MS and Mythological Mends: Hope Is My Cure for Today

MS and Mythological Mends: Hope Is My Cure for Today

If I told you that standing on your head would cure multiple sclerosis (MS), would you do it? I am fairly sure you would find a way to do so.

At least once a week, I hear of a miracle cure for MS. Well-meaning individuals tout the latest and greatest discoveries. I smile, nod, and thank them for their insights. In my head, I roll my eyes. From specific diets to magic vitamins and medical miracles, I have heard them all.

Some suggestions are helpful. Many people recommend specific diets. I’m aware that dietary changes can ease some symptoms, but none of them are cures. I often find myself lost in defensive rhetoric explaining why something is not a cure or why I don’t practice it. I watch their happy expressions turn to confusion.

If only it were that simple. It is anything but. Simplicity and multiple sclerosis are antonyms: There is no quick fix, no hidden gem, no late-night twofer, no free ride. But there are disease-modifying therapies, lifestyle changes that help to improve quality of life, experimental studies, and international treatments yet to be approved for use in the United States.

A cure is coming — of this I am certain.

In the meantime, a great deal of confusion exists. I see it in the expressions of those whose ideas I dispel, in the eyes of the newly diagnosed, and in the faces of families who would sell everything they own to help a loved one.

I recognize it in my face when I look in the mirror.

When hope gives way to desperation, belief comes easier. The despair at losing my capabilities has left me vulnerable and open. It has led me to believe in false “profits” and their prophecies. Even I am human, and I hold on dearly to hope.

I will continue to believe.

Keeping faith can be hard during these times of the quick fix. It can be impossible to believe in a positive outcome when you witness how this disease changes you from the inside out. But I will wait. When that inevitable day arrives, I will share the news. I will run to everyone, to those I’ve left crestfallen and confused. I will take their hands in mine, look at them, and say, “This is what we have been waiting for.”

And this is the day that I knew would come.

***

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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Jennifer Powell is a health writer and weekly columnist on Multiple Sclerosis. Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism into real-life challenges facing the MS community. Prior to writing her column, Jennifer freelanced for several online periodicals including WebMD. When not writing, Jennifer enjoys volunteering with animal rescue, traveling and spending time with her Golden Retriever.
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9 comments

  1. Steve says:

    I wish I shared your optimism “that a cure is coming – that’s for sure”. Unfortunately the landscape of MS research doesn’t merit such a statement.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Steve,

      I will hold hope for both of us. Hope inspires me to live another day despite this progressive disease.

      Kindly,
      Jenn

  2. Peter D. says:

    How ironic that the by-line says “Jennifer imparts her hopeful optimism…” but then rolls her eyes. This article says to me, you can try a few things but don’t get your hopes up. We all have to wait until medical science officially announces a cure. Nonsense. I would say “Do and try anything (that isn’t too expensive and won’t hurt you,) including standing on your head. What have you got to lose? For example, high dose Biotin. Pilates. Why? Because at least you are TRYING rather than sitting back in total capitulation for the rest of your life. Do one thing every day to try to improve your symptoms. You never know. Here’s a thought. We have one huge global clinical trial underway around the world experimenting with all sorts of things. WE may find the cure before science does.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Peter,

      I think you are taking my words out of context. I roll my eyes when people suggest miracle cures. I certainly welcome suggestions.

      Thanks to a suggestion I modified my eating and removed many inflammatory agents.

      I will forever share my hopeful optimism. I may have transient moments I don’t feel it, but my essence remains.

      I appreciate your taking the time to read and respond. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if you are right about a cure!

      Kindly,
      Jenn

  3. Arthur says:

    Nice read, but unfortunately I have no hope or faith left. I would go to dignitas now only if my half orange would stop on insisting to stay by her side.

    • Jennifer Powell says:

      Arthur,

      I’m holding hope and faith for you. I mean that not in a trivial way. I mean that from my heart. There were times in my life the pain became so evil I, too, lost faith.

      My heart is with you.
      Jenn

  4. Mike Saulsbury says:

    Jennifer,
    Good morning. I have MS like symptoms caused by 2 TBI, 1st a car accident when 17 and when 52 was hit with neumencoccal meningitis. In 2014 after suffering severe nerve neck pain my Stanford neurologist (Dr Dunn) diagnosed me as having an imbalance of omega 6 vs omega 3 in my blood. He indicated the omega 6 was attacking the myelin sheath in my brain causing demyelination. I was taking 1800 mg of Gabapentin for the pain. I suffered from severe demyelination. After 3 months after changing my diet to one high in omega 3 and low omega 6 my ratio of omega 6:3 went from 76:1 in 2014 to 29:1 by March, 2015. My nerve neck pain stopped. I stopped taking the Gabapentin and a lot of the spasticity on my left side (damage from the car accident) has lessened.
    Now 5 years after the initial diagnosis I continue to improve. My recent brain MRI indicates the demyelination has stopped. The doctor advised that my brain is in better shape now than 2014. I continue to improve. I’m doing things I have not done since the cat accident in 1967. I have regained functionality and dexterity both in my left arm and leg. I am 69 and look forward to continued improvement.
    I have been truly blessed with a loving family and have gotten overwhelming support from family and friends.
    In 2014 I was initially diagnosed as having MS however after 2 months of testing the doctor ruled MS out.
    I have a lot more to share with you if you are interested. I cannot stress en

  5. Tom Harrison says:

    Dont wait for big pharma to come up with a cure. No money in it and they control the FDA. But, dont lose hope, do something about it.

  6. Nikki Nava says:

    Thank you Jennifer for putting your words to the attitude I fight my MS with every moment. I want to live my best life with Multiple Sclerosis because I have a choice about the first part, just not about having MS.

    Listening to my body is what I can do everyday for physical success. Having an incredible Neurologist that has my back and not afraid to make the hard/honest determinations is just as important. Unwavering strength and positive attitude are my best defense against this disease.

    I appreciate your glaring exposure of the good and bad moments of living with MS. Hope and a great disposition help me ride this MS beast.

    Again, much gratitude to you!

    Nikki

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