It was great to see the BBC and Panorama raising the profile of Multiple Sclerosis tonight on national television and in doing so, making people aware that there is now hard evidence that Stem cell treatment is working to improve the lives of some MS patients.
MS is a very nasty progressive neurological condition. When I was diagnosed in 2007, it brought absolute horror, fear, and pain to my door, and also my entire family. Its a very unpredictable condition, with over fifty symptoms, affecting everyone differently.
The show tonight will give a lot of hope to those MS patients who are struggling to see a way forward. Its important when fighting illness that you never give up hope and for me, I was very close to doing this in 2009 when I was really struggling until I started my own recovery in 2010. Hopefully the stem cell program can be accelerated and many people go onto reap the benefits.
In the last few years I have been invited to speak at a number of MS International conventions. Normally 99% of the attendees at such conferences comprise of the pharmaceutical companies and people representing the medical profession. Its always a great occasion for me where I can pick and challenge the brains of the people who are trying to improve the lives of patients like myself across the world.
The last convention I spoke at was in Brussels in July 2015. Interestingly I was the only patient speaking from over twenty International speakers. At this event I took the opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work in trying to solve the MS puzzle, however I also asked the question as to why there is such a huge disconnect between the conventional and unconventional approaches that are available to patients to help them live successfully with MS. As a patient I want to have every piece of artillery in my box when fighting the disease - not just drugs. The issue out there right now, is that for the most part patients still have to work out their recovery plan for themselves. As a patient I want to know more about the power of food, exercise, and vitamin D to name three huge weapons that can aid recovery. What is the international medical community saying in this regard?? To be honest, its muted at best and this needs to change. In this day and age this is totally unacceptable.
Dr Terry Wahls who is also a neurologist took a very aggressive form of MS nearly ten years ago and was on a number of drugs to stop its progress. Her decline continued to accelerate. It wasn't until she changed her approach and her recovery plan that comprised of vitamins and supplements that helped brain disorders, that she halted the progression of her MS, and then started to recover. Dr Wahls story is real and her recovery has been incredible, and she is one of the people who has inspired me to go on my own journey of recovery which resulted in me becoming an Ironman only a few months ago (I am allowed to brag about this for the rest of my life). Have a look at Dr Wahls story here : www.terrywahls.com
There are many other people all over the world who have also taken the fight to MS and their results have been remarkable. This is great news, however I want ALL of the stakeholders involved in the MS sphere to play their part from here on in. Unfortunately I don't see this happening at the speed necessary, but I do know that more and more people are starting to take on board all of the information available today outside of just drugs, when devising their own recovery plan.
Huge progress has been made in this area in the last fifteen years and personally I do believe that they will work it out in the next fifteen years. In fact I am confident that by 2030 MS will stand for Mystery Solved.
Well done tonight Panorama