This is the part of the story where I’m going to tell you about my road to recovery. It’s a tricky part because I don’t want to give the impression that I have found a magical, one-size-fits all cure to MS..because I haven’t. I have found what works really well….for me. Nor do I want to give the impression that I’m Mrs super-fit who is never tired, never has a sore back or never ever has any health problems. I’m just like any regular person who does get worn out if I push myself too hard and who struggles to find time to do exercise….But hey that’s pretty good….being just like anyone else, given that 6 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and was faced with a very uncertain future in regards to my health……
So after I had been diagnosed I had a couple of days or a week of feeling terribly sorry for myself ( I most likely scoffed one or two or three tubs of Ben & Jerry’s during those days ) Then I guess I found some sort of fighting spirit within me and I quite firmly decided no, I’m not going to let this thing beat me, no way, no way, no way!
The neurologist very kindly offered me disease modifying drugs and steroids. ( yes I’m being slightly sarcastic by using the word kindly) Since I had already started to read about nutrition and a more holistic view on health I strongly believed that there was a different path to stroll down rather than using conventional medicine. I felt fairly certain that medicines wouldn’t “fix” my body since I instinctively felt that I was “broken” because of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to put more toxins into my body. And anyway, the medicines would just give me a 30% chance of having less episodes but had exactly the same side effects as the illness. Seemed absurd to me.
So I declined their very kind offer and started on my path as a healing detective : ) I was reading anything I could find about MS and holistic treatments. Found lots of stories of people who got better and started to connect the dots between them. Vitamin D, B12, eating minimal saturated fats, a positive mindset, eating lots of vegetables, meditation, exercise, getting rid of toxins in your body, staying away from processed food. I also started to find lots of stuff that seemed really relevant to my own health.
For example if the thyroid gland has been under stress for a long period it can start attacking it’s own healthy cells…ok, sounds like MS and is true for me, I certainly had been very stressed for a long time
B12 deficiency has almost identical symptoms to MS. And stress, alcohol and crap food depletes B12……umm….aha I see!
Decided to see a nutritionist ( See details below ) who took some tests and as I suspected, my body was completely wrecked. My thyroids and adrenals were exhausted, my vitamin levels were all over the place. I tested intolerant to several types of food. She also suspected I had candida and leaky gut. And after quite a bit of convincing I went on a 3 month candida diet with added extras (as if the candida diet isn’t strict enough ; ) no sugar, no fruit, no alcohol, no dairy, no meat, no coffee, no rice, no peas, no wheat, no soya, no yeast, no citric acid….the list goes on! The first week was diabolical, seriously difficult to get out of bed. I felt awful. Really! But as the weeks progressed I started feeling……well pretty good. I stuck to the diet over Christmas and New Year’s Eve which was interesting to say the least but in the end of the day what is one Christmas amongst many if I could have my health back.
I also tried to get rid of as many toxins as possible so started using deodorant without aluminium, shampoo and shower gel without parabens and other toxins, toothpaste without SLS, stopped colouring my hair, used cleaning products without toxins, natural make-up, ate organic vegetables etc etc. I even started making my own paraffin free candles. It’s unbelievable
how many toxins we get into ourselves on a daily basis! No wonder the body has little capacity left to fight illnesses.
I continued to work really hard on continuing the mindset I was thought through CBT, searching for the positive rather than the negative. So for example when going to the gym and looking in the mirror instead of screaming I haaaaaate my varicous veins I smiled and thought this is an amazing body because it is healthy, it has legs that can walk, it doesn’t hurt and it can lift heavy weights ( I went back to bodypump shortly after having been diagnosed using tiny tiny tiny weights in the beginning)
I tried a lot of other alternative treatments, reflexology which is amazing and I still do sometimes ( see details below) I tried bee pollen, visualisations, meditation, the placebo effect….you name it.
And how did it all go. Well 6 1/2 years later and I still haven’t had another episode and I’m not in the slightest bothered by my MS. The doctors think I am lucky. I think I am lucky that I listened to my inner voice that told me to go down an alternative route and refused the medicine. ( please note I’m not recommending to anyone to not take their medicines, this is my story and this is what felt right and worked for me ) I honestly believe that my body was imbalanced and toxic and that I needed to get it back into balance. I don’t dare to think about how I would feel today if I had taken the medicine and hadn’t changed my life style (which my then GP suggested)
So what things would I recommend for a person who has recently been diagnosed with MS? Like I said before, I don’t think there is a one size fits all solution. Every individual should look at their own life and ask, what’s not working really well? Using lots of toxins at work, is that part of what’s making you ill? Lots of amalgam fillings in your teeth? Is removing them part of the solution? Is there a part of your life that you are unhappy and stressed about, partner, work? Are you eating food that damages your body rather than foods that will help your body to heal? And so on and so forth. You get my drift.
For me my way to recovery was definitely a combination of many things.
Seeing a nutritionist who looked at me as a whole and who could take tests that showed imbalances in my body and helped me correct them. Super important!
The 3 month diet, definitely! It allowed my body to have a long break where it fully could concentrate on healing, our own bodies have a great healing capacity if we just let them.
B12 is of mayor importance, the only time I have felt slightly unwell was when I stopped taking it. I am taking 400 micrograms of sublingual powder every day. And B12 is a water soluble vitamin so there’s no harm in taking large doses to see if it makes a difference. It’s important that it’s sublingual powder, shoots or patches since it appears to me that a lot of people with MS has difficulties taking in b12 from food or tablets.
Changing my diet was of paramount importance. I now eat a plant based diet (some raw and some cooked) I don’t eat a lot of meat and I rarely eat butter or cream. I try to stay away from wheat and sugar as much as possible and I eat mainly organic food. Processed food is a rare event. It may sound strict and boring but it most definitely isn’t.
Waving bye bye to as many toxins as possible is significant ( while writing this I realise that I have let some toxins back into my life so time to get a grip…)
Exercise is of course really really really important. ( which I’m struggling to re-introduce in my life after the birth of my two kids…..time, I neeeeeeed more time ; ) Even if you have just been diagnosed with MS there are always some exercise that you can do. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of stretching!
The placebo effect or the mind is a powerful tool. I read a lot about using your mind to think yourself well and I am going to use a quote by Henry Ford that I find explains it. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” I believe this statement is true for the healing process. ( And no I don’t think you can heal a broken bone with the power of your mind ; ) In the beginning when I was diagnosed my husband sometimes wanted to talk about the future and the conversations went something like this;
Him; Let’s say you would get another relapse
Me: But I won’t
Him: but let’s just say you would
Me: But I won’t
Him: ok but let’s just say for arguments sake that you would
Me: hmmmmm…..ok…….but as long as you understand that I won’t.
Him: ok so let’s say you would have another episode
Me: but I won’t
Needless to say these discussions could take aaaaaalll night. What I was doing was using the placebo effect to heal myself hence not allowing me to doubt for a second that I would get better. Denial it might sound like to some but it has been proven that if we really believe something is going to make us better, there will actually be measurable positive changes in our bodies. Here’s an interesting study conducted at Harvard. The placebo effect has long been accepted as something that works by conventional medicine but they are still baffled about how it works, and how to use it.
I also used visualisations where I visualised the scars in my brain healing and disappearing. Visualisations also have been proved to have real effects on our bodies.
My dream is that one day a holistic approach using nutrition and lifestyle assessment would be the first call for treatment and that medicines would be the last option. I don’t think that the “there’s a pill for all ills” mentality works. In fact these days we take more pills than ever but many illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are on the increase.
Ideally it would be no need for hospitals but hey I’m a dreamer, not completely crazy ; )
Don’t get me wrong, there has been some incredible advances when it comes to traditional medicine. Surgery of today is unbelievably good. But seeing the individual a a whole needs to become standard.
I also dream we will have healthcare where there’s a choice! You want to use medicine and operations? Fine we support you wholeheartedly. You want to use nutrition and exercise? Absolutely, we support you wholeheartedly. Currently this is definitely not the case. The medicines that I was offered and declined would have cost the NHS £8000 per year. Was I offered any support for vitamins, seeing a nutritionist or exercise? Nope, I don’t think so, not a penny!
The most important lesson that I have learnt from my MS story is, do your research!!! Very few people goes to buy a car without having done any research about pros and cons of what’s out there. Yet when it comes to our own health we take the doctors word for that what they are offering is the best remedy (this also goes for if you are seeing a nutritionist, naturopath or healer) Don’t take anyone’s word for what’s the best remedy. Keep an open mind and listen to what people have to say but do your research!
Nutritionist, I saw Annie McRae who has now relocated to California to be closer to her sons. (Lucky California) She does skype consultations so if you are struggling to find someone close to where you live, do contact her!
Reflexology, I am seeing Anna Lee at Shine on the Green who has magic hands! I always feel really good afterwards. And the great thing is that she can tell you if there is something wrong……..she told me there was something up with my teeth shortly after I had removed my wisdom tooth!
For recipe I picked another one with turmeric. This is a fantastic breakfast smoothie that was posted by Emily Ho on thekitchn.com. It’s perfect to prepare the night before and then you have your breakfast ready in the morning.
Sunshine breakfast smoothie with coconut, clementines and turmeric
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
Fresh or frozen segments from 2 (or 3 if they are small) clementines (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2-inch fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maca powder
The original recipe called for honey it every since my post about sugar I’m trying to reduce my intake of sugar ( even natural ones)
If you are going to use frozen clementines prepare and put into freezer a couple of hours before. Then prepare the ginger and turmeric and put into blender. Add all other ingredients and blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!