Find us on:

It Was A Godsend! LDN Helped Vicki Recover from Debilitating MS Symptoms

Vicki Finlayson
March 15, 2017

Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of nerve demyelination, in which the protective covers of nerve cells that provide insulation are damaged. The name of the disease refers to scars (sclerae—referred to these days as lesions or plaques) that often appear in the brain and spinal cord. This damage has the potential to disrupt the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, thereby causing dysfunction and damage. A wide variety of physical and/or mental impairments usually result.

Between 2 and 2.5 million people are affected with multiple sclerosis globally. The disease usually begins between the ages of 20 and 50 and is twice as common in women as in men.[1] The cause of MS is not yet clear, and there is no known cure. Treatments try to prevent new “attacks” and improve symptoms/functioning after an attack. Medications used to treat MS have varying degrees of efficacy, but can have serious negative effects and be poorly tolerated. Many people with MS seek out alternative treatments for their disease.

Looking for a prescriber to consult about LDN?
Find one in your area
Vicki, how did you find out you had multiple sclerosis (MS)?

I had had a little bit of tingling and numbness going on, and I was extremely tired (and I couldn’t really understand why I was so tired), so I went to a neurologist. He did some tests, and diagnosed that I had MS. That was in 1998, two weeks before my 40th birthday.

What were your MS symptoms like?

I had lot of weakness, fatigue, and memory issues. As the years went by, I had an awful lot of nerve pain with my MS, which (from what I understand) wasn’t totally typical. It was very uncomfortable. When I would lie down at night, I couldn't have sheets touch me. It was hard just to lie in bed because of the pain I felt along my back where it touched the bed. I couldn't wear shoes because my feet hurt so badly. I was constantly rubbing my legs due to the pain. I can remember my husband spending hours upon hours rubbing my back at night to help me, but even that wouldn’t eliminate or alleviate the pain. Sometimes my husband just touching me would hurt me. It just increased my pain level. But, a lot of the time, I just needed to see if something would make the pain go away.

How did your MS affect your work life?

Just getting up in the morning, taking a shower, getting prepared for the day became so difficult, too difficult. On top of that, I had mental confusion and memory issues. It wasn’t feasible to work. I ended up on disability and was unable to work for 10 years. I really missed working, however, and I hoped that I would be able to go back someday.

What treatments had you tried?

Before I started LDN, I would always talk to people about my "drawer of drugs." They started me on the CRAB drugs (Copaxone®, Rebif®, Avonex®, Betaseron®). I took Avonex® for 9 years, and after about the 9th year, my doctor decided the Avonex® wasn't doing what it was supposed to, so he switched me to Copaxone®. Along with the CRAB drugs I was taking, I took morphine for the pain. I took Oxycontin® for the breakthrough pain. I was on Neurontin®. I took Baclofen®. And I was on a lot of other medications, since they were trying to treat the spasms and the other different problems I was having from my MS. I probably had 50 different medications that the doctors had me try for my MS and its various symptoms and complications, with virtually no luck or horrific side effects. I also have a really medication-sensitive system, and I wasn't able to take a lot of the drugs due to side effects. So, they decided that they would just start weaning me off a lot of these different drugs. When they took me off the opiates, they discovered that I had gastroparesis (I had a lot of digestive problems) and wasn't able to eat a lot and I was losing a lot of weight. So they were thinking about putting a feeding tube in me, and I wasn't really happy about that. That's around the time when I discovered the LDN. Before I agreed to the stomach tube, I wanted to wait to see what the LDN would do and how it would impact my life.

I probably had 50 different medications that the doctors had me try for my MS and its various symptoms and complications, with virtually no luck or horrific side effects.
What was your emotional state?

When my MS was at its worst, I didn’t have a very good outlook on life. I was depressed. I hurt so badly that I didn’t want to deal with daily activities. It really took a toll on my quality of life. Before LDN, I can remember a lot of times going to bed and just not wanting to wake up the next morning because I just didn't have the will to continue life. I just didn't have the ability to want to continue because it was just so difficult...just getting up in the morning, taking my shower, getting prepared for the day. Very difficult.

When did you start taking LDN and what was it like for you?

I started taking low dose naltrexone on Oct 30th, 2005. Within about 6 months of starting LDN, I was a totally different person. I noticed a complete change in the way my body was feeling. It increased my energy level. My thoughts were a lot clearer. I was just mentally and physically much, much better.

What have your brain scans shown?

About 5 years ago, my neurologist had me repeat my MRI scans. One of the brain lesions they had been monitoring had actually gone down in size. I had no new active lesions, and that’s a good sign! We’re attributing that to the LDN.

How has your pain been since starting LDN?

I have no pain. I'm able to wear my high heels, and I function perfectly, and just have absolutely no pain. I was able to get off all the opiates that I was taking. I stopped taking all my MS drugs that they had prescribed for me. That's quite an accomplishment for me because I had been so uncomfortable and in so much pain.

Did your severe digestive problems change?

After about 6 months of being on LDN, I noticed that my stomach was about 60% better. Nowadays, my stomach is almost 100% better. I have no issues with my stomach, and I attribute that mainly to the LDN, because prior to that, they said there was nothing they could do for me.

How has taking LDN changed your work life?

I had been on LDN for a couple of years, and each year things were just getting better and better. I finally decided that I wanted to go back to work. So I went back to work part-time just to see how I would do. Within two weeks, I was perfectly fine, and they released me to go back to work full-time. I have been working full-time, and I outwork all my coworkers. I just have so much energy. I get up in the morning and I go to work, and I come home and continue my activities in the evening time. It's just been remarkable. LDN has been a godsend for me.

Are you taking any other medications?

No! I only take my vitamins during the day and LDN at night. After 10 years of taking multiple drugs, that's quite an accomplishment. I'm really happy about that.

What are the biggest post-LDN life changes you have experienced?

The biggest change was the way I felt mentally. I had peace of mind that came from knowing I was going to be okay. Once I noticed that I was doing so much better, it changed my thinking and my quality of life. It changed how I felt about life. Because of the LDN, I felt excited to get up in the morning and pursue my day. I put a lot of energy back into my life. I liked life. I liked living again. I also had a new reason to continue: to help other people, to educate people about LDN. Because I saw what a huge impact LDN made on my life, it gave me an opportunity to touch other people’s lives as well by trying to help them talk to their doctors about LDN, and encouraging the doctors to prescribe LDN. To this day I continue reaching out to patients and doctors, and convince them this is the direction that we need to head towards.

Because of the LDN, I felt excited to get up in the morning and pursue my day. I put a lot of energy back into my life. I liked life. I liked living again.
What do you think people need to know about LDN?

I’m amazed that we don’t hear a lot more people talking about LDN. It just floors me that it isn’t an option available to a lot more people. I would like to see our government more involved in funding. I would like to see more of the mainstream media doing more promoting of low dose naltrexone. LDN is definitely something that warrants the research and the funding, and without the news media and the funding, we're just not going to get it to where it needs to be. I think nowadays with the cost of medications and their side effects, I think it's definitely to a person's advantage to research low dose naltrexone and convince their doctor to prescribe it.

 

[1] Milo R, Kahana E. Multiple sclerosis: geoepidemiology, genetics and the environment. Autoimmun Rev. March 2010: 9 (5):A387-94

More About Vicki:

More About Vicki: My family is my life....I have a 2 1/2 year granddaughter named Sophia she is the light of my life. I love spending time with her and being Grammy. My husband, also the love of my life, we love spending our time together. We have a boat and enjoy our time on the water. We also love spending time in our yard. When we aren't busy with family we have the best group of friends spending fun times laughing with them. I'm still working and love my job. I'm in the medical field and occasionally have the opportunity to share my LDN story with my patients. I just tell them google my name "Vicki Finlayson" read my story. I've actually had people come back and are amazed at how I'm doing. I'm able to help educate families about LDN who are struggling with their disabilities and are so desperately looking for alternatives. I've always said LDN should be on the top of every doctor's prescription list when considering writing a script. If you have any questions, I can be contacted at [email protected].