will see him playing when he was in his 60s.

As for me, I got back my music after several months of practice. Like my dad, my shear determination invoked neuroplasticity and my neural-pathways were rerouted. 13 years later, (this year) I saw the ways and means to give back and so, which the help of the awesome MS Center at Swedish Medical Center’s Neurosciences institute, I started Get Back Your Music (GBYM) for MS, Parkinson’s and other neurologically challenged musicians. The free GBYM sessions are jam sessions and focused exercises for the affected limbs but are low key and fun for all. My only job there is to act as proof neuroplasticity works and to be a jam session partner to one or more musicians. Google Get Back Your Music Phil See and you will see a drummer with primary progressive MS. We started this in April of this year, the YouTube video was done in May and she is now doing things on the drums that she hasn’t been able to do in a couple of years.

Finally; diet has been huge for me. All humans run off the same chemicals and these natural chemicals come from food. The western diet puts too much animal protein in the form of meat and dairy products in our diets and processed food companies are putting unnatural combinations of chemicals in to foods to preserve them and to fool our taste buds. I believe these unnatural chemical combinations are acting as a catalyst for waking up diseases like MS, Parkinson’s cancer, fibromyalgia and many others. In short, garbage in/garbage out. Go organic vegetarian or at least cut animal protein down to 5% or less per serving.

One last thing, I have never taken MS medicines nor have I ever needed to. Never give up. Never surrender!

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