At age 19, Matt Embry knew something wasn't right with his body. He had just returned home from mountain biking and realized when he was kicking a ball, he couldn't feel it.
"I was having hypersensitivity and numbness in my foot," he said.
"Suddenly, that progressed and went all the way up into my chest. That was the first symptom that I had."
After visiting his doctor and a neurologist, Embry was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He was told there wasn't much available in terms of treatment, and turned down trial drugs because they weren't guaranteed to work.
His father, a research scientist, starting looking further into the condition at a medical library at the University of Calgary. Embry says he and his father decided on a different approach to treat MS.
"It was based largely on a dietary approach," he said. "That was a specific diet that eliminated dairy, gluten, high saturated fat, sugar, low sodium intake and then a high dose of Vitamin D, supplements and exercise."
Asking tough questions
That was more than 20 years ago. Embry says he's been following the diet since then, and he says that has kept his MS in remission.
Embry decided to make a documentary about his experience, and also asks tough questions about pharmaceutical medicine prescribed to MS patients.
"In the last 20 years, as far as I know, there's not been a reduction of canes or wheelchairs or walkers," he said.
"But there's been a lot of high cost drugs that have been put on the market and that patients are taking with significant side effects for some of them. So the tough questions we start asking is are these drugs working in the long term?"
Embry's documentary Living Proof will be screened at the Junction North International Documentary Festival, taking place in Sudbury. He will be in Sudbury on Saturday at 12:30 at the School of Architecture for the screening and to answer questions.