My brain lesions disappeared! No shit! Last year I had 9 lesions but this year – nada. My neurologist told me that it’s rare, but he’s seen it happen with people that get diagnosed with MS early and get started on drugs quickly.
“So I don’t have MS any more?” I asked.
“You still have MS you just don’t have any lesions,” he replied.
Which is kind of ironic as you can’t get diagnosed with MS without having at least two lesions, yet you can continue to be treated for MS without them. Who knew?
“So the medication I take. It repaired the myelin?” I asked.
“Maybe. Or maybe it fixed the inflammation in your brain so that the lesion never developed in the first place.” he replied.
“But we saw the lesions on my MRI from last year,” I countered.
“We saw what we THOUGHT were lesions. Maybe they were just inflammations that were getting ready to turn into lesions and they were caught in time,” he replied.
“A lesion starts out as inflammation first?”
“Yes. And perhaps the Copaxone resolved the inflammation.”
“Or did the Copaxone strengthen my blood brain barrier so that whatever was attacking my nerves stopped in time for my brain to repair itself?” I suggested.
“Maybe,” he answered. “Or maybe all of your yoga and meditation helped. Or maybe it’s the way you eat. Who knows,” he added with a shrug.
“So in other words, keep doing what I’m doing,” I offered.
I was pleasantly surprised that a big time Georgetown Neurologist would tell me to do more yoga. Yet my inner scientist wants to know more about these lesions as in, why have they left? Where did they go? Will they come back? If I can figure out what made them take a hike, I can focus on that moving forward.
Although I do yoga, meditate and try to eat healthy, I’m in no way obsessive about any of those things. I do yoga and meditate a few times a week. As for diet changes, I tried the MS diet once and decided after one meal that I’d risk the wheelchair before I spent the rest of my life counting every gram of fat I ate because as much as that might work for some, it would cause me to go crazy and wasn’t worth it. I’ve got too good a relationship with food to go back now.
Truth be told the one thing I definitely do every day since being diagnosed is shoot one milliliter of Copaxone into my body.
The only other thing I can think of is that after my diagnosis I decided that I wasn’t going to stress about having multiple sclerosis. Honestly, I don’t think about it until I have a symptom and even then, I’m not sure if I’m thinking about the MS specifically or the symptom in general. For example my balance can be off so if I need to climb a ladder I focus more on how to be safe and not on the cause of my imbalance. In other words, I don’t make up stories in my head. I don’t assume everything’s about MS and because of that my thoughts have become very functional and rational and not dramatic, MS, fueled embellishments.
Maybe that’s because a few days after being diagnosed I tripped in my foyer, began to tear up only to look around and realize that the foyer rug was wrinkled and the cause of my misstep, not my new MS diagnosis. Then later that night I tripped again only to realize that the rug was fine, but my shoe was untied. The fact is people trip, whether they have MS or not and I learned very early on, that I couldn’t blame MS for everything. Sometimes I’m just an asshole that needs to tie her damn shoes or better yet, watch were she’s walking.
So do I think my mind wiped out my lesions? No. I think western medicine did. I think my mind helps the medicine work well by staying calm and keeping my nervous system calm which is exactly what you want if you have a nervous system disorder. This inner calmness is a direct result of my attitude and yoga/ meditative practices which frankly is a relief. It means that at the end of the day, I don’t have to be the most advanced student, the best teacher or the most disciplined yoga practitioner. All I have to do is LIVE my yoga and anyone, no matter their physical condition, can do that.