We saw the movie Lincoln a few weeks ago when it was in the theater. There is a line that Lincoln says in the movie. It’s in the middle of the Civil War; he’s composing a telegraph and trying to determine whether or not to invite the Confederate delegates to Washington for a peace talk. He says, “Things that are equal to the same thing must be equal to each other.” It’s a mathematic principal from some ancient engineering book.

It’s as simple statement, yet profound. And its full meaning didn’t sink in right away. I had to keep saying it over and over in my mind.

“Things that are equal to the same thing must be equal to each other.”

That means if x equals z and y equals z, then x and y must be equal.

In Lincoln’s case, applying the theory to slavery, he might have thought that white men are equal to the earth and black men are equal to the earth, therefore white men and black men must be equal to each other. Or white men are equal in God’s eyes and black men are equal in God’s eyes, therefore white men and black men must be equal to each other.

Lincoln held this belief so firmly that he delayed the Confederate delegates. He believed it so firmly that he insisted that abolition become a condition of ending the war. He believed it so firmly that he made it happen. There was no alternative. He made it law.

Where else does the theory apply? Does it apply here and now? To me? To me and my MS? If Dr. Ann Boroch reversed her own MS, that was worse than mine, with the same diet that I’m now on, is it not also true that the diet should reverse my MS? The diet is to Ann Boroch’s MS as it is to my MS? If Ann and I are equal to the diet, and our MS is equal to the diet, then my MS and Ann’s MS must be equal to each other — equally capable of being reversed?

How can I not apply that to myself with this damn diet? There is still a breakdown between knowing that someone else reversed MS and so therefore I should be able to do it too. The breakdown happens because I don’t know that it will work. MS is a complicated disease. Mainstream medicine holds to the theory that the cause is unknown and there is no cure. Alternative medicine offers theories that fly in the face of mainstream medicine, but there is still no clarity or unifying theory that point to one main cause of the disease. There is the yeast theory, per Dr. Boroch. There are other toxin theories. But there are so many toxins — heavy metals, chemicals from processed foods, toxic mold — how can I know which toxin might be triggering my particular MS autoimmune response? It just so happens that I have the gross yeast overgrowth. So I am choosing to target that particular toxin. But could it be the yeast plus something else that I don’t know about yet? I can only hope and pray and believe that targeting the yeast will work. Until there is physical evidence in my body there is no way for me to know — to have certainty — that this damn diet is working.

There is no way for me to measure the progress of the past 12 weeks. I can look at the past 12 weeks and say I’ve been super strict with the diet. I have only had 4 cheat days out of 84. That means I have been strict 96% of the time. But what has it gotten me? Sure, I have lost 20 pounds. So what? A happy byproduct of this damn diet. I want to measure the progress of 12 weeks on a super strict diet in terms of direct impact to the MS. To the thing that I am fighting.

I want to know that 12 weeks on this damn diet will equal a 50% change in the lesions on my brain. Or even a 25% change. Because then, you know what? That means that another 12 or 24 weeks should bring a 100% change in the lesions on my brian. That is the kind of progress I want to measure. I want to know that the time I am investing in this damn diet is going to bring a return that is worth the sacrifice I’m making. I want the math to work for me.

It’s called maximizing. It’s one of my core strengths. But as my therapist put it so delicately in one of my recent sessions, “You can’t maximize your health.”

So I am back to: Things that are equal to the same thing must be equal to each other.

Must be. Must means has to. Must means required. Things that are equal to the same thing are required to be equal to each other. There is no choice, no alternative. It is a law. A mathematical law.

The law was so firm in Lincoln’s mind that he did not rest until it was an actual law of the United States constitution.

For now I cling to the law — to the must. It is all I have.

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7 thoughts on “MS and Things That are Equal to the Same Thing

  1. What if the lesions don’t go away? But what if staying on your diet results in no more lesions ever appearing in your brain? What if your diet halts any further progression of the disease?
    I discovered your blog shortly after a bout with optic neuritis, which hasn’t entirely gone away. An MRI showed no lesions. Depending on what one reads, the odds are zero, or 25%, or 50% that I will develop MS. It’s all uncertain.
    I am so grateful for your blog and for your willingness to share your experience in detail. I have already learned a lot from what you are going through.
    Would you mind sharing any other symptoms you have? Is there anything besides the optic neuritis, and has that gone away yet?


    1. Hi Sondra, thanks so much for commenting — and thanks for letting me know that what I’m writing has been helpful! Yes, the optic neuritis went away completely after 17 days. There’s still scarring on the optic nerve, but no pain or change in vision. The main symptom I’ve been dealing with is fatigue. I did experience numbness in my lower left leg for about 6 weeks shortly after my diagnosis, but that has also gone away completely. My neurologist said there was no way to determine if the numbness was connected to the MS or not. Otherwise, I’ve had no other physical symptoms, for which I’m grateful. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions!

  2. Janna,

    I have recently found your blog, I love the entries. I recently just had an abnormal MRI, my 2nd MRI in 3 years. The first one was b/c a bout of optic neuritis but the initial MRI of the brain was normal. My right eye was left with lesser than optimal vision but still workable. After having some additional visual fluctuations in the last month or two I decided to get a 2nd MRI. It came back abnormal with some lesions. These past few weeks have been daunting considering the possibilities of MS. I’m due to see a neurologist in the coming weeks, but b/t my family doctor and the radiologist who examined my latest MRI the news seems pretty suspicious for MS.

    Ironically I had already been vegan for the past 6 months but was more of a beans and rice guy than a fruit & vegetable guy. Upon hearing the news I immediately set out to do intense research with my wife. We are more convinced of the nutritional route as well and will probably avoid the drug route. We have adapted our new found vegan lifestyle to be well more strict. We’ve done a lot of reading on the Swank diet and McDougal diet which slightly modified the Swank diet. You have probably already come across some of these in your search of the web. We have already started following most of the guidelines and have decided to cut out yeast too. The book you refer to by Dr. Boroch I have not read yet but intend to since finding your blog. I was curious if you could maybe list some key items that your diet normally consists of and what do you normally drink. I find myself drinking a lot of water and 1-2 cups of green tea so far in this “damn diet” learning process. I am being severely strict with the diet. I think that we had already decided to go vegan a few months prior to this has really helped me adjust to this even stricter diet.

    An example of a typical days food for me:

    Breakfast: A fruit smoothie, 2 organic bananas, 1-2 cups of organic berries (mixed or blueberries, raspberries etc), and a splash of organic OJ.

    Lunch: A salad consisting of raw baby spinach, diced carrots, kale, onions, sometimes cucumbers, jalapenos, and I usually top it off with an all natural salsa for the dressing.

    Dinner: The wife will make a vegetable oriented dinner. Tonight was stir fry with brown organic rice, tons of carrots, onions, broccoli, tomatoes. I go light on the rice.

    I was curious what you could tell me about cutting out fruit b/c of sugar. I’ve read somewhere on your blog that you have done that according to Dr. Boroch’s diet? Or am I mistaken? I am considering cutting out beans as well, and I’m not sure about certain grains. I don’t eat many grains but when I do they are always organic and gluten free. This is all info and a diet we have adapted our vegan lifestyle into in the last week with the news of my MRI. I am a research fanatic anyway and a firm believer in nutrition. I am a skeptic of certain modern medicines as they treat symptoms only and not the root cause of health or lack thereof.

    I would love to collaborate with you on this “damn diet” and learning process as we go through it. I love the blog posts, keep them coming, they are encouraging and it is nice to be able to relate!

    PS – I’m not related to Justin. 🙂

    1. Jeremy, wow, I love that you found my blog and that it is resonating with you. (BTW, side note, my husband’s name is Jeremy.) I am working on getting a page up with the diet guidelines — I had it up at one point and the formatting got effed up, so now I have to fix it. But it is coming!

      I too drink a lot of water and tea. I also drink seltzer water with lemon or lime — not club soda or flavored carbonated water; seltzer water has no added sugar or sodium. And, yes, I highly recommend Ann Boroch’s book, especially now that it’s been revised and republished (so be sure to get the new version). I think the biggest difference you will find is that, yes, she recommends starting a more strict 90-day period with less fruit, because of the natural sugars found in fruit. The thing is you have to starve off the yeast bacteria, which feeds on sugar. She also recommends a period without beans and legumes because they are starchy. But, again, I think you will find the book super helpful because she has foods to eat/avoid lists, which make it easy to follow and determine what to/not to eat.

      Please do stay in touch! I often feel very lonely on this journey since no one else I know is experiencing anything remotely similar. Thanks so much for the comment and reaching out!

  3. Hi Janna, just found your site & since it is July was wondering you are doing on your ‘damn diet”? You really gave it a good name!!
    I went thru this about 20+ years ago & now it has come back with a vengence. I have not been dx’d with MS but it sure has the look of it. i wasn’t dx’d years ago either. Dr’s could not find anything & I went to ALOT of different ones. I got to where I could hardly walk & decided something had to be done. But what? Sooo I prayed (don’t delete me) and fasted all day asking for an answer. The next morning I got up feeling better, so I decided the answer to my prayer was the food. To make it short, for the next year I cut off, dairy, corn, starches etc ect…..I gradually got better & better finally symptom free, until a couple of years ago. Some symptoms came that were new to me so I didn’t put it together at first but now I am back to hardly walking, in pain most of the time. I have an appt with Neurologist next month, earliest he could see me, I wonder if they know how hard 1 month can be? But i have read pros & cons about the meds so I have started with the elimination of foods again. It is so encouraging to read sites like yours to know we are not alone & that we really aren’t crazy with all these symptoms. We would all like a wonder pill that would take all of this away. I don’t know about you but sugar has always been my nemasis, I could eat sweets all day long. So they are the hardest hurdle to cross because it is in everything! Enough! I just wanted to let you know I was here and you are not alone!

  4. hello everyone! Your stories are incredible and empowering! For years I too have felt all sorts of exhausted all the time, waking up with aches and pains, seen several doctors, been tested for RA, lupus, lymes disease, migraines, the list goes on. I by personality am an energetic person and don’t lack motivation, but physically cannot get myself off the couch/bed without loading up on caffeine… No way to live… I’m about the try the 90 “damned diet” but your testimonies of progress is really encouraging… I will pray that you continue to be successful in your health progress…. all the best to everyone!!!

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