One day in the beginning of 2008, I woke up with both my feet tingling. I thought it might be because I had pushed myself too hard the day before at the gym and was having some kind of reaction, but by the end of the day the tingling had slowly climbed up all the way to my neck. That’s how my journey with multiple sclerosis began. That first flare up was very aggressive and it affected pretty much my whole body. I felt tingling and numbness in my arms and legs, I lost control of my right arm, I had weakness on my left leg. For many months, I felt so fatigued that sometimes, even standing up for a few minutes could be too much effort for me. I’d stand up by the sink while doing the dishes for 5 or 6 minutes and had to stop and sit down to rest before I could continue. Even after being diagnosed and starting with the prescribed medication, I didn't feel I was getting any better. Actually, I felt I was getting worse, with more symptoms and weakness as the weeks went by.
At the time, I was doing a lot of research into different treatments, because I was starting to realize that the medication prescribed by my doctor didn’t seem to be helping much. It was then that I found out that a friend of mine, with whom I had lost contact for some years, also had MS. According to common friends of ours, she was following a treatment with a neurologist from Sao Paulo who prescribed vitamins, and was doing amazing. I immediately called her. She told me about the fantastic treatment she was receiving from Dr. Cicero Coimbra, and the great results she was having with vitamin D. She filled me with hope and for the first time since my diagnosis, I felt that I was starting to see a light at the end of my tunnel; that I was getting close to find the answer I had been searching for.
After a few conversations with my friend and some more research into vitamin D and MS, I was convinced I should try that treatment, and I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Coimbra. It took a few months, but after I started taking high doses of vitamin D, my symptoms stopped getting worse and then slowly disappeared. The numbness I felt in many parts of my body resolved completely, and the tingling sensation subsided. I regained control of my right arm and hand, and my left leg became stronger. The fatigue became less intense each day. One by one, my problems reversed, and my MS went into remission. I have been on this treatment for 9 years now, the only thing left from MS is a different feeling on my right hand, which never went away, and tingling in my arms when I exercise too much or feel stressed out. Otherwise, I have had no further problems with MS, no flare-ups, and no new lesions or disease progression. I no longer feel any fatigue or heat intolerance, which are two very common symptoms for people with MS. My last MRIs, done in May of 2015, showed that some of my lesions are shrinking, and that I have had no brain atrophy (loss of grey matter) since 2009! I feel very healthy and full of energy, and I couldn't be happier with this treatment.
I am so fortunate for being told about Dr. Coimbra very early in my diagnosis, and my hope is that all patients that suffer from any autoimmune disorder (not only MS) will have the same chance, and will be able to get the information they need about the importance of realistic doses of vitamin D for those diseases. Words will never be enough to describe the gratitude I have for Dr. Coimbra, for the difference he has made in my life and in the lives of thousands of patients around the word.
Ana Claudia Domene is the author of the book "Multiple Sclerosis and (lots of) Vitamin D". To learn more about the book please visit our page "Book & Videos".