Since the beginning, I was focusing on my gut as a cause and/or effect of MS. Attacks seemed to follow the same pattern: constipation, followed by stress, followed by MS attack.

Then, my skin. Psoriasis and eczema, all the time. It disappeared a bit after I started a Paleo AI protocol, but then started coming back with a vengeance.

As I’ve stated, I’m dedicated this year to quantifying everything. Test #2 was a stool analysis. I expected to learn I had some gut imbalance. But what I learned was more devastating and telling than I could have anticipated.

In short, my good flora was MIA. Gone.

Lactobacillus, No Growth

Bifidobacterium, No Growth

Escherichisia coli, 2+

And the bad stuff?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 2+

Citrobacter DIVERSUS, 4+

Bacillus cereus, 4+

gut

The bad guys are in charge. Of my gut. Of my immune system. Of the waste circulating through my body.

Is it a cause of MS? Probably. Is it my specific cause of MS? Most likely.

There’s this article that talks about the Role of the Microbiome in Nervous System Disorders: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24370461

There’s this article that implicates Pseudomona:s http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11687461

There’s this one too: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14597104

There’s this that makes the connection between EBV and gut bacteria: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=bacillus+cereus+autoimmune

Having good bacteria is important:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23274889

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21970527

The test also shows I’m low in n-Butyrate% and high in Acetate%.

And a generally high pH level.

I’m still digging into what all that means.

So, here I am. With a gut that is destroying me from the inside out, causing a haywire immune response and untold inflammation, along with some protein mimicry likelihood.

So what’s the battle plan?

Kill it. Then re-feed it.

A plant-based antibiotic that will kill it all, including any SIBO I may have (test incapable of detecting it)

A pharmaceutical grade probiotic

Butyrate supplement

Digestive enzymes

In addition, there are 9 more supplements.

No more tap water… reverse osmosis being installed.

No more stress. Stress kills good bacteria incredibly effectively.

Now – I’ve done a little bit of all of the above before. But never committed with the kind of purpose and intensity this will take.

I expect tremendous die-off. All I hope is that it doesn’t trigger an attack. Just flu-like symptoms.

Next, I expect all kinds of chaos in my gut. As I try to add things back in, I’m guessing it’s like sending lone paratroopers behind enemy lines – unarmed. It will take awhile.

All of these things are added one every 3-4 days.

Still on my AI Paleo diet, minus reactive foods and some FODMAPs.

So I retest in 4 months. I hope to see a marked difference. If not, it is time for the fecal transplant. Since this is not approved, I am making early preparations to do this at home.

So that’s that. A bit of a punch in the gut, but yet… hope. Here is my problem in black and white right before me. Bring balance back and I expect the MS will be put to bed.

Easier said than done. Stay tuned.

Told you. It picked the wrong guy.

The first set of results came in yesterday: it was a food sensitivity test. There are many versions of these tests, and mainly not very accurate. I took the MRT (Mediator Release Test), which has an increasingly good reputation for accuracy. My goal for this test is to figure out which of the foods I currently eat are still causing me inflammation issues, namely minor MS symptoms, gut issues (constipation, bloating, gas), and lingering skin issues.

When I first started the AI Paleo protocol, things seemed to clear up nicely. However, they continually revert back – and have been that way for some time. Clearly, something needs to change.

So the test was a simple blood draw, followed by about two weeks of waiting. This is what the results look like, showing foods and their level of reactivity.

Image

Some highlights:

I am highly reactive to avocado. The same avocado I have about a 3-a-day habit of eating. Given my dietary restrictions, this one is devastating to me.

Reactive to turmeric. An anti-inflammatory I’ve been taking daily may be causing more inflammation than reducing it.

Onions and garlic. I’ve been singing the praises of garlic, but apparently, I should personally reconsider.

Pineapple. Loved it for being anti-inflammatory and for its digestive properties, but… out.

Red meat. My treat was grass-fed beef. I love it. Truly. But, I’m reactive to it. Some of you on Twitter may recall that I increased red meat and got hit with a minor relapse. Might this be the reason?

All of this was news to me – eye opening. What now? It’s a diet that starts with the most non-reactive foods on my chart, and slowly builds upward, allowing my gut to further heal.

But this is ME here. So what does this mean for me? It is called a LEAP diet plan. So I’ll be combining that with AI Paleo to have an even more restrictive diet at first. But I may open myself up to adding foods back that I haven’t had, namely walnuts and eggs. This would help from a variety and a calorie standpoint, since I assume my weight will be in free fall.

Part of this plan will be to temporarily discontinue supplements. Frankly speaking, that scares me. This will likely be a compromise for me.

My hope? Stomach issues start to slowly decrease, skin clears up more, and of course, lingering MS inflammation symptoms diminish.

Next? Bloodwork and stool analysis.

Told you. It picked the wrong guy.

 

It’s been awhile. My apologies for that. It’s been a busy, productive, and (relatively) healthy year since my last post.

I’ve been busy on Twitter, but slacking big time here. But I’m taking a different approach this year, and truly need to document it all for you (and myself).

The short story: I’ve been making great improvements thanks to diet, exercise, supplements, stress relief, sleep, etc, but I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. I’m feeling generally very good, and I’m not getting any worse, but that’s not good enough for me. I want to continuously improve.

I’m still on an Autoimmune Paleo protocol, but last year I tried to tweak little things here and there, and some were more successful than others.

For instance: I tried a week of fasting, only consuming vegetable juice. Fatigue got the better of me on that one.

I tried a ketogenic diet because of all the positive research. It seemingly led to a minor relapse. Studies have shown that it can create inflammation at first – and I flew too close to the sun.

Now, I’m back to where I started: AI Paleo with low saturated fats.

So what’s next? I’m pursuing a slower, more methodical approach: Quantify everything first.

I’ve been keeping an electronic log of multiple things: diet, supplements, exercise, grading every symptom, fatigue level, depression level, bowel movements… like I said: everything.

The first conclusion from that data: my gut is still not good. For me, it’s constipation, bloating, etc. And (TMI), my stools float. Always have, it seems. It’s a symptom of malabsorption, which would mean leaky gut is still an issue.

Also, my skin. At first on the Autoimmune Paleo protocol, it cleared up. But now, psoriasis, bumps, strangeness… it’s back.

So I’ve added a functional doc to my team. We instantly clicked. And now we’re off and running. Here are the tests that are in the works for the next few weeks:

Food sensitivities. A simple blood test to let me know which foods I am sensitive to. Since I’ve eliminated nearly everything, this is more of a curiosity for me – and maybe reason to add a few things back (eggs? Nightshades?). But it will be telling of my past life’s issues.

Stool test. This is the one I’m truly looking forward to (as strange as that sounds). I’m convinced I have gut dysbiosis, and probably missing some key elements to my biome as well. Those who follow me on Twitter know how much I’d like to get a fecal transplant, but the FDA has intervened. It will be good to know if my bacteria are friendly or not, or merely out of balance – and to stop guessing. Note: I am doing 3 independent tests here. 1) part of a wide study to compare with the world population, 2) a comprehensive lab workup, and 3) a parasite test.

Bloodwork. Wider and more comprehensive than ever – I’m checking all levels of just about everything imaginable.

Hormone testing. This will be part of phase two testing in which I fully expect to see things completely out of whack because of a continually stressful life, but I will let the data decide.

23andme. I am awaiting these results, and will process this through a methylation program to suggest ways forward.

Stress/HRV. I’m using a heart rate monitor and an app to chart my heart rate variance in order to chart the most stressful times of my day. In other words, when does the flood of cortisol come rushing in for the day.

This is the start. I have been soaking in info for nearly two years now, and now I will have the personal information to create my own protocol to start moving the dials in the proper direction.

I will share the general results here for you, and let you know what it means and how I intend to improve/tweak the issues.

I feel blessed to live in this day and age of quantification, sharing, and action. I look forward to this chapter of the journey.

I thought I told you: you picked the wrong guy.

A collection of warrior quotes and my thoughts of how they apply to MS:

“You can prevent your opponent from defeating you through defense, but you cannot defeat him without taking the offensive.” -Sun Tzu

This is true of MS. You can go merely on defense (diet, stress relief, rest), or you can also go on offense (exercise, knowledge).

“Act like a man of thought; think like a man of action” -Thomas Mann

Learn as much as you can, but don’t simply sit on the knowledge. Act. Change. Battle.

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” -The Buddha

MS provides pain, but MS provides purpose and focus. Once you gain the purpose, your job is to face it every day.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Purpose. It’s so important. For me, it’s my kids and my wife. Taking care of them. Nothing can happen to them so I’m willing to face anything. Anything.

“Nothing is impossible to a willing mind” -The books of Han Dynasty

Listening to doctors and conventional wisdom about MS makes me feel more hopeless. Opening my mind to find people who are winning the fight allows me to think wider. I not only believe I can stop MS from further damage. I believe I can reverse existing damage.

“The fearful mind is the distracted mind, and can never operate at its full potential.”-Unknown

MS is scary. Powerfully scary. Like a terrorist living inside of your own body. But I’ve learned to drop the fear in favor of focus, which has made a tremendous difference in all aspects of my life.

“According to all the laws of aerodynamics the bumble-bee should not fly, but the bumble-bee does not know this and so flies anyway.”-Kung-fu principle

I may have lesions in my brain. I may have a compromised walk and some disabilities. But I still do everything I did previously. I am flying anyway, and intend to do so longer and better than I ever should.

“Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotion, because the body always follows the mind.” – Bruce Lee

There have been some emotional days when I’ve been overwhelmed with the beast. Sure enough, the body follows. When  I control my emotions, I can control my body.

“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.”-Sun-Tsu

This is what I’m working on. To stop the idea of a battle or a fight. MS must be subdued into submission without active fighting. If I’m at peace and prepared, MS will not dare try and fight.

Sept, 2022

Here I am at the most unlikely of places doing the most unlikely of things. Hawaii. Ironman. Not only did I finish, I did well. Competed. One of the best in my age group. Ten years ago, I thought this was impossible.

I was diagnosed with MS in June of 2012. Looking back, a crazy time in my life. But I applaud my levelheadedness back then. I could have easily gone off the rails and spiraled into a deep depression. There was a great community of folks with MS that I quickly bonded with, learned from, and absorbed as much positive info as possible. I am grateful to them to this day – and so happy to see their new lives as well.

I was originally put on Copaxone, a once-a-day injectable. It was OK, seemed to do the job, but an oral medication was introduced a short time after that. I took that for the next five years.

During that time, there were huge advancements in stem cell research – using our own cells to heal us and rebuild what we’ve lost. After years of trials, it was finally perfected and seen as the way back to health.

I never lost sight of hope during those years. Always ate incredibly well – cut out anything that might affect me. I exercised efficiently and did what my body allowed. There were attacks and increased symptoms, but I still considered myself fortunate. It could have been much worse.

Once I had stem cell treatment, I started coming back to life in ways I didn’t even realize I was affected. My energy level went up. My legs felt really strong – I seemed to do a half jog everywhere I went. I took about six months to get to full strength, and then I felt like Superman. And I wanted to use my powers ASAP.

I trained for today, and I’m so grateful. To friends. To family. To the miracle of medicine.

I’m also grateful to MS. Until I was diagnosed, I was largely sleepwalking through life. Now, I’m fully awake and will likely live a lot longer than I would have.

So past me, hang in there. There’s hope everywhere. You will be tempted to throw in the towel and give up the fight. Don’t you dare. This is too sweet for you to give up on.

Yours in peace, hope, and kicking ass,

YouPickedTheWrongGuy
P.S. the Detroit Lions still haven’t gone to the Super Bowl. Sorry.

I was asked to post my diet plan to combat MS. I’ve posted this for your benefit – and mine. This is a confusing world with a ton of information out there.

There’s a few things I need to say first. I’m a recent dx, so it’s not like I’m speaking from a long track record. I’m not 10 years on the diet with success. It’s merely a start, although I’ve seen very hopeful signs of improvement already.

It’s a combination of many different protocols, because I’m making the assumption that everything might be valid, and I don’t want to be wrong. It’s Swank meets Wahl’s meets Paleo meets anti-inflammatory. I now look at foods as one of two things: it’s medicine or it’s poison. No in betweens.

The diet is simple, but very restrictive. I don’t count calories, but I do count saturated fat. Less than 15 grams per day. Here’s why.

So first, here’s what I eat:

Pasture raised chicken and turkey (here’s why)

Wild caught fish, especially small fatty fish (here’s why)

Grass fed beef, on ocassion (here’s why)

Organ meats, once a week (Wahls is passionate about it. I now take them in small frozen pieces as supplements)

Vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables (here’s why) No nightshade veggies

Fermented vegetables (here’s why)

Sulfur-rich foods (here’s why)

Olive oil (here’s why)

Coconut oil (here’s why) note: I now use this for all cooking. Olive oil alters with heat.

Seaweed (Wahls is a huge proponent)

Low fructose fruits

Green Tea (here’s why)

Lots of water

And… that’s it. Like I said, restrictive. And expensive. I no longer eat anything out of the pantry – it’s all whole and fresh.

So here’s what I don’t eat:

Gluten (here’s why)

Soy (here’s why)

Dairy (here’s why)

Alcohol (myriad reasons)

Processed or prepared foods (because they contain a lot of the above, plus this)

Legumes (here’s why)

Farm raised fish (here’s why)

Grain fed beef (here’s why)

Nightshade vegetables and associated spices (here’s why)

High fructose fruit (here’s why)

Salt (here’s why)

Everything else not specifically spelled out above.

My current supplements

D3 (here’s why)

Omega 3 (here’s why)

Fermented cod liver oil (here’s why)

CoQ10 (here’s why)

Turmeric (here’s why)

Ginger (here’s why)

B12 -methylcobalamin (here’s why)

B6 (here’s why)

Probiotics (here’s why) I take soil-based

Padma Basic (here’s why)

Vitamin C (here’s why)

N-Acetyl Glucosamine (here’s why)

Alpha Lipoic Acid (here’s why)

Evening Primrose Oil (here’s why)

Magnesium (here’s why)

Protandim (starting soon)

That’s it. I’ll be revising/changing over time.

For every citation, there are a ton more, so I encourage you to self-educate. I will warn you, it’s confusing out there. This is my personal plan and I would never suggest that anyone else follows it. Do your own research and find out what works for you.

I’ll keep it updated.

Told you, it picked the wrong guy.

All my life – the super achiever.

School – straight A’s.

Sports – breaking records, winning state championships, on the world stage, pushing limits.

Business – winning awards, earning accolades.

My entire life has been about achievement up until…

MS.

It’s like a cruel cosmic joke. Attacking my body. My abilities. My mind. And no longer allows me to push past my limits – only up to them.

What now? If not achievement, what? That Ironman I wanted to do. That next piece of business I wanted to have. The pile of money I wanted to add to.

What about all of it?

I am stuck with simple things like loving my family. Reconnecting with friends. Helping inspire others. Taking advantage of the good days.

Perhaps I was never overachieving after all. Maybe I was merely achieving the wrong damn things.