Improving Life with Multiple Sclerosis

Using the small windows of opportunity available to me when I’m not dealing with WINZ correspondence or sitting on the loo earnestly trying to produce more than a tablespoonful, I’ve been doing a bit of MS research of my own online.  I managed to stumble across an excellent website called Improving Life with Multiple Sclerosis.

Developed by Professor George Jelinek @georgejelinek, the well-researched Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis program of diet, exercise, stress management, sunlight, vitamin D and omega-3 supplementation, and medication (if needed), offers hope and cites case studies of positive outcomes for people with MS.  Plus his whole approach just seems to make bloody good sense.  I figure I’ve got nothing to lose except a few kilograms, so I’ve ordered the book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis online and also the OMS recipe book, although that isn’t due for distribution until early next year.

I’ve always considered myself to be a reasonably healthy eater – I don’t eat a lot of fast food and am more likely to make things from scratch myself rather than buy a lot of processed stuff anyway.  The big nasties to avoid appear to be dairy products and saturated fats, which means no meat, no eggs and worst of all – no cheese!  Alcohol is OK thank God, otherwise I’d have been out of that website faster than you can say Unoaked Chardonnay.  I think my biggest problem is going to be cutting out dairy products which is something I’d always considered in dietary terms to be a good thing.  I’d bought into all the propaganda that it was good stuff for your bones and helped prevent osteoporosis.  I like nothing more than organic milk, eggs and CHEESE!  How will I cope without my beloved cheese – Castello, Double Brie, Camembert, or even just your standard block of Colby?  Or a baked potato with a dollop of butter smeared and a generous coating of sour cream?  What about my Sunday morning streaky bacon with my perfectly cooked scrambled eggs on toast?  Plus I make an award winning bacon and egg pie … and quiche!  But I digress … stick to the program Claire.

I’m not exactly flush with cash at present so I’m not really in a position to ditch all the food I’ve got and start completely again.  The dairy products can be demolished by my daughter but there’s a pork roast that I doubt she’d get through unassisted, a whole chicken and couple of other meaty numbers in the freezer that might require my assistance.  Oh yes, and there does happen to be a kilogram of Manuka smoked streaky bacon that I sincerely wish I’d spotted prior to discovering the OMS website.  I’m also a bit concerned about Christmas – there’s bound to be dodgy food floating around in abundance but I’m determined to be as clean as I possibly can.  Processed meats are out and if there’s fish, I’ll be having that but I don’t want to get too pedantic about it and make everyone feel nervous about feeding me.  I know this isn’t recommended – a bit like the puppy that is not just for Christmas, it’s for life.  Which is a bit like MS when you think about it.

I am however much improved since I was discharged from hospital.  I still need the wheelchair occasionally but mostly get around using my walking frame.  There is quite a steep slope down to my house which I was unable to manage until I got a walking frame with brakes but I’m pleased to say that I can now get up and down the slope just using crutches – as long as it isn’t raining or the neighbours haven’t thoughtfully trained their garden sprinkler on my walkway.

I went to back to Burwood this week to see the doctor and progress is good, although when I mentioned the WINZ problems I’d been having she put me on anti-depressants.  I suspect this is probably standard issue for patients having to deal with WINZ but to be honest, I felt more doo-lally when I was taking them, so I’ve given them a miss.  The best thing though was having an hour long session in the Burwood Hospital indoor swimming pool.  The feeling of weightlessness was amazing and it was as though I had no disability whatsoever once I was immersed in the water.  This is something that needs to be remembered however when you get out of the pool only to find you’re back in the land of the disabled – it’s a little like a scene from Cocoon!

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