Another story of beating MS–from England January 20, 2011Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Testimonials - stories from real people who have beaten MS.
From Julie in England: I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) on September 4, 2004, but I had been having symptoms since about September 2000. My first symptoms were tingling in my fingers and toes and a sensation of sunburn down my right leg, for no apparent reason. These were dismissed as “probably a virus” by my primary care physician. In subsequent years, I suffered from inexplicable tiredness, which I now know was MS fatigue.
In 2003, I had problems with my vision and I was diagnosed with “convergence weakness” and given eye exercises to do — these did not seem to help much. By this time, we also knew that my sister had MS and her case was severe. She had been hospitalized, had temporarily lost the sight in one eye, and was finding it difficult to walk. This was when I started to research whether MS was genetically related or not and I discovered that I had about a 1 in 40 chance of getting MS, because my sister had MS.
Next I experienced dizzy spells and hand tremors; and I saw a specialist. He did not think I had MS (he thought it was myalgic encephalomyelitis, also called chronic fatigue syndrome) because I could still walk in a straight line and stop my hands from shaking if I concentrated hard enough — for a few minutes, anyway). I asked him to order an MRI scan–he agreed “just to set my mind at rest”. Later he said, “you could have knocked me down with a feather” when he saw the white areas of demyelination on my brain scan. I had to pester him for the result of my MRI, and I eventually received my MS diagnosis–over the telephone!
My eyesight seemed to improve of its own accord, but I started losing my sense of taste, which was very strange and a bit worrying. Also, I was under a great deal of stress. My Mum was ill with lung cancer which upset me a great deal, because we were very close. It was while I was going back and forth to Manchester to see her in hospital that I realized that I was suffering from a new symptom — foot drop! This meant that I had a noticeable limp and I was no longer able to walk long distances. My eyesight became weaker again, but only for a few months.
To cut a long story short, my Mum passed away in January 2005, at age 62. My Dad, my two brothers, my sister and I were all devastated. Sadly, my Mum’s death seemed to send my sister with MS into a downward spiral of many relapses followed by incomplete remissions. My Dad never got over Mum’s death, and he subsequently passed away less than two years later at age 69, of pancreatic cancer.
To add to my stress, two days after my Dad’s funeral, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and he was operated on just before Christmas, 2006. From the beginning, however, he was determined to fight the cancer; and he inspired me to fight my MS. We had a difficult time while he went through six months of chemotherapy, but we survived to tell the tale and I remained stable.
It has now been just over two years since my husband’s operation and his most recent CT scan gave him the “all clear”. Needless to say, we and our three sons (ages 15, 12 and 10), are feeling a lot happier and we are all enjoying life again!
My MS, however, continued to be problematic. Then, last year, I came across George Jelinek’s book; and I was impressed with his well-researched ideas about diet and how to live your life to “take control of multiple sclerosis”. I have been on his diet ever since. My first improvements, after starting his diet, involved reduced fatigue and less anxiety. Prior to starting his diet, I often felt anxious — worrying about day-to-day things — very much out of proportion to the likelihood of them actually occurring. A few months after starting the diet, I actually felt my spirits had been “uplifted”. Before long, I also realized that my foot drop was considerably reduced and I had loads more energy! My balance problems and problems with hand tremors also disappeared almost completely. I was thrilled.
Six months after starting the diet, I realized that I was not taking enough Vitamin D, so I increased my dose from 1,000 IU to 5000 IU; and wow! It was as though I had taken another quantum leap up the scale to good health! I have now been on the diet for 10 months, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with MS.
I should mention that I do exercise and this helps me feel strong and the exercise addresses specific problems. For example, I swim about once a month, do yoga once a week and do exercises every night to strengthen my ankles and feet.
I am trying to persuade my sister to go on the same diet, because she is now able to walk only with a walker. I think my suggestions are starting to get through — she is now taking Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, but probably not enough yet.
Here is a summary of what I take each day:
Methyl B-12 1,000 mg
Vitamin D3 5,000 IU
Vitamin B complex (contains 2 mg Vitamin B6, and 200 mg of folic acid),
Omega-3 from fish oil 1,000 mg
15- 20 ml flaxseed oil
1, 200 mg soya lecithin (I take this to keep my brain as healthy as possible–this is the result of my own research and is not based on George Jelinek’s recommendations)
Amantadine (This is a Parkinson’s disease drug, which is given to some MS patients to help combat fatigue. It works in about 60% of cases and it certainly helps me. However, the real fatigue breakthrough came when I started George’s diet. By the way, amantadine is also an anti-viral, so I get few colds.)
Here is a brief summary of the dietary rules I follow:
- Eat absolutely NO red meat, however I still have chicken (breast only) about two times a week–this is more in keeping with Dr. Roy Swank’s diet (Dr. Jelinek suggests no meat, except fish, at all).
- Eat lots of fish, especially mackerel, tuna, salmon, lemon sole and prawns (yum!).
- Eat absolutely NO dairy products, not even cheese if I can avoid it. I use soya milk with my cereal in the mornings (porridge with apple and raisins, usually). I eat brown bread with seeds on top.
To accompany the fish or chicken I eat, I have rice, pasta or potatoes and whatever vegetables I fancy, usually broccoli, cabbage, carrots, mange-tout, and onions. I sometimes saute or stir-fry vegetables with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, or bake them in the oven after coating them with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil first.
I also eat absolutely loads of tomatoes and red and green peppers, especially in my Italian-style dishes. I add tomatoes to my curries, along with cardamon, cumin, garlic, chilis, and peppers. To my Chinese-style dishes, along with baby sweet corn, I add soy sauce, ginger etc.
If I need something sweet, I have either alpro-soya yogurts or alpro-chocolate or caramel desserts. Alternatively, I have fruit with either alpro-soya cream or non-dairy ice-cream (Swiss glace).
For snacks I have fruit or Mrs. Crimble’s low-fat ginger cake or Dutch apple cake, or oat bars with cranberries and apple.
I love cooking and I have never once felt deprived.
If you met me, you would not know I have MS—I am much healthier than I was before I started following Jelinek’s and Swank’s recommendations. I still have MS (for example, I still experience foot drop after walking a couple of miles) but I also now have hope. I believe that my children will be glad their Mum is taking care of herself. My improved health makes life much easier for everyone.
Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.
Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.
Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover
Tags: Diet, Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, Nutrition, MS