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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 15 2017

From MS Diagnosis To TEDx Speaker Miracle

By Guest
64 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the age of 24, the only people I knew personally with this dreaded disease spent their young lives bedridden. I also feared this would be my life. Within 13 years of being diagnosed I became legally disabled due to the devastation MS caused to my body, and it appeared what I knew to be true would be my path.

Needless to say, I was scared and for most of my adult life lived a fear driven existence.

The highest form of disability a human can have is bilateral loss of their hands. By the age of 48, I was unable to use my hands to maintain daily life. I could no longer drive, lift, carry, turn, rotate or use my arms or hands beyond a single act. On a good day I could dress, feed and bath myself and that would be all. I had full-time help and people living with me.

My life was becoming unmanageable and fear increasing every day.

My neck became a huge issue, and I could not turn it left to right or look up or down. I lived in traction several times a week simply to stop the horrific pain of feeling like my head was being pushed into my neck. I used to pray for traction like an addict for a drug. It was the only way I could get any relief even if only for a few hours.

I also had a rib girdle that felt like a truck was sitting on my chest making each breath a challenge. To make life even more exciting I lost the ability to feel my bladder and the left side of my body from head to toe.

My body was failing. I was alone. I was going bankrupt due to healthcare costs.

By this point I was taking 24 pills a day and injecting with an MS disease-modifying drug every other day. My out-of-pocket healthcare costs averaging $37,000 year, not counting the cost of full-time help and having others live with me.

By 2008 when the market crashed in America I was now in a very dark place. I lost my home and feared being homeless, institutionalized, and I considered taking my own life.

Needless to say my life was desperate while living in constant pain and fear for each day.

I decided my life, as I knew it, was toxic.

It was at this time I decided to give up gluten. Within a few weeks my body started to love not having gluten so much that it presented a strong message for me to look at all the foods I ate.

As luck would have it Mark’s, Daily Apple was one of the 1st places I found online to help me navigate the idea of using food as medicine. Almost every time I asked Dr. Google a question the answer was found on a blog posted on the MDA. All of which felt like a lifeline because I was navigating this transition feeling very alone. Mark’s Daily Apple was part of a very small community of like-minded thinkers who took time to share his experience, which helped to inform my journey toward miracle status.

PBL Chopping

Literally, I was fighting with my doctors about using food as medicine.

My Western medicine healthcare teams were drug pushers and nothing else. They discounted diet and lifestyle from the word go, and each appointment only reinforced that my disease process had become the most debilitating form. They wanted me to accept where I was and make plans for where I was going, which was to be bedridden.

Mark’s Daily Apple gave me hope, purpose and direction to navigate the unknown road before me using food as medicine.

Within months of giving up gluten I decided to remove all processed foods, grains, refined sugar and dairy except grass-fed butter and goat/sheep milks based cheeses. These choices were inspired by Mark’s blog, which offered not only insight into the ‘why’, but also the ‘how’ and ‘what to expect.’

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I remember my 1st labs after about 6 months of following my primal inspired way of eating and my doctor calling me very upset. I needed to go on cholesterol medication and that my numbers were high. She used this blood work to once again reinforce her lack of support food could be medicine.

I was shocked my blood work was not better since I started my conscious journey. Immediately, I chose to go to Mark’s blog to find out more about cholesterol and, as luck would have it, I found exactly what I was looking for. Western medicine does not have the same lens regarding fat and cholesterol, so educating my healthcare team was going to be an ongoing practice.

This was the 1st time I brought my doctor a blog post explaining ‘my health care lens,’ and it was from Mark’s Daily Apple.

I hope by sharing my story it inspires others to know they are not alone and deserve health and happiness. I believe in all of us to live our dreams, and I am grateful for the community of like minds like Mark’s Daily Apple that continue to support this journey. I could never do it alone and am truly grateful. Namaste.

V Capaldi
TEDx Speaker, Influencer, Miracle
Top 50 Wellness Warriors Changing Healthcare in America
http://www.paleobosslady.com

handsTED

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64 thoughts on “From MS Diagnosis To TEDx Speaker Miracle”

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  1. What an inspiring story. I am always saddened to hear how western medicine does not support a healthy diet and exercise routine. So happy you took charge of your own fate and have such an awesome testimony to share. I will be sharing your story with my friends with disabilities.

  2. What a wonderful story. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. I guess you’ve proven that to be true!

    Unfortunately conventional, western medicine treats the disease and not the person. I am happy you found not only MDA but the courage to openly question those in the medical paradigm.

  3. “My Western medicine healthcare teams were drug pushers and nothing else.”

    Unfortunately, this is true almost across the board in the US. Today’s medical professionals rely almost totally on drugs (palliative treatment) and invasive, often-unnecessary surgeries. Food and lifestyle changes are given short shrift because there’s no money in it. The pharmaceutical industry literally owns our health care system, and that has become so unacceptable to many of us that we no longer use allopathic physicians as our primary providers.

    Thanks for your inspiring story. You offer words to live by.

    1. I know I am late to the party.
      I just wanted to add a new trend in this set up. I am seeing more and more healthcare systems hiring on a traditionally trained nutritionist and then pushing the patient off onto them when lifestyle and diet changes are brought up. The nutritionist is pushing the SAD food pyramid and peddling shakes, meal services and supplements that make a great deal of profit for the location and typically justify the hiring of said nutritionist. They also serve as CYA documentation that show noncompliance on the patient’s end if they choose to go on a Paleo or Keto type diet rather than the prescribed diet.

  4. Beautiful story. In a Paul Stamet youtube presentation he referenced a study with the mushroom Lion’s Mane and it was shown to increase myelin regeneration with statistical significance.

    1. Just bought a huge amount of this yesterday and a store in Venice, CA. Thank you for reinforcing Lion’s Mane. Namaste.

    2. Inspirational story Paleo boss lady! I’ve been searching for Lions Mane mushrooms myself but can’t find them anywhere, including the Asian markets. Can anyone reccomend a good quality Lions Mane supplement that can be bought online? I’m similar story — have MS ~3 decades. Changed diet to nutrient dense keto plus extended fasting, i.e. Longo protocol. I’m looking for every edge I can find to improve my health.

      1. In the Detroit area, there are several mushroom growers who sell lion’s mane mushrooms at the local farmers markets(Eastern Market/Royal Oak). It might be worth a check at your local market. Restaurants or produce supply houses might be other good places to ask around. Also, a local mushroom hunting club might yield some results, FWIW.

  5. The beginning of your story was my mother’s. Her MS initially manifested as headaches and cognitive issues. (Had she suffered a stroke? the doctors wondered. Did she have a brain tumor?). When she was put on disability in her early 40s, the diagnosis was dementia. It was another two years until the cause was identified as primary progressive MS. By age 50, my mother was quadriplegic, noncommunicative, blind, and unable to swallow. She suffered seizures regularly. We cared for at home with fulltime help until her death in 2012 at age 62. If only, if only, if only had we known back then what we know today. At 47, I am now the age at which my mother took her last steps and had her final conversation with me. So far, I do not suffer from autoimmune disease,although I have lived with the fear of developing it — and having it steal my life, as it stole my mother’s — since I was a teenager. Your story helps to lessen that fear. Continued blessings to you!

    1. So sorry to hear of the loss of your Mom and her unfortunate journey with MS. You might want to check out Dr. Terry Wahls and her Wahls Protocol which is also mentioned in PaleoBossLady’s website. Dr. Wahls suffered from MS and did/does a remarkable job helping others as well as herself recover from MS. It may help give you some insight. The best of luck to you—

      1. Thank you for these kind words. I’m a zealous follower of Dr. Wahls’s work!

    2. Don’t beat yourself up too much over what you could had done if you only had more information. Maybe nothing would had helped. Maybe it would. Maybe it was misdiagnosed or a combination of other conditions. It’s empowering to believe you can change your fate or someone else’s, but it can also be an unfair burden because sometimes really awful things happen to people that are not preventable or reversible and was not their fault in any way.

    3. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. My heart weeps. I am grateful to know you are well and this reality will not be yours. You have the power to heal and live a full life. I hope you can replace the fear with joy. I believe in you.

  6. It still amazes me that western doctors completely discount that food can cause illness, and food can cure illness. Your story is inspiring, thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much and it is shocking that the standard of care still discounts 100% the power of food to heal or hurt the body.

  7. Wow, amazing story and so happy for you! I’ve been reading these success stories for years and they just keep getting better. I’m curious if your doctors finally took you seriously after seeing all the positive changes. Or if they attribute your success to something else (like the drugs)

    1. My doctors made me sign legal documents stating they were not liable for me. They never came around and I no longer see any western med docs.

  8. Your story brought me to tears! You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your smile tells it all…

  9. Celebrating your success – and your choice to advocate for yourself and others. I teach Chinese Medicine and we covered MS this past week (including how to help patients heal through real food, paleo-primal eating and lifestyle). I’ll play your talk for my students in the week ahead – thank you!

  10. Such an inspiring story. I’m close to someone with MS and I know it can be a very daunting diagnosis. I’m glad you found a different path to follow than the one espoused by our allopathic medical system. Drugs, at least at this point, don’t seem to have much to offer the MS patient. Transitioning to a Primal type diet and giving up gluten can make a huge difference. Best of luck and hope for your continuing to find better health.

  11. Very inspiring
    And I with you good luck in this endeavor:

    “so educating my healthcare team was going to be an ongoing practice”

    it may be harder than winning the battle against the MS 🙂

  12. Such an inspirational story Ms. Capaldi. Thanks for NOT taking your life and sharing your successes. You are helping many people.

  13. I went Keto after reading Good Calories Bad Calories. I had secondary progressive MS. i needed a caregiver daily and had to quit working 10 yrs ago. since going Keto in September of last year i am working again and no longer need a caregiver.

    1. I’d love to hear more on your keto success, being a keto nerd (my daughter’s keto journey was recently featured on MDA). Did you read any papers on keto success with MS or case studies, or just felt that it was the right approach?

      1. The Wahls Protocol is keto based and many have had success. I saw Dr. Wahls TEDx. Plus Mark’s Daily Apple blog inspired me the most in the beginning talking about increasing fat and decreasing carbs being the best for heath but at the time I did not understand either to be keto to tell the truth.

  14. Surely the amount of energy you show when you speak (I watched your TedTalk) is evidence for the medical folk who discount the use of food as medicine. If only they would open their minds and really think about their patients for a change.

    1. I think legal liability scares them away most often. They must follow the standard of care which is drugs in America.

      1. Here Downunder (Australia) the doctors (well the ones I’ve seen) seem to be more open minded. Generally the view seems to be “Well give a try and and come back in six weeks or so and we’ll see where your up to”; or words to that effect.

      2. Interesting you say legal liability scares them away. My amazing neurologist said to me, when discussing treatment options for my autoimmune disorder, that he took an oath to “do no harm” when treating his patients. For that reason, he suggested maybe I should focus my efforts on stress reduction and being kind to myself before starting DMDs, because steroids and immunosuppressive medications could potentially harm me. I credit folks like you and Dr. Wahls for setting this into motion. He would not go so far as to say that AIP or other Paleo diets can put AI disorders in remission, but hey, it’s a start!

        Thank you for your continued efforts.

  15. So, so inspiring!! So happy that you took your health into your own hands and are seeing the amazing results!! Congrats!!

  16. I am so glad that you took your health in your own hands and found answers. Western medicine has no answers for dis-ease other than drugs, which then become a huge cycle of drug after drug, treating symptom after symptom. You go boss-lady!

  17. Wow, Im blown away by your story and how you are helping others by getting your story over.

    Food is medicine!!! Food is also killing us. Our story was recently featured on MDA: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/little-leafys-keto-diet-success-story/

    Ive also worked with schools across regions in the UK helping them to improve school meals, cooking skills and food knowledge. There is so much work still to be done. It is so very sad that it is the most deprived areas and the children there that are suffering the most. Life expectancy is lower and they are more likely to suffer from a number of devastating health conditions.

    I respect you so much for trying to bring food back to where it should be, at the heart of our home and our healing. Claire x

  18. I am curious…did she actually heal the MS??? It mentions her feeling better after dropping gluten (yea!) but the article didn’t say anything about whether she still does traction or has to wear a brace…keep up the good work!

    1. I have no symptoms of MS to date. See no healthcare professionals except a naturopath to check my blood and over see how amazing I am doing. I have healed all MS has thrown at me. You can learn more @PaleoBOSS on all social media and my blog http://www.paleobosslady.com

  19. Amazing. My mam has MS (she’s 71, diagnosed at 23), and unfortunately I found MDA’s too late for her (every part of her body (and mind) has been affected by MS (she’s now PEG fed; the junk they use for that is unreal) and she is of the generation who unfortunately believes pills and GP’s can cure everything and know what’s best. However it both angers and saddens me that the MS matters magazine she receives monthly from the UK MS charity never mentions diet as an option. Wonderful experimental drugs appear in every issue but never diet. Keep doing what you’re doing….We need more people like you