Living with MS
I wasn’t Really Living When I was Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
My name is Marly Ramstad. I am 32 years old. I have been living with MS since 2014. I was diagnosed in January of 2015. At the time I was living and working in Austin, Texas. I am originally from Minneapolis, so it was kind of a total cultural and weather shift.
At the time, I was not taking very good care of myself. I was mentally and emotionally pretty stressed out; pretty strung out. I was really trying to be somebody that I thought I was supposed to be. I had a lot of really intense feelings about myself, negative feelings about myself, tough criticisms, some pretty deep-seeded self-doubt and hatred that was seeping into my relationship, my work and really mostly I was able to stuff it and be positive and fabulous on the outside, but really I was struggling with some pretty serious self-doubt, fear, and things like that.
My MS started really with my right arm in December of that same time period. So I got diagnosed in January, so it was about in the beginning of December that I noticed that my arm was not– it was just kind of numb and my fingers would get tingly and turn on and off. At the time I was also doing a lot of travel for work so I really– and I work in advertising, so there are a lot drinking and a lot of eating pretty decadent meals and things like that.
I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep, and I was traveling all over the country. Probably traveling– I think December I probably moved 20 days out of the month. So I thought maybe it was just because I was traveling and maybe I was just kind of fatigued. Maybe I just had some pinched nerve or something from getting in and out of taxis and being on planes so much.
Then it escalated, as I said, at the beginning of January. I got really dizzy one day. I felt like I was going to faint. I felt like I was going to throw up. My legs “turned on,” is what I call it. They got really tingly and numb, and I had kind of shooting energy, like nerve firings in my legs, and all up and down my legs and then my left arm was also kind of tingly, but my right arm was pretty much dead.
I kind of freaked out and went to the emergency room. At that time they diagnosed me with sciatica, which is what they always do but they sent me to a neurologist who sent me in for the MRIs. By the time we got the MRI results back, I had actually…my conditions worsened from the tingly legs and the numb arm and the dizziness to actual blindness. My eyes actually stopped being able to see. I stopped being able to see. I mean it got worse– it was a very gradual thing.
I didn’t notice it at first. I just started bumping into things and feeling unsure of my steps and not wearing heels anymore, and then it slowly progressed to the point where I literally had a little pin eye to this much. All my peripheral vision was gone and just about this much of my eyes were working. I could barely see.
Obviously that was a cause for concern and actually, the same day that my vision was at it’s worst, was the same day I got my MRI results back. The neurologist was like, “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. You need to go now. You’ve got giant lesions in your brain, and all over your neck, so you need to go.”
I went to the emergency room, and they again gave me a spinal tap, the whole thing, threw me in the MRI for a few hours and did a full body. Came back 10 days later started with the steroid shots and stuff, I was released and diagnosed with MS.
What I Attribute to Regaining My Health
One of the things that I attribute the regaining of my health is dietary changes, and a whole overhaul of my immune system. But what I think really pushed my healing to the next level because even on the diet and doing all those changes there were still a lot of– my legs were still turning on, I was still having some symptoms. I was still also having being plagued with the same mental and emotional issues I had experienced before I went into the hospital. So while living with MS forced me to look at my body as a body and think about my immune system and think about what foods I put in my body causes what kinds of things to react or erupt, or what kind of food can stabilize my immune system and help me stay at a level space. I think that was me understanding my body but I didn’t really understand until now much my mind and feelings about myself contributed to my MS symptoms.
The work that I’ve done with Eva has been exceptionally successful. I want to say that I would not be where I am today, from a healing journey standpoint, without Eva. We would go, for example, into a deep hypnosis and we’d talk to my symptoms. We’d talk to my numb right arm, which took a long time to get to where that came from. We did a lot of sessions around why my right arm was numb. We did a lot of sessions around why my legs would turn on and go numb and become weak. Why I have occasional dizziness and vertigo that I experience, and we went into that.
As we went into these different symptoms, we discovered aspects of myself that were causing these symptoms or that we identified as being deeply rooted beliefs that were causing my nerves to turn on, causing my body to react to these horrible things I was saying to myself, the horrible things I was doing to myself subconsciously, mentally, spiritually. As we were able to break them apart; the symptoms broke apart too.
My Relationship with Eva M Clark and Hypnotherapy
Eva and I actually have a special relationship because we actually do this on the internet so I can imagine that it might be a little bit different for someone who’s in the room; even a little more intimate than the intimacy that I have developed with Eva.
(In hypnosis) I’m aware of and conscious, fully conscious, of what’s happening and I’m describing what’s on the other side of the door to Eva, and she’s prompting me with gentle, reassuring questions to get at the root of what’s causing this numbness, pain, or whatever it is. So, at that point, I think that the session can last anywhere from an hour to two hours where Eva has a very innate sense of knowing that the issues been identified, that we’ve talked it out, that we’ve broken it apart.
If I could summarize quickly where I was and where I am now, I think that I left Texas. I mean just out the very obvious. I left Texas. I moved back to my home where all my friends and family are who know me, who love me, who provide an incredibly supportive community to me. I also I broke off a relationship that I was in that just didn’t feel like me, it didn’t feel right. I started writing again. I was at 10% Marly, 10% capacity, like 10% functioning. I was super anxious, very, very afraid. I couldn’t calm down. I had racing, horrible thoughts and I was– and I didn’t love myself very much. I didn’t really like myself. I wasn’t taking very good care of myself physically, emotionally, and otherwise.
How I am Living with MS Now
It is night and day, it really is. I’m operating a good, depending on the week, at a good 60 to 90% now. Of course that 40% is like I said those sometimes those patterns emerge, long, long-held beliefs about myself. Hard to break those things down, so we continue to work on those. But I think as far as anxiety levels, self-doubt, all the symptoms of the MS, all kinds of self-hatred, I mean really just brutal, cruelty to myself, we’ve pretty much eliminated that cruel voice that used to attack my better judgment, my better sense of myself.
It sounds crazy but we have these things that we tell ourselves, and we don’t have to tell ourselves those stories. We’re not beholden to those stories, and we can change them. We can alter the course of our lives by healing our way of thinking about things. I don’t feel like I have a degenerative nerve disease. I feel like I have a manageable condition that sometimes will present itself if I’m not good to myself, if I’m not listening to myself, if I’m not doing all the things that I worked so hard on with Eva.
So, for example, if my hand does act up, because sometimes it will, very, very rarely, I think to myself, “Okay, what’s going on? What are you–?” Just stopping and noticing that I’m having a symptom and tracking back my thought patterns or my behavior towards myself will help me shake it out. Shake it out and eliminate the symptom I’m having.
What I Gained from My Hypnotherapy Sessions
The most important thing is to trust yourself, to trust Eva and to trust that through the process, amazing, miraculous things will happen. But it’s about being in it. I think a lot of people can’t give up that sense of, “I’m thinking with my frontal lobe. I’m here. This is me. This is me. This is me.” But we’re so much more than our faces and our front side of our brains. There’s so much story telling that we do all the time to ourselves and to the derailment and disease of ourselves. I feel like I diseased my own body and I was a big part, mentally, a big part of the reason why I lost my vision. It’s some ways a metaphor for me. I wasn’t following my dreams. I wasn’t going down the path of the Marly that I believed that I was. I denied parts of myself. I was not being true to myself. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t doing all the things that make me feel the most myself. That make me the most connected to myself. I was denying all of those things.
I was going down a path that was very antithetical to who I am and literally lost my vision. “I lost my vision of myself,” that’s a metaphor which I find is very profound. I think that’s really interesting too how your symptoms express themselves. Right? My numb right arm, I’m right handed, and it wasn’t– my handwriting got all chicken-scratch, and I couldn’t use my hand. When I started pushing through and doing the work and writing again, the symptom hasn’t come back. I haven’t lost my vision again.
So I think that it’s interesting the way that the symptoms manifest themselves in your body and to think about them also as a story you’re telling yourself so the more you break apart those negative stories, the more your body will break apart the symptoms that are causing you suffering.
I don’t think that hypnosis is automatic. You take some Advil and your headache goes away or take a sleeping pill, and you fall asleep. It’s not like that. There’s no magic number. There are no magic “Oh three sessions, and you’re healed.” No. That’s never going to happen. It’s a process. It’s about learning about yourself, about growing about yourself and also learning and growing with Eva because she learns and grows with you and I think that that relationship is really important to your journey because you have someone you can trust with these really really deep and intimate parts of your subconscious, and these really really scary symptoms and the more you’re willing to go there, the more rapid the healing will be.
Right? Because you’re deciding to admit to yourself and you believe you can be a better version of yourself. I instantly feel like a sense of relief, a sense of reconnection to myself. A sense of release and profound understanding of what’s going on and tools to help me maintain any sort of change that happened during the session. It’s a process that, to me, has tangible results, physical, tangible results. When I go into hypnotherapy, and I come out, and I can sleep. I don’t have night terrors. To me, that is pretty huge, right? To me, the hypnotherapy hits me in a space that I need to make any change.
I can do it. If I can literally get all feeling back in my arm and be able to blow dry my own hair again, it’s a big deal.