“When I was 42 years old, numbness in my fingers and a previous optic neuritis episode were diagnosed as relapsing/remitting Multiple Sclerosis. A number of different drugs, including Copaxone and Avonex injections and I.V. Solumedrol were prescribed for me.
Though several I.V. infusions of 1,000 mg daily of Solumedrol stopped the effects of severe relapses or exacerbations, the side effects and dangers of that kind of therapy made it inadvisable for every exacerbation. The injections of Avonex or Copaxone didn’t seem, to me, effective at all in reducing the number of or correcting the exacerbations, and they produced very unpleasant side effects.
Eliminating wheat (gluten) form my diet 8 years ago dramatically reduced the number of exacerbations. However, when I did “relapse” and had trouble walking, I was reluctant to take any more drugs.
A well-known neurologist, Dr David Perlmutter, told me to seek out hyperbaric oxygen therapy for my next exacerbation. He, at the time, was located 1,000 miles away from me, making treatment at his facility impossible. It took me over 2 years to find somewhere that would offer HBOT to me “off label”. That means that insurance will not pay for it to treat MS (It has been used in England for MS since the 80’s, and insurance pays for it).
When Oxygen Oasis Hyperbaric Wellness Center opened last year, about two miles from my house, I was thrilled! Whenever I am wobbling when I walk and need a cane, am having serious trouble with fatigue or feel other MS symptoms, I go to Oxygen Oasis for 5-10 treatments. Usually, five days of hyperbaric oxygen therapy gets me incredibly better, and everyone who watches me is as amazed and happy as I am about the improvements!!
The benefits of HBOT for MS sufferers are so wonderful that I want to help other MS people know about it. Until it is clinically proven – that HBOT improves MS symptoms, the FDA will not approve it for health insurance coverage. That kind of proof requires a great deal of money, and pharmaceutical companies which sell extremely expensive MS drugs ($56,000 a year for the last one a neurologist wanted me to take, with dangerous side effects. I did not take it!) are not going to spend any money to prove that hyperbaric oxygen therapy works.
Until the MS Society or other organizations wake up and recognize the exciting help for MS sufferers that HBOT can offer, it is up to us to be our own “best advocates”, listen to fellow MS patients, and do what will help ourselves!!”