News from January 2013
Caretakers and caregivers play a major role in maximizing the health and quality of life of more than 30 million individuals with acute and chronic illness. They are such wonderful people providing assistance with daily activities, helping manage patient care, or just being an awesome motivator and support system. Caroline Kyriakou brings you another awesome blog post dedicated to appreciating her husband Abe, who has helped her manage the physical and emotional aspects of MS. Together they are superstars raising awareness for MS:
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006. It was a scary time as I didn’t know anything about MS. I leaned on Abe, my husband, and together we did a lot of research online. I was disappointed that the only therapies available at the time were “injectables” as I quickly learned I had a fear of needles. It was important to me to start on a therapy as soon as possible and that meant getting a shot. My neurologist and I decided on a weekly intramuscular injection. I was given a DVD to watch and was told a nurse would come to my home to teach me and Abe how to give the shots. We bought oranges to practice on with the nurse’s instruction and I would be receiving my first injection. At first it didn’t seem so bad when it was the orange getting an inch and half needle piercing through its skin! When it came to my turn, however, my new fear overtook me. I had gotten shots at my doctor’s office before and have a few tattoos, but this was different. I already knew there was no way I could inject myself so Abe volunteered. He really stepped up as my caretaker.
The next week it was just me and Abe. We made the preparations exactly as the nurse taught us and planned to inject into my thigh. However, right when Abe would get to the “1” in the countdown I requested I would swat my hand at him that I wasn’t ready and needed more time. He told me the sooner I got the shot the sooner it would be over with. It sounded reasonable, but again fear over took my body. I don’t know how long it took, but eventually I had the shot. Many weeks were like this. I was on this therapy for a year and a half and that whole time I couldn’t give myself the shot. My fear was so strong that I couldn’t even look at the needle without feeling nauseous. During this time Abe was my rock. I truly counted on him as my caretaker to help me try to slow down this disease. Every week he would make all the necessary preparations as I would try to relax in another room. As soon as the shot was over, I would start to have anxiety about the next week’s injection.
After that year and a half I switched my therapy to a once a month infusion. Abe has been with me to every infusion appointment and every neurology evaluation. I still get nervous around needles but having an IV placed is much less stressful for me than a long needle! Abe and I have been fighting against MS together since day one, and he has always given me support in any way I need. I have a found a passion to raise MS awareness over the last few years and recently started blogging and mentoring the newly diagnosed. I also started a Facebook support group that Abe co-manages called Friends Against the MonSter. Abe and I have participated in Boston’s Walk MS for 4 years and will continue to fund-raise until a cure is found. I feel so fortunate to have a great support system and to know that Abe is there for me today and everyday!
We are excited to share the official theme, Love to Erase MS , of the 2013 Race to Erase MS Gala. The event will take place on May 3, 2013.
Find out how to earn tickets to come celebrate our 20th Anniversary Gala with us!
An effective treatment for multiple sclerosis symptoms was first introduced in 1948 by Dr. Roy Swank. It is a methodological alternative that uses dietary interventions to treat MS.
Well over 60 years ago, Dr. Swank developed a low-fat diet that had restrictive saturated fats and polyunsaturated oils. Back then, his research noted that his MS patients that consumed the diet lead a more productive and healthier life. By restricting fatty meats and red meats, and increasing vegetables, fruits, and grains, the diet seemed to alleviate many of the chronic symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. Many of the first patients treated with this diet remained ambulatory and continued to lead independent lives following the regimen.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Too many individuals around the globe suffer from the symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis. Although the symptoms vary widely, they affect nerve fibers in a variety of locations. The symptoms can include:
• Numbness and Weakness – Many people that suffer from multiple sclerosis tend to have weakness or numbness in at least one limb. It often occurs on just one side of the body or specifically on the body from the waist down.
• Loss of Vision – MS suffers often experience a complete or partial loss of vision. It usually happens in a single eye at a time and is accompanied by pain whenever the eye is moved (optic neuritis).
• Blurred Vision – Double vision or blurred vision is often a symptom of multiple sclerosis.
• Fatigue & Dizziness
• Electric-Shock Sensations – The sensation of electric shock can occur whenever there is movement of the head.
• Tremors – Often a result of a lack of coordination, tremors are experienced along with an unsteady gait.
Individuals that suffer from multiple sclerosis, especially during the early stages of the disease, often experience continual relapses of symptoms. This may be followed by extensive periods of partial or complete remission. However, many of the symptoms and signs of MS can be triggered or made worse by the elevation of body temperature.
Dr. Swank noted that there are many foods that need to be avoided including butter, margarine, lard, shortening, coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter. Additionally hydrogenated oil and imitation dairy products seem to exacerbate many of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Although there are various theories that attempt to explain the how and why a diet seems to control the severity of many of the multiple sclerosis symptoms, no one really knows why. However, the bottom line is that many people that follow the Swank Diet tend to live a healthier life, work longer, and walk significantly better than those that do not. Early detection is shown to help slow its progression.
The Swank Diet consists of a variety of dietary eating conditions that include:
• Saturated Fats – All saturated fat should not exceed an amount of 15 g each day.
• Unsaturated Fats – The total of all unsaturated fats (oils) needs to be minimized to 20-50 g each day.
• Avoidance of Red Meats – For the first year, no red meat should be consumed. After that, a maximum of 85 g or 3 ounces of red meat can be consumed every week.
• Dairy Products – All consumed dairy products must never contain more than 1% butterfat.
• Processed Foods – Consumption of processed foods cannot contain any saturated fat.
• Omega-3 – Cod liver oil, cod liver oil tablets and oily fish should be consumed along with mineral supplements and multi-vitamins as recommended every day.
• Wheat & Gluten – The consumption of wheat, gluten, or dairy products are not restricted on this diet. However, any food that causes an allergic reaction needs to be avoided.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
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