All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for August 2003

Cd'A man uses holistic power to fight MS

Former stockbroker opened metaphysical shop, offers classes

August, 2003
By Karen Sherman
Staff writer
Coeur d'Alene Press
Coeur d'Alene

A web of community support is the strength of one man.

All Mitch Driller had to do was ask.

"As a male in this society you're told to do it yourself and be strong," Driller said. "But at some point you have to ask for help and that's the hardest part."

The 49-year old Coeur d'Alene resident was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1995 and since then has been asking friends and family for help. Prior to being diagnosed with the disease, Driller was a successful mortgage lender in California.

In 1991, he moved his family to Coeur d'Alene and later became a stock broker at D.A. Davidson. But on his 40th birthday, he started to experience numbness in his feet, hands, entire lower body and he eventually lost vision in his left eye.

It took 13 months for the doctors to diagnose him, because the symptoms had not fully surfaced.

"They can't say right up front what you have, because it mimics so many other diseases," Driller said. "Not knowing was the worst part of this whole process."

However, Driller didn't let the disease get the best of him. He wanted to return to North Idaho College, get his degree in computer information technology and put his knowledge to use.

In 1996, he contacted SL Start & Associates and the agency granted him a scholarship that paid for his tuition and books. The agency, which assists disabled people, helped Driller earn his degree and independence.

"When I first met Mitch, he was trying to figure out what his future was going to look like," said Virgil Edwards, vocational consultant for Projects with Industry. "He came through Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and he had to look at what his options were."

Although he earned his degree, his experiences led him in an opposite direction.

While being treated for MS, Driller lost his medical insurance and he couldn't afford the drugs that prevent further attacks. He was forced to look at alternative medicine.

He started attending regular sessions of the healing art Reiki, meditation and massage. He asked others to teach him a form of meditation called subjective communication, and he's now teaching a class of 30 students.

Instead of fixing computers, Driller believes he's helping others by operating a metaphysical shop called Unusual and Unique in Coeur d'Alene. He opened the shop in April, and provides free Reiki clinics for the community.

"Everything happens for a reason and MS brought me down this holistic path," he said. "I thank God every day it happened to me, because indirectly it made this store available to the community."

Edwards said he was impressed with Driller's perseverance despite the disease.

"He has strived to be independent and on his own," Edwards said. "One of the most difficult things is to try to get people past their disabilities."

But Driller depends on a team of people to keep him "vertical and moving."

"It's a team effort," he said. "I just have to seek out people to help me."

Copyright © 2003, Coeur d'Alene Press