3 REASONS WHY I STOPPED MY MS MEDICATION
Last week I posted a video on line setting out the 3 reasons why I decided to stop my MS medication. At the point of writing close to 1400 people have watched the video and quite a few people have been in touch asking questions intrigued by what they were looking at. It's been on my mind quite a bit of late, to try and bring some balance to this entire MS discussion as I've been fairly disturbed in the last twelve months at the direction of where the MS recovery plan and discussion is going. In short, it would appear that all of the discussion or certainly most of it in terms of putting a plan in place to fight the MS is focusing on conventional drugs. Right across every social media channel the drug companies are now holding Q&A's, paying celebrities to promote their MS products and are now a big influence on many of the MS charity organisations across the world.
My own view on this is that its a complete conflict of interest and drug companies should not be allowed to completely dominate this discussion and direction of patients recovery plans be it for MS or any other illness. For me MS patients have to be at the centre of the MS discussion, and right now, they are not.
I am now 16 months off conventional medication, instead using lifestyle changes to manage my MS. These include switching to 100% plant based whole food diet. This way of eating limits the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol and the science tells us, (which is available to everyone namely through the work of Dr Roy Swank and others) that those MS patients who limit their intake of saturated fat to less than 15grams per day, tend to have better health outcomes. For me this decision was a no brainer once I started to understand the science. What the hell had I got to lose? I was sick of feeling like crap, injecting every night a foreign substance not knowing if it was working or not, having flu like symptoms every day and simply not feeling that my body was fully recovering. Outside of the dietary change I also increased my exercise regime. I now train or exercise seven days a week. Again in my research I was able to find many examples of MS patients who exercised, tend to find a positive impact on their body and also brain function. The good news now is that neurologists are telling us that exercise is beneficial to MS patients to the point where it is widely encouraged under the supervision or guidance of a physio. This is great progress.
Over the last number of years I have been doing quite well living with and managing my MS, but i was still frustrated as there were simply too many days where I wasn't feeling great. I toyed with the decision to stop my meds for two years, and also took some guidance from a few people that I hold in high regard. I also researched the condition intimately and it was when I felt my body was strong enough in April 2016, I decided to throw my medication in the bin, and bring in a completely new plan to try and facilitate my bodies recovery. I do admit that this was quite a courageous thing to do and it was against the advice of my neurologist who wanted me to stay on the drugs. The great news is that today and over the last year, I have experienced an amazing turn of fortunes in my health. For the last number of months now my MS symptoms have been neutralised, I have more energy, more great days, more good days, the brain fog is disappearing and overall I'm feeling so much better. Plus I don't have to stick a needle my bum every night!!!!
I'm always trying to be honest with people and after living with this condition for 11 years, writing two books covering the experience, talking across Europe at events with some of the leading neurologists in this field, I do feel I present myself with a level of authority when discussing MS. In my video I have been very clear setting out the 3 reasons why I stopped my medication. Here is a quick reminder;
1 - MS medication is not designed to help your body recover. It is designed to stop relapses
2 - I formed a view that if I stuck with my plant based diet, my body would be getting loaded up with tonnes of minerals, vitamins and nutrients every single day. I knew this would fire up the mitochondria and improve cell health and my overall health. i.e. Facilitate my bodies ability to recover.
3 - I hated injecting every day
Dr George Jelinek is a wonderful man and he wrote a terrific book called Overcoming MS. In this book he sets out a roadmap fro MS patients to take when trying to recover and manage the condition. Jelinek is a very highly regarded neurologist, who's mum died with MS and low and behold, he is now also living with MS. He is one of my MS mentors when it comes to trying to work this whole thing out. Dr Jelineks program advocates a whole food plant based diet. He sets out that MS patients need to make major lifestyle changes first if they want to try and get their body kicking again. In the second part of the book he talks about the role of conventional medicine and outlines its importance. However he is very clear that MS in his view is a lifestyle condition that can be managed very well if one make the appropriate lifestyle changes.
For me, my journey continues. I will continue to share information that I feel might help people who live with MS every day. I will continue with my own lifestyle, as I know it is keeping me healthy and I will continue to compete in adventure races like IRONMAN as its one of the few times that I feel completely alive. Its been an amazing 11 years, rough as hell at times, but thankfully the future looks a lot more encouraging. All I can say is to encourage you to keep going and keep asking questions as the answers are there if you look hard enough.
Remember, nothing good in life comes without taking massive action. It's only when this is done, that you will start to see real change in your life. A positive change.