Dawna Austin
Well.. it's been another week, and must say that things are still improving. I haven't had fatigue in a month or more. I have felt the strength of my muscles improve.  Is it really possible that I could still be seeing improvements from the procedure in Poland?   Does it realy take that long?  Or, perhaps is my body just finally settling down from all the attacks I've had in the past year?  I'm wanting to believe the first!

My right foot, which is where the symptoms first started, is actually less numb than it's been in a year!  It's wonderful to be able to wear shoes again with them being very uncomfortable and constantly in pain. I have no pain there anymore, and only slight numbness. My right leg hasn't changed much though, and so wanting to believe it's like a garden hose.  you turn the water on, and it goes from the source of water all the way to the end of the hose, and sometimes this can take quite some time to reach the end.  Perhaps, in the start of my healing process, much like the flow of a hose, it is starting at the beginning of my original symptoms, my right foot.  Perhaps it will move from there, up my leg and I'll continue to see healing of the numbness over time.  At least that is my hope!


I actually jogged around our lake this morning, albeit it was a walk, then jog, then walk, etc. but it felt AMAZING to feel like I was LIVING again!  We'll see how my body treats me tomorrow, but I just couldn't help myself, as my fast walk turned into the jog.  I used to love to jog.  As a teen, I would exercise often, and HARD .. it's just part of who I am. 110% or nothing -- all the way.

Julianna's Turtle Friend
On our way around the lake, little Julianna said "there's a turtle".  I didn't respond because I thought she was being silly.  But yes, there was a turtle!  What a beautiful walk filled with God's amazing creatures (can live without the Can. Geese and their lovely droppings though).  Even saw an eagle on the way too.

It's been a challenge to lay around so much the past year. I can only pray this is the start of something great, and not just a short season of health.  I will continue to pray in that direction!

It feels great to play with my kids, run around with them, and be the mom that my heart wants to be -- and now my body will let me!
Dawna Austin
Well, it's been 9 days since the start of my prednisone treatment, and 5 days since its end.  I must say IV prednisone is MUCH better than in the pill form, the latter giving a ton of side effects while the IV version seems to have minimal.  I only had a little bit of fatigue and nausea with the IV version.   My facial numbness seemed to dissipate within days of taking the prednisone, but now (as of yesterday) the numbness has returned as well as the tingling and some pain in my left facial area.  I really wish I had the answers as to why.    I struggle with the two options of (a) attempting to re-do the procedure again (this time in the U.S.), and (b) going on Copaxone or another MS drug.  I can't quite convince my neurologist that the procedure has helped, when I continue to get these attacks.  Part of me wants to believe it's a process that may take awhile, but why do the symptoms keep getting worse?  Again, I don't have the answers.

My energy level is still very very good -- if I didn't have the numbness and pain, I would never know I had MS.  So that is  a VERY VERY encouraging blessing.  All I can continue to do is make the best choices for my health in relation to diet and exercise and pray that I continue to improve.  I'm pretty sure that within a few months if things don't improve, that I will be seeking out treatment again.  In the back of my mind, I wonder if there were some missed blockages, which may explain why I am partially, but not completely better.  Again, only God knows.

I still struggle greatly with the baby issue.  I really have no idea why.  I should be happy and content with what I have, and where I am in life; yet that is one hurt that doesn't seem to be healing, and that baffles me.     All I can do is pray that the Lord fills that hole.

Still constantly praying and hurting for my brother who has Parkinsons Disease.  He is having a very difficult period right now, and I just wish I could take it all away from him.  My life with MS is a walk in the park compared to what he deals with every day.  He is such an inspiration to me.

Many have asked me lately how I can do the MS thing with 4 kids, the youngest just turned 3.   Without them, this walk would be MUCH more difficult.  Sure, it's hard to keep that busy, but if I was not busy, I think it would be much too easy to feel sorry for myself and lay around, doing nothing.  So, these kids are life-savers (and cute ones at that!)

Dawna Austin
I am sitting reclined in a rather comfy chair, the only thing missing is a hot coffee. I am at our local hospital’s general daycare unit for the start of my 4-day course of IV steroids. I have to come in at 1:30pm each day for four days, and the treatment is an hour each time. I guess I should back up a bit and explain how I got here.

It has been a few weeks now that my energy levels have been increasing. This has been so life-giving to me. It has been almost 9 months since I’ve had the energy to play with my kids, to do daily tasks without difficulty and generally feel “human”. On the opposite side of things, however, the numbness in my body has been following the same pattern of change, except in the wrong direction. The numbness and pain has been increasing. While I only really had issues with the right side of my body, in the past few weeks, I noticed that my left foot was becoming numb and my left arm was showing more sensitivity as well. Very disheartening to me – yet because of the increased energy, everything was a little more tolerable, both physically and emotionally. Once the energy started to get to levels that of a normal human being, I decided it was time to go on a trip to the beach for a few days with my family to make up for all that time I had laid around in bed – it was time to play! We ended up going to Long Beach, WA for 4 days and we hit a pretty good patch of weather, with only one day of rain. We played in the ocean, built sand castles, flew our kite, went on a scavenger hunt and much more, followed by a surprise visit to my brother’s house on the day we were “supposed” to be driving home. It was a glorious time of memory making and incredibly life-giving to me.


Upon return home, the energy level I had enjoyed was maintained, but I noticed that the numbness seemed to be speeding up. My first thought was “I need to get back to the beach!” I secretly wonder if the ocean air is better for me.. would be a nice excuse to move there! Long story short – a few days ago, I woke up to find that the left side of my face was tingly. Oh oh, I thought, here we go, now my face is being affected. However, within a few hours the entire left side of my face was tingly and numb and my scalp on both sides felt like it was on fire. I decided it was time to call my neurologist to see if I should check into this increased problem. He asked me to come in that day, and so I canceled all my plans to make that appointment happen (it’s almost an hour drive to his office). It was during that visit that he mentioned the results of my spinal MRI were in .. and that it showed a new lesion on my spine. Up until now, my spine had been clear. He was visibly not happy with those new findings and told me that he wanted to put me on IV steroids to try to combat this current MS attack I am having. Frankly, he “did not like this new lesion”. My instructions are to come back in a month (mid August) and he wants me to either go on an interferon or an antibiotic (minocycline) that is lately used for MS. NEITHER sounds good to me.

I left that appointment feeling very down. And since I had decided to cut out my decaf coffee to see if that had any play in how I was feeling, I couldn’t even go and get a Starbucks coffee to make myself feel better! How could I still be progressing? How is it that I continue to seem to get worse and yet my energy level is increasing? How is it that so many people get the Liberation Treatment, and have such GREAT changes to their health, and for me it seems that if I am getting better, it’s at a turtle’s pace. My husband did have a good point. “Didn’t you have that MRI before you went to Poland”? Something maybe to be encouraged about. Perhaps it won’t get worse. Perhaps the doctor is seeing what was there prior to my procedure and prescribing based on that information. Perhaps the crazy attack(s) I’ve been having since early June is just my body’s reaction to the procedure of May 20th and I’m in a long-term healing process. Maybe some people heal quickly and some others take longer? I can only speculate.

So here I sit, nearing the end of my first hour infusion. I have the familiar taste of metal once again .. as happens with this. I just pray that I do not react strongly, and that it works to stop what is happening in this attack. I pray that I can continue to play with my kids, taking them to their daily swim lessons and generally enjoying being able to BE with them in an active way. I cannot join them in swimming this week, however, as I cannot get the closed IV (that has become a temporary part of my body) wet.

Emotionally I still struggle with so many things. I am not sure those questions will ever be answered, and I’m not sure those hurts will ever go away, but I’m thankful that I seem to be coping better with all that has happened. I’m not as angry at God, and I think I’m learning to trust better than I have recently. I still cry a lot. It feels like so much is still close to the surface.

My biggest blessing is a family that loves and cares for me, for all these new friends that I have made .. friends that are so skilled at encouraging me to press on -- they always seem to provide that encouragement when I need it the most.