Testimonial from Chad Vaccarino from ‘A Great Big World’
Hi. This is Chad.
I wanted to share with you a part of my life that many of you don’t know about.
In 2007, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system in over 2 million people. At first, I didn’t believe it. My legs were buckling, my vision was blurry, and I had spells of vertigo, but I had convinced myself that if I ignored the symptoms, they would disappear. I went to three different neurologists and they all told me the same thing. I had MS. This was all during my last year in college. I was studying for finals, and partying like I never had before, and on top of that, I was grappling with my own sexuality, dealing with coming out to my closest friends and family members. It was the most stressful time of my life, which caused it to become the unhealthiest time of my life.
After debating various courses of action, I decided to go on the weekly injections my doctor prescribed. There was only a 30% chance that the medication I was taking would slow the progression of the nerve damage inside of me. And my doctors couldn’t tell me when I could stop the regimen. I would be on these drugs for life.
I remember the first time I learned how to give myself an injection. I had to practice on an orange first to get the feel of it, then pick one of my thighs, and inject myself. The first week on the medication, I experienced seizures, hallucinations, and cloudiness. I couldn’t think clearly; I wasn’t myself. I told my doctor, who told me to just lower the dosage. Still, the symptoms persisted. I actually felt worse than before I began the injections.
After about six months, I was frustrated with my worsening condition. I decided there had to be another way to deal with what I was experiencing. That’s when I found a chiropractor/holistic doctor, Dr. Michael Minond, who introduced me to the idea of looking at food as fuel for your body, like gas is to your car. He showed me a new perspective: that your body responds to how you treat it. I began to look at my body, my mind, my environment and my health as interconnected, and sought ways to better my entire self.
In the course of my research, I found a TedTalks video by Dr. Terry Wahls who, like me, was diagnosed with MS. Her symptoms were so severe, she was paralyzed and in a zero gravity chair. She decided to research what nutrients our brains need to perform at our highest potential. She paired up those nutrients with whole foods she could eat and drastically changed what she consumed. From this new diet, and other lifestyle changes, she is now walking again and living a full life.
I decided to try the diet she outlined in her video. And within a month, my symptoms were gone. I was walking with ease, my vertigo stopped, and the blurry vision subsided. I was able to enjoy life and do the things I loved. I was myself again.
I’ve been following Dr. Wahls’ approach ever since, and have become a very big supporter. She breaks down the body’s needs scientifically and then asks you to feed your body with what it needs in order to become the best version of yourself.
This is still an ongoing journey for me, and I imagine it will be for the rest of my life. It’s been a challenge being on the road so much. The demanding schedule makes it hard to get the food, sleep, and exercise that my body needs ALL of the time, and it results in the reappearance of old symptoms. But this is just further proof to me that my body has the power to heal itself once I give it what it needs. And because I now have that knowledge, I truly believe that the MS diagnosis was a blessing in disguise.
I’m sharing my story today in the hopes that it might inspire you the way Dr. Wahls’ story inspired me. I don’t know if it will work for everyone, but it did for me and I’m grateful. What I do know is that whether you have MS or not, if you give your mind and body what it needs, full health is possible.
I have so much love for you all.
Dr. Terry Wahls TedTalk
Dr. Terry Wahls website
Dr. Terry Wahls’ Book:
Dr. Michael Minond