At 14, Romy was a great student and emotionally stable and mature for her age. Yet suddenly, at the end of 8th grade, she began to struggle in math and her grade fell to a C. Her parents hired a tutor for the summer to help her catch up and prepare for 9th grade math. As the tutor reviewed math concepts and problems with her, Romy was like a deer in the headlights. She seemed unable to absorb the concepts and put them into practice.
Strange eye movements developed
At the end of the summer, Romy’s right eye was not moving in conjunction with her left when she looked to the left. She went to see an optometrist, then an ophthalmologist and finally a neurologist. Once the neurologist saw the strange eye movements, he admitted Romy to The Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto. One week and a battery of tests later, the team of specialists informed the family that Romy had 8 lesions on her brain and 1 located on her cervical spine.
The diagnosis was shattering: multiple sclerosis (MS). Romy and family were told were told that the condition would progress, and that there was no cure. The hospital team handed them pamphlets from the MS Society and a list of available drugs to choose from. They were sent home with instructions to return for a follow-up after having made a decision about which drug to start with.
Synchronicity Leads to Wahls Protocol
Two years earlier, while on her own IBS healing journey, Romy's mother spent a week in Austin, Texas, at a Paleo conference. There she heard Dr. Terry Wahls, Professor of Medicine at Iowa State University give a speech about her own healing path from progressive MS, mostly by adopting a nourishing, plant-based Paleo diet. Little did her mother know that two years later her own teenage daughter would be diagnosed with the very same disorder!
For support, Romy and her family turned to the Wahls website community and a functional medicine nutritionist. Both were instrumental in putting their fears to rest. They recognized that any decision they made involved risks, so they decided to risk the natural healing path – instead of the greater risks of the potentially ineffective prescription medications and their likely side effects.
Getting to the Roots
Romy's mother believed that every disease can be reversed, and that the starting point must always be to find and fix the root causes. So, they began to hunt for root causes, and discovered that Romy’s blood work showed some interesting things: two strains of the Epstein-Barr Virus, herpes, cytomegalovirus, strep A & B, and high blood levels of mercury and aluminum. Any of these infections, or the high levels of heavy metals, or a combination, might have served as the primary triggers for the multiple sclerosis. Additionally, their nutritionist found that Romy had a leaky gut, was not absorbing B vitamins, had very low stomach acid, and a congested liver — the list seemed to go on and on.
A Flurry of Lifestyle Changes
Romy's mother believes that the single most significant factor in Romy’s healing was the guidance of their functional medicine nutritionist. He devised an action plan that started with changing Romy’s diet, clearing out her elimination organs (liver and kidneys), healing her leaky gut, and replacing the nutrients she was missing.
The day after Romy arrived home from the hospital with her new diagnosis, she started on the “Wahls Protocol.” The transition from her prior diet was fairly easy, thanks in part to the nutritionist's guidance. Her mother made a food pyramid based on the Wahls protocol, highlighted all of Romy’s favorite foods and put the list on the fridge. Romy has dedicated herself completely to the protocol and has even become a good cook!
When asked about her new way of eating, Romy said, “I feel better than before. I am more creative with my foods now. I eat more, and I like the way the food tastes. Once you get back to real food…it tastes way better."
My mom will make a killer Paleo Pizza a couple times a month, and now a store-bought pizza just tastes like cardboard. If the family is craving something like Chinese take-out, we just make our own Paleo version.”
An important part of Romy's healing also included detoxing her environment. All areas of her life had to be reconsidered and detoxed. They added a Himalayan Salt lamp in her bedroom, filled her room with a few air-purifying plants, and replaced her conventionally-scented candles with natural beeswax candles, all of which are known to help reduce indoor air pollution.
They reduced as much as possible Romy’s exposure to electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), potentially hazardous environmental radiation frequencies that emanate from all household appliances. Our home’s WiFi was directly under Romy’s bedroom in the basement – in fact it was right under the head of her bed. We moved the WiFi to the other side of the house and put it on a timer so it shut down at night.
They now also avoid the thousands of chemicals in personal care products, so they make our own shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, body cream, laundry soap, and dishwasher detergent.
Signs of Healing
A few weeks after Romy started the Wahls Protocol she sat down to catch up on the math homework she missed while in the hospital. Recalling her prior struggles, her mother decided to check her work and was stunned to discover that Romy was flying through the math and getting all the answers right. She asked her what had changed since summer when she struggled over math with her tutor. Romy shrugged and replied, “I don’t know — it just feels like my brain just woke up.” Romy had clearly been dealing with “brain fog”, and in just a short time on the Wahls Protocol, it had cleared.
“I don’t know — it just feels like my brain just woke up.”
Six months after the mysterious eye incident, Romy has not developed any other symptoms of MS. She is once again very active at school – she’s a member of the Improv team, the snowboarding club, and just landed a part in the school play. She takes her health very seriously and would “rather starve” than eat gluten or sugar or anything processed.
Romy said to her mother recently, “Mom, MS is the best thing that has happened to me.” She looked at her in disbelief and asked why. Romy replied, “Just look at the way I eat, how well I am sleeping, and how we changed things in our house to make everything healthier. We are better off now!”
When asked if she suffers from the MS, Romy replies, “No, the MS is suffering from me!”
- Multiple Sclerosis
What Romy Was Like:
At the time of her first appointment with the functional medicine nutritionist, Romy experienced "brain fog" which prevented her from absorbing math concepts and putting them into practice.
Her right eye was not moving in conjunction with her left eye. She had 8 legions on her brain and 1 on her cervical spine. While hunting for root causes, they discovered that Romy had Epstein-Barr Virus, herpes, cytomegalovirus, strep A & B, and high blood levels of mercury and aluminum. She also had leaky gut, was not absorbing vitamin B, had very low stomach acid, and a congested liver.
Six months after the eye incident, Romy is well on her well towards complete and lasting healing. She was flying through math and her brain fog cleared. Romy is a member of the improv team, the snowboarding club, and landed a part in the school play. She takes her health very seriously, and would "rather starve" than eat gluten or sugar or anything processed.