Design a site like this with
Get started

November/December Update

This post ended up longer than I expected, but it is covering two months *and* I have a lot of updates with my annual MRI and graduating from the clinical trial 😉 As always, I tried to put the important stuff at the top.


No new symptoms, but I have MRI results to share! (Also, this neurologist wanted to double check that I really do have MS (he was pretty sure, but wanted to do his due diligence) so he ran the blood tests for lyme disease and 1 or 2 other things, and I don’t have those. So, no news there, but I mentioned about a year ago that I might be getting those blood tests and I never did, so now we know.)

The MRI showed 1 new lesion in my parietal lobe, but nothing else new. My neurologist says that if I had to put a lesion somewhere in my brain, that was a pretty good place to put it, 😉 because it’s not near any vital areas and he doesn’t think it’s causing any of my symptoms.

The really *good* news is that at least one of the lesions (one of the ones in my neck) looks like it might be fading, and there was NO active inflammation! Basically the MS is in remission right now. My neurologist even said there was “some evidence of healing”!

Of course, my neurologist still wants me on medication, and we had a little debate about it (but in a pleasant way). He got to see the argumentative side of me that those of you who know me well will be familiar with. 😉 But like I said, it was all pleasant. I was even chuckling a bit. He would say some reason why I need meds, and I would say something like “but what about this?” and we’d talk about it. 🙂 He had asked me last time to consider what I’d need to see on my MRI to convince me that what I’m doing isn’t working, and I told him I’d have to see a much worse MRI than that!

Obviously it’s not great to have a new lesion (but I’m not surprised since I had that relapse) and I’m only 31 so I can’t afford to develop a new one every year, but I think I learned from my relapse so hopefully I can prevent future ones, and also the theory is that if I stay on the protocol that I’m doing, my body will continue to heal and repair.

This can’t be counted as an “official” opinion because Dr. Wahls isn’t my doctor, but I was telling her about my MRI on one of our group calls, and she said that since there’s no active inflammation, that’s actually an improvement on my MRI. 😀

Other health related things:

Fewer/milder migraines the last couple of months.

I have lab results to share! My vitamin D level was 74.2 (up from 30.8 just over a year ago and 50 about a year ago). There’s been some interest in my cholesterol since I’m eating more meat than I used to (but keep in mind, I cut out milk/cheese). My total cholesterol is a bit higher than last year, but actually lower than two years ago. The same goes for my LDL. My HDL is better than both previous years. And my triglycerides are down from last year and WAY down from two years ago. And when I say that my total cholesterol is higher, to put this in perspective, it’s 149. 🙂

What I am eating/cooking:

I forgot to include this in a previous post, but I finally broke down and made pizza a while ago! Fake cheese, and we tried two crusts: cauliflower and almond flour. Not bad, but not really the pizza that I crave either. So I probably won’t bother to repeat that, but it was pretty good.

I had much better success with Thanksgiving foods! This is the best vegan eggnog I’ve ever had! And this sweet potato casserole got good reviews, and it didn’t even taste “healthy”! (I made this completely vegan, so no egg and I used coconut oil instead of butter/ghee. Also, I put NO sweetener in the potatoes, and only about 1-2 tablespoons in the pecan topping.) I also made pumpkin “pie” (no crust). I started with this recipe but adapted it quite a bit. (Only whole eggs, no extra yolk, only 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, no crust.) I realized that I probably could have figured this out for myself from the regular pumpkin pie recipe on the cans of pumpkin, but I was grateful to find a starting point.

I also made these Beef-Zucchini Meatballs. I used quinoa and they’re pretty good! I didn’t have to change anything about them which was nice.

**UPDATE! (I worked on this post for so long and I still forgot something!) This Paleo Breakfast Casserole with sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts is another great recipe! My niece (Sierra) made this for Mom & I when we were at their house for St. Lucia day in mid-December. She made it with turkey bacon for us and it’s also good vegetarian. 🙂 Thanks again, Sierra!

New fave snack: Made in Nature (that’s the brand) Maple Vanilla Coconut Chips! They’re just sweet enough but not too sweet, and have a reasonable amount of added sugar per serving. Plus that maple vanilla flavor is super yummy! Unfortunately I don’t know where they’re sold: I got mine from Imperfect Foods.

Also, if you haven’t tried the Jojo’s Chocolate (with the pistachios and dried cranberries) from Costco yet, you’re missing out! That’s probably my favorite chocolate now. 🙂

I rediscovered oatmeal. 🙂 Pecans, dried cranberries, and soymilk on gluten free oats. 🙂

Confession: I went a bit crazy with “cheating” this month. My last day of reporting for the clinical trial was 12/15. 12/16 was the Grand Opening of Dick’s at Crossroads (cheat meal!), then I had Gingerbread House weekend with my family and a Christmas party, plus earlier in the month I had a few things. Christmas Eve we went out to eat (another cheat meal). I was pretty good on Christmas Day but I did have some desserts that were off my eating plan. Actually, looking at that list and considering that those cheats were spread over a whole month, it doesn’t look *quite* as bad. 😉 And for some of them I was pretty happy with myself, because I “cheated”, but not as much as I could have. 😉 For instance, at the Christmas party, I did have some things I probably shouldn’t have, but I also ate some of my own snacks and didn’t have as many dessert-y treats as I would have pre-Wahls.

I was frustrated with myself because I went to a lot of these same events last year when I was first in the clinical trial and I was SO good and stayed compliant. I can’t say that it was a rebellion exactly, because no one is making me do this, but anyway, that’s what happened.

The good news is that I didn’t have any relapse of my symptoms. It’s possible I’ve developed new lesions, but hopefully not. I was on the diet in between all that cheating, and I put extra effort into making sure I got my greens and sulphur on a regular basis. So hopefully my next MRI (in a year or so) will be stable.

Probably no one cares about this paragraph but I’m including it anyway 😉 Feel free to skip: Now that I’m off the study I get to decide what I’m doing, both with food and with my supplements (food is going to be the same). I asked Dr. Wahls about the supplements for the study and why she chose the five that she did, and after hearing her thoughts on that during our last support group call, I decided to stay on all of them. However, partially with the intention to spend less on Amazon (that’s where I’ve been ordering many of my supplements, per the instructions of the study), I researched what’s available at Costco and I’m switching to Kirkland Signature for those. 🙂 They’re also a LOT cheaper. 🙂 While I was in the study, they reimbursed me for the supplements, but now I’ll be buying them on my own. I’m also discontinuing my magnesium (I was on that one on my own, not per the study) because my level is good and dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and soy are apparently all good sources of magnesium, so I really shouldn’t need the supplement. I was only taking it every 3rd day anyway because I didn’t want to take too much. That’s not because of money, it’s because I’m simplifying what I’m doing so it’s fewer pills and I can just take them once/day instead of twice. 🙂

Final count for plant foods is 187 since 12/12/20 (up from 148 in my last post)! (I thought of some more that I had earlier in the year but didn’t add, so that’s why it’s such a big jump. Some of them were things like teas and essential oils, but some were basics that I had missed, like rice, oats, corn, and vanilla.) If you’re interested, here’s the list! And let me know if you want to join the challenge for 2022! It’s really fun. 🙂 (I already have 52 as of 1/5/21!)

How I’m doing emotionally:

As far as MS I’m feeling really good. 🙂 Other things in life have been up and down. Some better/less stressful, but my dad’s health was declining much more steeply the last part of November and he passed away on December 3rd. Here’s his CaringBridge site. We continue to be so grateful for his wonderful caregiver and all the help and support we’ve received from family and friends.


During the first year of the clinical trial, we were all discouraged from trying too many new things. So as I read, I’ve been making a list of things I want to try now. I’ve already started “oil pulling”. It sounds weird, but it wasn’t as hard to get used to as I expected. I’ve also been doing a bit of “time restricted feeding”: trying to avoid food for 3 hours before bed (usually only 2) and then not eating for 12 hours overnight (a lot easier when you don’t eat for 3 hours before bed). So for me, this looks like trying not to eat after 7 (or at least 8 😉 ), and then I can eat as early as 7 (or 8) the next morning, but I usually don’t, so I end up with about a 14 hour fast (which is even better). Although this can be used for a bunch of reasons, including weight loss, I’m mainly interested in the anti-inflammatory benefits. This is an article I really like (I know it’s long) and Dr. Bredesen also promotes the practice (see “What I read/am reading” below).

This fall, a friend of mine invited several of us to do a Bible Project class together. That’s been interesting and also a nice way to stay connected to friends, since we meet almost weekly over video chat to discuss what we’re learning. 🙂 There are several free classes to choose from. You should check them out!

As part of keeping my Health Coach certification active, I need to complete continuing education. I’m currently working toward becoming an ACE Fitness Nutrition Specialist!

Oh, and I tried taping my mouth closed at night before I go to bed. 😉 That’s a lot harder to get used to than oil pulling, 😉 but is supposed to train me to breathe through my nose at night and ultimately lead to better sleep and even possibly helping my TMJ issues. (I only mention it because maybe there’s someone reading this that could benefit from my experiences.)

A reminder of my special offer:

If I know you personally and you would like me to knit something for you (or your child), let me know! I’m not making any promises! Lol! I don’t like to do things that are too complicated, or that need to be too precise/fitted, but we can talk about it. 🙂

Here’s a scarf I recently finished!

What I read/am reading (the highlights):

The First Survivors of Alzheimer’s: How Patients Recovered Life and Hope in Their Own Words by Dale E. Bredesen ~ This is the 2nd book I’ve read by Dr. Bredesen. This is more stories and less science. (Pro or con, depending 😉 ) It’s very inspirational, and is the reason why I was inspired to try oil pulling.

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles ~ I placed holds at the library on a bunch of books during the Olympics, including this one. 😉 I didn’t know very much about Simone Biles, and I enjoyed this book. She clearly had talent and love for gymnastics from a very young age, and seems like a really nice person.

Fitness Goals:

One of the advantages of having a caregiver for Dad was that Mom didn’t need me in the mornings. So, I finally got back to the gym. I remembered that it wasn’t only laziness keeping me away, it was also because it’s hard for me to work out in a mask. 😉 But I’m doing it, and I’ve added another machine to my routine (the lat row). I’m feeling reinspired to get that pull-up!

The day after my last post, I lost my step streak. I tried to get back to it the very next day, but I haven’t maintained a streak since then although I have gotten my 8,500 steps sometimes. I decided it was healthier for me to wind down and go to bed than to be up marching in place trying to get those steps. 😉 I did get lazy for a bit there, but then I got in a good routine of going to the gym, where I do the weight machines but also a cardio machine (sometimes treadmill, sometimes elliptical, etc.). So sometimes I was getting my steps but not always. And then I got lazy/busier again toward the end of the month, and then we got snowed in! Fortunately I have a pull-up bar at home for working out, and it was sunny so Mom & I went for walks in the snow. 🙂

Lastly, I discovered the Nerd Fitness Journey app! (Nerd Fitness is my favorite website for pullups. I’ve been coming back to this workout again and again over the years.) Only downside is, it’s free for a week and then $99/year. So I probably won’t sign up right away. But it was great to have while I was snowed in and didn’t feel safe to drive to the gym. I was motivated to do negatives and other exercises with my pull-up bar at home. It’s a GREAT app. I’ve been looking for an app like this for a long time. And no, I’m not making anything off of this! I signed up because there are pull-up specific workouts, but it’s meant to help you with general fitness, and it starts out really easy with tasks like a 5 min walk. There’s a quick task every day, plus you can sign up for specific “adventures” like getting your first chin-up/pull-up, or running a 5K. $99/year would be less than I’m paying for my gym membership, so it just depends what I end up doing. It’s superhero themed, and as you level up and complete tasks, you earn accessories. I know, it sounds cheesy, but it’s great. 🙂 This is my avatar from December, but now I have a purple skirt and I’m at a much higher level. 😉 Oh, lastly, it’s not perfect. Some of the nutrition advice bothers me. They say that weight loss is calories in vs calories out (WRONG!) and the version of the paleo diet they suggest is so strict *I* don’t even want to do it (paleo is basically what I’m doing now). But as far as motivation to do something every day, even if it’s just a quick walk, it’s a great app. 🙂

Monthly summary (last one!):

Walking17 mins18 mins20 mins! 🙂23 mins27 mins!18 mins15 mins20 mins24 mins29 mins36 mins26 mins
Dark Leafy Greens1.!1.61.7!1.11.12!
Averages per month (a serving of leafy greens is 2 cups, all other servings are 1 cup each)

Looking over the numbers, I’m pretty happy with the trend. 🙂 There have been months when my servings have been better than recently, but you can see that even though there have been dips, I’ve come back from them. 🙂 And my numbers for dark leafy greens for the last 4 months have been better than when I started. 🙂

I graduated from the intensive first year of the clinical trial (I’m still in a follow-up phase for another 4 years where basically I can do whatever I want and I just let them know how I’m doing). I plan to continue this blog, but maybe only post every 2-3 months. We’ll see. I hope to not have any MS updates until my next MRI, but it’s nice to have an audience for my thoughts on books and whatever else. 😉


One thought on “November/December Update

  1. Hi Amanda….Once again so impressed with your progress and “stick-to-it-ive-ness”!!  I’ll be thinking of you and your Mom this coming Sabbath during your Memorial for your father!  I’ve been snowed in with an icy drive way and unplowed surface roads since Christmas.  It’s a good thing my daughters are close enough to help.  So happy to hear of your continued progress!Your friend,Sheri

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: