WORLD MS DAY 2017
I remember it like yesterday sitting on a beach in Mauritius when my body came under attack in an instant in the Summer of 2006. My right arm went pins and needles and over a period of 24 hours this sensation travelled right throughout my whole body. I was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night worried sick, knowing something was seriously wrong, but no idea what it was.
This summer that was almost eleven years ago, and from that day in Mauritius little did I know that my life would take on a completely new trajectory. Its been an incredible journey of self discovery, pain, anxiety, sadness, bitterness, personal development and growth to say the least but as I have come to understand now, adversity = growth and growth = progress in life.
One of my main goals over the last number of years is to share with people as much information as possible that may help them or a family member work out their own recovery plan when living with MS. What has saddened me in this timeframe is how the whole discussion around MS recovery now is based on drugs and big pharma. It's incredible really how big pharma has pushed its way into such a position where it now is a key player and influencer with many of the stakeholders in the MS world.
People contact me all the time looking for guidance on how to start a plan of recovery. They are often perplexed as they might have visited their GP or neurologist who spends ten minutes talking about disease modifying drugs, with a few token lines thrown in on lifestyle if you are lucky but then back to the drugs. Very little guidance on the role vitamin D supplementation can play for patients, the role of exercise, importance of nutrition and meditation to name a few.
My message today on this very important day across the world is that yes DMD's and MS drugs in general cerainly have a role to play in peoples recovery plans, off course they do. However what the science is telling us is what is of equal, if not more importance is for MS patients to make lifestyle changes. The science is there if you look hard enough - that if you move to a more plant based whole food diet, reducing your levels of saturated fat, cutting out dairy, MS patients tend to have better outcomes. Look at the work of Dr Swank that for some reason or another has been buried over the years, (the cynic in me saying because there is no money in telling people to eat broccoli) and many other scientific papers and professors that agree with the findings of SWANK. The excellent neurologist Dr George Jelinek outlines this and more science in his wonderful book "OVERCOMING MS" how important it is to change your lifestyle if you want to manage your MS. This book is my MS bible, and a must have for any MS patient. Interestingly he sets out a recovery plan for MS patients from the start of the book, and discusses role of conventional medicine to the rear as thats where he feels it should come in terms of ranking when people are trying to work out how to fight back. Remember this guy is a highly regarded neurologist, who lives with MS, and also his mum tragedly died of MS - I think he knows what he is talking about.
So on a very personal front, my own good news is that 11 years into this journey I continue to live very well with MS. In the last fifteen months i have switched to a whole food plant based diet and right now I am training for my 5th IRONMAN race in the last two years. I recently got the results of my MRI scan and my neurologist informed me that there has been NO DIESEASE DEVELOPMENT in the last two years (since my last scan) - This is a brilliant result and I was genuinely thrilled when I got this news last week.
My passion is now greater than ever to share as much useful information that becomes available to me to not only the MS world but to anyone who has an interest in their health and all round wellbeing.
I am very thankful that I am healthy today and living well with MS as I know only too well that unfortunately many or not. All I can say is to keep an open mind, never give up, and work as hard as you can to get your body back working properly again. It's certainly a lot easier if you help it by only putting clean fuel into its engine.
HAPPY WORLD MS DAY