March is MS Awareness Month: Wahls Warrior™—Part 1
To kick off MS awareness month, I am sharing a guest post from Wahls Warrior™ and Wahls Protocol® Health Practitioner Lisa Lovely:
In this three-part blog series, my intention is to share my perspective as a patient, practitioner, and ambassador. In part I of this blog series, I will briefly share my experience with implementing The Wahls Protocol® as a patient and how a Wahls Protocol® Certified Health Practitioner would have greatly benefited my experience. In part II of this blog series, I discuss my journey from patient to practitioner and how I use the Wahls Protocol® as a base in my practice. In part III of this blog series, as an ambassador for Dr. Terry Wahls’ message, I aim to share how I seek to be an ambassador of both the patient and practitioner perspective.
First and foremost, I am a patient. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 8 years ago after experiencing Optic Neuritis. I was blind in my left eye for three long months. At the time, I had a 4 and 2-year-old, was training for the Seattle to Portland bike ride (200+ mile ride), and enjoying my life as an incredibly active mom and wife.
There I was, a 33-year-old vibrant woman suddenly thrust into the world of dis-ease. I found myself shuffling from doctor to doctor, dealing with a life-altering diagnosis, being presented with treatment, hoping that out of everyone I saw that someone would know what to do so life as I knew it could get back to normal. Fear consumed me from my very first appointment as I was handed three binders of medication and told to choose one. Being an educator, I tried to educate myself in the unfamiliar world of Multiple Sclerosis. Yet, I found myself immediately educated and inundated in pharmaceuticals, overwhelmed with fear, and submerged in uncertainty.
I recall my time of diagnosis being an incredibly turbulent yet orderly time. The turbulence being donned the label of the dis-ease, accelerated pressure of the treatment options, and the swirling symptoms that accompanied it. The orderly being me, the omnipotent observer of my life, watching myself from outside my body seemingly unaffected by the absolute disorientation and chaos bestowed by my disease within it.
I spent 6.5 years declining, the climax of my decline being that I had to quit my teaching job because my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms became so debilitating. This was devastating to my mind, body, and soul and an enormous economic burden to my family.
Enter The Wahls Protocol®.
I’ve spent the last two years thriving from the moment I implemented The Wahls Protocol®. I am beyond grateful for Dr. Wahls sharing her message with the world. I am so thankful that her TedTalk, “Minding Your Mitochondria” https://terrywahls.com/start/ came across in my search one day.
My body experienced an incredible resurgence as I attempted to rebalance the imbalance of my disease. My experience on the protocol was so impactful that I changed careers from my established career as an educator to a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, wrote a book about my experience on The Wahls Protocol®, became a Wahls Protocol® Health Practitioner, and recently the Director of Certification for Dr. Terry Wahls.
When I implemented the protocol, NO ONE around me, not my medical practitioners, not my family, not my friends, NO ONE knew this protocol. I had NO ONE to talk to about it two years ago. Teaching and applying the diet and lifestyle principles outlined in the protocol was a great challenge to do alone. I had to completely reframe my thinking multiple times about what I was taught, what I was told, what I understood about disease, and how to adjust based on the response of my body to the protocol.
I share this with you because as a patient I want to express how valuable and supportive it would have been to have had someone who deeply understood the protocol to partner with me in my implementation of it. What I needed during this experience was a practitioner that I could ask questions to, a practitioner that could have guided me during times of uncertainty and certainty, a practitioner who could work with me to reassure me when I was stable and support me when I was unstable, a practitioner to help me to address the idiosyncrasies of my disease within their scope of practice, a practitioner who could celebrate the gradual and rapid improvements I experienced, and a practitioner who was there to help me adjust and readjust the protocol to my body.
I needed a Wahls Protocol® Certified Health Practitioner.
Wahls Protocol® Health Practitioner
Director of Certification at Dr. Terry Wahls
Author of Seven Seasons