Alternative therapy helps MS patient pursue lost passion
By Brandon Dumsky, The Examiner, 4/12/2014
John O’Brien of Blue Springs loved running, but a debilitating disease has prevented him to enjoy his passion for nearly 25 years.
That is until now. O’Brien has just participated in a marathon for the first time in decades – ever since the early 1970s, when the former smoker was introduced to running by his daughter.
…In 1990, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease in which your body’s immune system eats away the protective sheath, called myelin, that covers nerves. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, some symptoms include balance problems, muscle weakness, blurry vision and coordination difficulties. A cure has not been found for the autoimmune disease.
“It was devastating,” said O’Brien of the day he was told the diagnosis. “I sunk into a major depression.”
A year later, O’Brien took an early retirement from his computer programming position and has since relied on disability and his pension as sources of income. Since his diagnosis, he has used a walking cane for mobility, and for some years, he became wheelchair-bound due to his progressive form of MS. He also said he experienced “intense bouts of fever” from his condition.
“I would get limp and sometimes couldn’t even blink.”
In 1998, a person introduced him to apitherapy, the medicinal use of products made by honeybees. This includes bee venom usage, according to the American Apitherapy Society.
Using bee venom for the first time to treat John’s MS was a turning point for him, say the O’Briens. Laura said he was ailing severely due to his MS before the apitherapy treatments…