Another amazing milestone: Our lab just received a $2 million gift to support our research. I am so grateful for this donation and so excited about how it will help all those around the world struggling with autoimmune symptoms and diagnoses.
Eleven years ago, when I said I would change the world for autoimmune patients, people said I was crazy. I ignored them because I felt a moral obligation to share what I’d learned with my patients, the public, and clinicians who were willing to listen. I wanted to do the research to change the standard of care. I was viewed by my physician partners at the Veteran Affairs hospital and university as eccentric, an oddity, possibly even dangerous. I was warned that I’d lose my license, that people were complaining.
I was called down to meet with my chief of staff and university chief of medicine to discuss the concerns. I brought an armful of scientific papers to that meeting and walked them through the science behind what I was doing. I won them both over. They told me to begin doing clinical trials, testing my protocol in others with multiple sclerosis and gave me the needed resources to begin the first safety and feasibility trials. In the last eleven years, we have conducted many trials, written and published multiple papers, and presented our data at national and international meetings. Now I am being celebrated as a brilliant, visionary researcher, with a vibrant research lab, conducting important clinical trials about the use of therapeutic diet and lifestyle in the setting of multiple sclerosis.
It was not an easy journey. I had to endure 27 years of relentless worsening of my trigeminal neuralgia, 7 years of relentless worsening of my multiple sclerosis, and 4 years of relentless worsening of my disability while in a tilt-recline wheelchair. Those years of suffering were necessary, because they drove me to discover ancestral health, evolutionary biology, functional medicine, addiction medicine, health behavior psychology, and neuroimmunology. I needed to know about all these topics to create the program that restored my vitality and I eventually named the Wahls Protocol®. All of those years of suffering made me willing to do the work to learn all that I have, to fight to get my message to the public, clinicians, and other researchers, and to power through the grind of writing grants, conducting clinical trials, and submitting the results to peer-reviewed scientific journals for publication.
It is hard work. Demanding. Pressured. Competitive. But it is also life-changing, exhilarating, and fulfilling. And it is critical to answering the question of what role the Wahls Protocol® plays in the setting of serious autoimmune conditions. Is following the Wahls Protocol® without drugs as effective as taking disease-modifying drugs to get control of serious autoimmune disease activity? Those are the questions that we answer in our lab. And yes, the university has a conflict of interest management plan in place to ensure the studies will be conducted without bias. I love the science, I love the work, and I love our patients.
I write grants and study protocols, analyze data, and publish our results in order to change the standard of care for multiple sclerosis, and in due time, all autoimmune patients because I remember the terror of facing becoming bedridden, demented, and suffering from intractable pain. That is why I write books for the public, run seminars on how to use these concepts in their lives, and teach and certify clinicians on how to use my protocols in their clinical practice.
Changing the world for the autoimmune patient and giving them the tools to reclaim their lives is my mission. I am grateful the world is recognizing my work and giving me the power to keep going.