Category Archives: Uncategorized

Could the Zika Virus be Devastating to People with MS?

100_0262      The Zika virus is being called a worldwide health crisis mostly because of its apparent effects on pregnant women and a high rate of microcephaly which is a rare birth defect. This virus is already suspected as having a link to Guillain-Barre syndrome which has also been suspected as a possible trigger of multiple sclerosis in people who are, or might, be genetically predisposed to developing this auto-immune disorder. And Guillain-Barre syndromes symptoms can include severe fatigue and varying degrees of temporary partial paralysis. Sound familiar?

     The good news is that this mosquito-borne virus has so far been contained in more tropical environments than where MS is generally to be found. But even this offer’s only a minimal amount of comfort as this virus also seems to be able to be transmitted from one human host to a mosquito while being bitten. If this does in fact turn out to be the case then any person who travels to an area where Zika is prevalent could be infected and return to a home in the northern hemisphere during summer months and quite possibly transmit the disease to the local mosquito population thus spreading it to a brand new geographical location where MS is much more prevalent. And if all of that isn’t bad enough it has already been discovered that this disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact much like a sexually transmitted disease.

     At the moment, main street science is saying that they doubt that the Zika virus is a cause for panic as the symptoms in healthy individuals have for the most part been mild and short lived something akin to having the flu virus for a few days or up to perhaps a week. But as yet we don’t know how this virus might affect someone with a compromised immune system like those of us with multiple sclerosis who already suffer from some very similar symptoms as to what some of the more severe cases are reporting.

     What bothers me the most is that I remember this other little virus that was supposed to be nothing more than a wimpy little pest that otherwise shouldn’t be much to worry about? And that wimpy little virus HIV, turned out to be the cause of AIDS!


Bill Walker

MS Disability Foster Care and Giving Back

Mountains in a cloud

Twin Sisters in a cloud bank

     According to an associated press article I recently read Washington State is over a thousand foster care homes shy of what is needed. And I know that this problem exists throughout the United States. I believe that I have a solution, or at least a partial one, to this problem.

     I have a disability, multiple sclerosis, and feel that I would make a very good foster parent as I know that I am a very patient person. However, I have not really pursued being a foster parent because I am a single male and wonder if that would work against me in the long run? But I do own my own home with two extra bedrooms that I could convert easily if I decided to do this. The other concerns I have are that my house needs a fair amount of maintenance work that my disability money just will never cover. And would also need repairs before any child could live here and I’m not sure that DSHS or Child Protective Services would even consider that expenditure? If they would, I know that there are a lot of other disabled people in a similar situations that a program like this would definitely benefit if they knew they could provide a home as well? And my last worry would be if by being a foster parent would that alter, in anyway, my current disability benefits as they stand now?

     If these concerns could be satisfactorily addressed I believe that DSHS would find a whole new batch of willing foster care parents who would be more than willing to share their empathy with these children who need a temporary home with positive reinforcement while also providing another financial tool to the disabled who so badly need it. And of course, the disabled need to also be needed by society and what better way than this to achieve that goal.

     This could be a very positive match between two groups of people who need to feel that society has not forgotten what they, kids and adults, can contribute back if only the right connections could be worked out?  


Bill Walker

Like my writing? Want to read my first novel about a pod of Killer Whales traveling up the Pacific Coast of North America? Here’s the link:

MS Football and the Cheapest Easiest Fastest Best Tasting Thin Crust Pizza Ever!

Pizzas ready for the oven

    Ingredient to make Pizza including Mission Tortilla Wraps And the secret is to start by using any one of the many assorted Mission Tortilla Wraps as the crust. The larger wraps come in regular, 100% whole wheat, garden spinach herb, jalapeno cheddar, and there may be others that I’m not as yet aware of. Anyone of these larger wraps is absolutely perfect for creating a personal pan sized pizza. And add just a salad or a fruit or veggie side and one of these pizzas is usually enough for two. The following ideas are just a few of a multitude of ways that you can prepare these incredible pizzas for any occasion including as a football favorite.

     For your more traditional pizza you can start with either the regular wrap, or the whole wheat wrap as a healthier fiber filled crust laid out on a pizza pan or aluminum foil, and spread about a third of a cup, you can adjust to your own taste, of either your own homemade pizza sauce or any one of a number of store bought brands. I use Ragu pizza sauce as that tastes the best as far as I’m concerned. Then using a spoon spread the sauce as evenly as possible around the crust coming to with in about a half inch of the outer edge of the tortilla wrap. And then, just like a pizza place, sprinkle on your favorite kind of shredded cheese, for me its provolone, covering the sauce. Add any toppings that you like and bake in a preheated 350% oven, remember oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on it the first time, for about twelve minutes.

     And then for a change of pace you can also start with a garden herb wrap and instead of pizza sauce use about a third of a cup of ranch or blue cheese dressing, any brand will do, and spread around the same way as a regular pizza topped with your choice of shredded cheese or cheeses and topped with whatever toppings you like onions, mushrooms, green peppers you get the idea. I use this recipe quite often for vegetarian pizzas and it works great as a main course with a salad on the side.

     Another way of making one of these pizzas would be to start with a jalapeno cheddar wrap and spread out about a half cup of either warm precooked taco meat or warm refried beans spread out in the same way as you would with pizza sauce. In this kind of pizza I usually use sharp cheddar cheese, again use what you like as that’s the beauty of these you can do anything, and then top with jalapeno peppers for a spicy hot Mexican pizza you won’t soon for get. And then after cooking top with fresh salsa and/or cool sour cream. This one is very filling.

     Want more ideas? You can start with any flavor wrap and spread about a quarter cup of olive oil and then your favorite kind of cheese with sprinkled oregano leaves and or fresh garlic or garlic salt for a great white pizza. Another idea would be to use any wrap with about a third of a cup of BBQ sauce spread out just like above and topped with your choice of cheeses and either precooked pulled chicken or pork for an awesome BBQ pizza that is also great topped with cold coleslaw after it comes out of the oven. And yes, instead of BBQ sauce, use your own favorite Buffalo hot wing sauce with some blue cheese dressing on the side to help cool off your taste buds as the perfect football pizza party treat.

     Want to get your kids involved? These are fun quick pizzas to make where they can create exactly what they like and want to eat for special occasions.

     And these are just a few of the ideas that you can use, but be creative, even steak sauce with cheese and precooked steak make an incredible pizza that you can also either roll or wrap as a sandwich! And if you’re creative enough I bet you could even use a wheat wrap and come up with some outrageous dessert or breakfast pizzas of your own.

     In the weeks and months ahead let me know what you come up with and perhaps I’ll do a sequel to this article with your own creative Mission Tortilla Wrap recipes! 

Like my writing? My debut novel Visus that follows a pod of killer whales up the North American Coast is now for sale. The link to buy it is:


Diplopia is an eye condition that I have never heard of and thought that I would pass along to my readers. Thank you for this article, very informative!

Ferocious Cantaloupe

diplopiaDiplopia. Ever heard of this word before? Me neither – at least not until I ended up with it. It’s more commonly referred to as double vision. This is the latest of my MS relapses. It’s been a killer hot, dry summer here. And like most people with MS, I have heat intolerance (also called Uhthoff’s Phenomena – there’s another fun new name to learn!). What that means is that my body doesn’t regulate its own temperature properly. So when it gets hot, my system becomes overly stressed, causing nausea, weakness, “pseudo-exacerbation” (which is a fancy term that just means existing symptoms feel worse for a while), and sometimes even new relapses.

Suddenly, about seven weeks ago, we were on our way to church when I noticed that everything looked very strange. Every item in my view outside of the car was slightly out of focus, similar to viewing…

View original post 1,176 more words


Lindt Chocolate Bars

     Research has already proven that one of the biggest factors in Multiple Sclerosis, as well as many other diseases both autoimmune and otherwise, is that of inflammation. It is becoming apparent that this one indicator of an MS attack is what may be the biggest factor in why people suffer from the debilitating effects of MS, which is why a recent study about chocolates amazing ability to reduce inflammation in both heart attack and stroke victims caught my eye.

     This study was done on older adults, and to be fair here, it had nothing to do with multiple sclerosis but the study did show the amazing ability of flavonoids, which are found in chocolate, to decrease inflammation throughout the entire circulatory system as well as the brain. And since the brain is nothing more then a cluster of neuron tissue, which is what MS attacks, I think it’s only safe to assume that chocolate would also significantly reduce inflammation in the nervous system as well.

     And this study was done with people who were eating about half of a regular cheap store bought candy bar each day made of mostly milk chocolate and not the darker higher content of cocoa chocolate bars that you find in many health food stores. These chocolate bars cost significantly more then what you pay at your local convenience store and have far less sugar in them, but the flavonoid content of them is many times higher then what milk chocolate contains, which is very little.

     If you are unaware of what flavonoids are, you may have heard on the news in the past that drinking either grape juice or red wine is healthful because of the high amount of flavonoids found in them. It’s thought; that maybe the reason why Italians can eat such a high fat and carbohydrate diet without the same incidents of heart disease that we experience in this country is because of the daily glass of wine they consume at lunch and/or dinner. And the flavonoids in chocolate bars with a cocoa content of at least 50% and higher is many times higher then what is found in even a full glass of  red wine.

     Another natural food that is also extremely high in flavonoids are dried cherries which are actually prescribed by dieticians for many ailments to also fight, or counter, inflammation throughout the body. So if you can find a candy bar with 80% cocoa that also has dried cherries mixed in as well then that’s all that much better and they do make them because that’s what I eat but they cost anywhere from $2.50 to $4.00 dollars. However you only need to eat four or five small pieces to get a large dose of the beneficial flavonoid content which means one candy bar can last a week.

     In my opinion this is one of the best things that you can try on your own to see if it may help in reducing some of the effects of multiple sclerosis and the accompanying inflammation. And let’s face it the worst outcome you could experience is that nothing changes accept you have something to look forward to each and every night, either after dinner, or before you go to bed.

     Bone Appetite!  


By Bill Walker  

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MS and Edible Pot or THC


100_0562     I’m not a big fan of edible marijuana only because you’re never quite sure how much you have consumed until it takes affect. Where as when you smoke it the effects are quick and very apparent almost immediately. I will admit that in either instance it does a great job in reducing my spasticity and pain in my legs and body. With that in mind here is a picture blog of the many edible forms of THC that are available, legally, in Washington State.

Topical $40.00

Topical $40.00


Brownies six for $40.00


Cookies $15.00

These prices vary from store to store and week to week. This industry is so new that changes in product and prices are always changing. Inhalers are also available. The vapor cartridge costs $50.00. The vapor pen and cartridge cost $65.00. When I checked last the price of the cheapest gram of pot you can smoke was a very reasonable $10.00 or $35.00 for an eighth of a gram. However that is not one of the more potent brands.


Zoots Lozenge Drops $35.00








MS and My Retinal Detachment

     100_0548 I have Multiple Sclerosis and I have also had some pretty serious issues with my right eye lately which, surprisingly enough, have absolutely nothing to do with each other. First, over this last summer, I had a detached Vitreous which was terrifying in that I had floaters and all kinds of visual distortions that ultimately my body was able to correct on its own. And then a few weeks ago in early November I started to have what I thought was another round of the same detachment so I paid little attention to it until I started to lose about 60 to 70% of my vision in my right eye which sent me back to the eye doctor. And in this case it was a very good thing that I did as a Detached Retina I learned is a whole lot worse, seeing as it will eventually lead to going blind in that eye, if not corrected quickly.

     A scant 24 hours after my diagnosis I found myself going into the first of a two day procedure where they inject a gas bubble straight into your eye to push the retina back into place, which sounds gross, but isn’t nearly as uncomfortable as you might think. On the second day I was taken into the laser room where they shot a laser beam straight into my right eye to reattach, or weld would be more like it, the retina back into its proper location. As the Ophthalmologist worked on my eye he started to tell me just how lucky I was to have this happen now as opposed to ten years ago when this procedure was just in the very early phase of being developed. In other words, I probably would have lost the use of my right eye ten years ago and for many people once this occurs in one eye the likely hood of it happening in the other eye jumps significantly which is why I have to go back in two weeks to have the laser part of this procedure done again on a few weak spots in my left eye.

     And this procedure actually had a profoundly positive effect on my overall out look when it comes to also having MS, I started to consider just how fast science is moving and discovering new ways of treating and curing many health problems. If you’ve been reading all of the studies that are currently being done on MS and a wide variety of other Autoimmune disorders, as well as all diseases really, you start to think that it really is possible that we all may once again be able to hike up a mountain side or ride a one hundred mile marathon bike race without all of the ravages of these awful diseases holding us back.

     Don’t get me wrong, I certainly didn’t enjoy my Detached Retina experience by any means, but it did help me to find my faith in a medical system that I have quite often been critical of in the recent past. We will find a cure to Multiple Sclerosis in the near future, of that I’m absolutely certain. My Holiday wish for all of us is to see, and experience life once again to its fullest, without any adverse effects from this degenerative malady that we call Multiple Sclerosis!


Happy Holidays to all with hopes for 2015 being the year that we can truly see the beginning of the end of this disease. And, who knows, perhaps the cure has already been discovered and is just a clinical trial or two away from becoming a reality!


Bill Walker

MS and My Experience in a Clinical Trial

Bill Walker

Bill Walker

Literally just months before I was stricken with my first major MS attack I quit my job to search for another position which meant giving up my health insurance and everything else in hopes of bettering my life. And as you probably have already figured out, this was not one of my best ideas and I paid for that mistake mightily. Let’s fast forward a year and a half roughly from that point to my diagnosis of a major disease with no insurance and no money to speak of to try and treat my illness. It became pretty apparent pretty quickly that without insurance I was going to have to be creative when trying to deal with the crushing news that I had Multiple Sclerosis and no way to financially deal with it. And then someone, I don’t remember who, asked if I had considered signing up for a Clinical Trial?

     When I first started checking out what and where I could go I was apprehensive about whether or not you needed to be insured before they would consider you, and when I found out that you didn’t need any insurance I was ready to do whatever it took to get signed up as it finally felt like something was going right in my life. A few phone calls was all it took to bring me to Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle Washington and to Doctor Mariko Kita head of staff in the Neurology’s clinical trial’s department. It just so happened that they had two new studies that were just getting underway and in both cases the patient, me, was assured of getting a real drug and not a placebo as can often happen in one of these studies where a control group is always used to determine the efficacy of the drug, or drugs, that are being studied. After considering them both I choose the one that sounded a little bit safer and began the long question and answer process that you have to go though before even being seriously considered. And on the very next visit I was accepted into the study I wanted to participate in and shuttled off to my intake physical which is a real physical where you are probed prodded and lab tested for anything that could negatively influence the outcome of the study before finally being sent to EKG for a heart monitor test. I passed everything with flying stars and told when to return to start my study medication.

     In the study that I choose to participate in there were three groups the first one was the control group that received 20mg Copaxone and since this group was receiving a pre-filled daily dose there was no way they could use this group as a blind study group where the Doctors who were doing the study wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in results with the drug being studied which is often the case. The other two groups consisted of one that would receive the regular dose of 0.25mg Betaseron, now I think they have changed that to 0.30mg, every other day and the third group would get the increased Betasron dose of 0.50mg every other day. The study was a two year blind study between the two Beatseron groups to determine if the larger dose was more effective then the regular dosage. After the two years was finished I received the study results and found out that I had been in the regular 0.25mg dose of Betaseron group. And in the studies final conclusions it was determined that there was no statistical difference between the regular dose of Betaseron and the larger dose of Betaseron.

     My own personal conclusions were a bit different though once you consider that I had received thousands of dollars worth of medication and, for the most part, free health care for two years, my conclusion was a resoundingly positive winning scenario where I was happy to have played my part for science.

     However there are many things to consider before deciding to become a part of a Clinical trial. First of all many of these studies are done at University Hospitals which are almost always located in the heart of the biggest cities in the country which means, or at least in my case it did, an hour and a half drive several times a week in the beginning of the study and at least once every couple of months towards the end. And these studies are run on a very tight schedule so getting caught in traffic adds quite a bit of stress when you’re trying to make an appointment while also trying not to go postal on many of the idiots who seem to think that if they can just get ahead of you, it will be clear sailing to where ever they need to be.

     And when you finally get to the hospital there is another set of problems as many of these hospitals are mini-cities just in themselves, with the Neurology Department on the twentieth floor of one building, your blood draw at the Lab in a completely different building, and the MRI machine located in the basement of a third building a block away, and on some visits you may have to go to all three buildings before you’re done. And for the most part it’s really up to you to get to these separate locations on your own or with family help if at all possible.

     And the paperwork, oh yes, the paperwork, at the beginning of every study be prepared to receive a large notebook sized study manual that will outline the entire study from medication to exams and whatever you and everyone else including Doctors, Nurses, and Clinicians, are expected to perform. And because, this is really a contract, you are expected to read each and every page before you sign each and every page. And when that’s all done they close the deal with the scariest page of all which is the one that states that you understand that though every precaution has been taken to insure your safety there is always the possibility that something might go wrong and that by signing this document you are pretty much giving up all of your legal rights throughout the study and beyond. In essence, this page states that you’re consenting to be a lab rat with very few legal rights, but you’re also accepting the possibility that this study medication may also turn out to be the ultimate cure.

     With all of that in mind, would I ever consider being in another Clinical Trial in the future? The answer for me would be a resounding, “Yes”! I can’t think of a better way to help my fellow MS’ers then to put myself into this position to help find a cure to this monster of a disease. And if I could find one where the research included the study of stem cell injection with the possibility of repairing the damage to the myelin sheathing around my nerves I would be all in as this, in my opinion, seems to be the best path to finding a meaningful treatment or even an eventual cure for this debilitating disease. And if that ever happens, you all will be the first to know!


Bill Walker

The More Humorous Side of Multiple Sclerosis


Election 2014, Run Forest Run!

     Though I am not happy about having MS I do have to admit from time to time I have to laugh about something’s that are a direct result of my disease.


     You know, it might be MS if, the next time your at the Doctor’s office scanning through all of the entertainment and fashion magazines and find yourself asking, “Who are these people?” And it might be MS if you find that you can read a newspaper or your favorite magazine twice as fast as anyone else in your family because your fingers just can’t seem to separate the individual pages.

     And it also might be MS if, you can shoot a pen eight feet out and away from between your fingers, like a dart, every time you go and try to pick one up sending family and friends diving for cover. And it may also be MS if, the next time you look at your check registry and find that you dated all of your check payments for the year 2017. And finally, you know that it might be MS if, you discover that you have changed the spelling of many common words in the English language the next time you sit down to write a letter! Thank God for spell check, even if I do hate those squiggly red lines!


     Trying to keep a lighter attitude towards Multiple Sclerosis I think is a healthy approach. If anyone wants to have my blog linked to their email so they can ignore the thousand places that I post these on facebook, all you have to do is just look to the right of this page where it tells you how to sign up to receive this blog as a link that you can open directly from your email, or you can just click on one of the thousand links in facebook, your choice!


     Next blog, I hope, will be about my experience of being in a, Clinical Trial, if you’re interested!


Bill Walker

MS and Beyond goes to Haunted Northern State


The old on campus church

     I worked on the grounds of Northern State Hospital in Sedro-Woolley, WA for over five years at two different jobs and with Halloween just around the corner I thought I would share some of my experiences, as well as a few others, during my employment their. As many of you have heard, or perhaps not, this old psych hospital built and opened in 1912 is purported to be quite haunted. I can certainly attest to the fact that there is at least some very strange energy that manifests itself on this sprawling 400 acre plus site.


The fog you see in this picture was not visible when this picture was taken and there is no electricity to that building so it’s not steam.

     My first job on these grounds was with Job Corp which is located, in part, in the four old dormitory buildings that housed almost all of the patients until the hospital was closed in 1979. And these buildings are still used for the same purpose for the kids attending Job Corp. And part of my job was to do bedroom checks, since I worked the night shift, making sure the students were all where they were supposed to be. The dorm I worked in had two floors, boys on the ground level, and girls on the second floor, and each floor is set up in a T formation with heavy magnetic steel fire doors separating the three different hallways that make up the T. All three of these double fire doors are set up to close together in the case of a fire as they are all on the same electrical circuit. I always knew when I was being escorted along my rounds by something, or someone that I could not see, as quite often when I would pass thru one of the three sets of fire doors they would suddenly close right behind me but the other two sets would remain open. Like I already said, that’s impossible, they are all on the same circuit and it wasn’t the same set of doors each time. It varied I guess depending on which set my invisible helper decided to release for my benefit.

     If you ever watched the show Ghost Hunters on A&E they had a half hour segment about Northern State where in one camera shot you can actually see a shadow step out from behind a wall and into a hallway and then suddenly step back out of the camera shot. I have been down that hallway once on a tour and it’s blocked off so you can’t go any further then where you see the shadow person emerge from and then disappear from. I guess permanently sealed doorways don’t present much of a problem for him or her!

     I also worked at the Evaluation & Treatment Center that used to be housed on the same grounds about a quarter of a mile down the hill from Job Corp. And much to the dismay of two of our nurses, Shadow Man, as he is referred too, made a couple of visits to see us down there as well. The first one was when one of our night nurses was looking out our break room window, not really thinking about much of anything, when she said that the whole window became shadowed over just like someone was walking right past the window except, other then a shadow, there was nobody their. The second nurse to make his acquaintance about a year later had gone outside for a break during a heavy rainstorm. She had been standing under our front door eve when she very suddenly ran back inside exclaiming, “Oh my god, Oh my god, I think I just saw shadow man.”

     After calming down she explained how she had just been kind of staring out at the rain when she suddenly noticed a complete full outline of a man running thru the rain. The thing was though, as she put it, “I could see the rain falling right thru him, but it was just a shadow.” I thought that was going to be the last night we ever saw her but she did continue to work their even after her encounter though she rarely went outside by herself after that night.

     I have many other stories that I heard from students and the like but I’ll close with the two scariest stories of all. The first happened in the hospitals administration building that houses a different treatment center from the one I worked at.

     One night two nurses went to get on the elevator that runs between the basement and the first and second floors. However, the basement is no longer used except for storage so the elevator is locked out from going down to that level. On this night though the ghosts had other plans and not only did the elevator go down to the basement it refused to go back up after the doors opened and then stayed open no matter what buttons they pushed. I was told that it took the fire department to come and unlock the stairway door and escort these two nurses back upstairs because they wouldn’t leave the open elevator until their rescuers got down there.

     And finally, the old hospital building that is on the grounds has been used on a couple of occasions to film horror movies by Valentine Films. One movie called, Bloody Mary, didn’t need any computer to add special effects. In one scene a woman is in a bathroom and is supposedly being attacked by Bloody Mary and as the camera pulls away so you can no longer see her, the bathroom lights start flickering on and off rapidly, creating a great effect along with her screams. However, like the magnetic doors, this bathroom is wired into the electrical system for that entire section of the hospital which means that there is no way the light’s can do that. And if you tried to do this from the electrical panel you would blow out the entire system for that part of the building. It’s in the film which you can still get on DVD online.

     So if you ever find yourself on the grounds of Northern State remember, It’s always Halloween their, so expect the unexpected.



Bill Walker