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I'm writing to story about my 21 year old daughter, Lili, because she was born to a vegan mother (me) and was vegan until about the age of 7. At about that age she began to eat a lot of sweet pastries and began to eat cheese occasionally . There was a lot of extended family pressure to eat meat and dairy. We followed this vegan diet even before her birth, because her father, my husband, Michael, was diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia and the Cooper Clinic in Dallas (Dr. Far) put him on a low fat vegan diet and suggested McDougall diet books. This diet worked very well for his cholesterol and he dropped alot of weight and his numbers dropped quite a bit very quickly.
So we were eating this way three years before she was born. It seems when she was around 8 or 9 she became very sensitive to the heat of Texas summers. Increasingly, she bagan eating more meat -- and especially cheese. We have always eaten quite a bit of sugar even while vegan. When she was almost 14 we went to the Texas coast and ran a tourist business where she was in the sun quite a lot. During this time our lifestyle was very chaotic because the business was crazy and therefore our lifestyle took a hit -- and we began to eat the typical standard American diet, complete with sodas and candy bars that the kids had never eaten before. During this time, she once experienced tingling in her arms but we credited it to an antibiotic side effect. It lasted less than a day. Some doctors now have told us that they feel this was her first time to experience a problem because of MS. We continued to eat very poorly until she was about 16 or 17 and then we had our life more under control. She still ate meat and dairy but the extreme junk food was out. She has ADHD and began to take a stimulant for this condition for the first time when she entered college. Within 3 months of taking this stimulant, she began to have increasing tingling over a period of about 1 week. She went to a neurologist and he told her he thought it was MS. An MRI showed two "spots" on her brain and a lesion on C2 of her spine. We found George's book (THANK YOU GEORGE) within 3 months of her being diagnosed. She was 19 1/2 years old then. The OMS diet seemed so similar to McDougall's philosophy that it was easy for her jump back in. We got some things wrong initially, like eating peanut butter or still eating sweets with a liquid fat from algae but then realized the process for extraction may be bad. Adding in fish has been a challenge with making sure how to cook it and making sure it doesn't have mercury -- and 18 months later are still struggling with the fish issue but are getting better. She has had MRIs every three months bc her doctor wants her on medication. She only had "a smudge " on her brain 8 months after diagnosis and at 15 months had a suspicious line from T5 to T7 that the radiologists aren't sure about -- but the the neurologist freaks out about. Every now and then she has transient symptoms but we don't think it could really be enough to be considered a relapse. Her gynecologist put her on a progesterone only birth control pill. She had been having some transient tingling that then went away. Her periods have been really irregular since diagnosis but now are non existent bc of the bc pill. She has had some weird things come up like various rashes, swollen glands. And so far doctors haven't been able to find a reason. I think her neurologist has given her every test there is to make sure, as best he can, that this is MS although he doesn't know about the rash and glands yet. I read Swank's book recently and found his very in depth profile on MS patients to be very interesting. My daughter has issues with anxiety that come and go and we are struggling to get that under some kind of better control. I felt relieved, in a way, to find that a profile of an MS patient. My daughter does an excellent job on the diet with flax seed oil supplementation and being a vegan and keeping the saturated fat out except for an avocado some days, but the exercise and meditation are factors she has not fully embraced. She does have quite a bit of stress being a 21 year old college student. True to the profile of Swank: she is intelligent, perceptive, driven, and intense. Those qualities can sure fuel the anxiety...
I am writing this because I felt my daughter might be an unusual case of someone who grew up vegan, then left that diet to then be diagnosed with MS. Also with her father having been diagnosed with hyoercholesterolemia, I felt, gave more credence to the idea of MS (at least in her case) being a. vascular issue. We have great hopes and feel she is doing so well with George's diet. I would also like to add, that my belief is that, in her case, vitamin d deficiency was a genetic issue; she is very fair skinned and we live in Texas with quite a bit of sunshine;furthermore, she was exposed to quite a bit of sunshine having lived on the coast and working in the sun on the Gulf of Mexico. My mother (her grandmother) had low levels of vitamin d, as did I -- and her brother. So it looks like she has genetic low vitamin d levels from the maternal side -- and vascular issues from the paternal side. Plus there are allergies in the family, her brother has intermittent asthma, and my mother has Rheumatoid arthritis -- so there are those type of genetic inflammatory issues as well. I just thought her history may be interesting and give credence to the reasons we eat the way we do -- as followers of OMS. Also if anyone can offer any other help based on this history, let me know please. Glad to be here and thank you for all the generous donations, especially to the woman who helped George get started -- and all people on this path -- and most especially to George! And his mom!
Having read your post the things that strike me are.
1 check vitamin b12 level
2 OMS is more than a diet, exercise and meditation are important factors. There is a free online course on future learn by Craig Hassed and Daniel on mindfulness... I'm not sure when the 6 week course next runs but suggest you look at it.
3 it's great you are back managing what you eat.
I hope things steady out for you all.
Any suggestions on how to get her to do the exercise and meditation? She will complain that she is tired after class and that she doesn't like meditation/it doesn't work for her. She will acknowledge that she needs some help with alleviating anxiety/stress. She has been exposed to various forms of meditation but doesn't follow through...
Thank you!
There is a simple breath mediation podcast on this site by George you can download and use to listen to on say your phone or mp3 player. I'd start with that.
The meditation aspect is about helping the mind to be quiet, I also like to do gardening for the calmness it brings, the may be something your daughter can do that allows the mind to rest. Try that podcast it is short in length.
The book is a very good read as well and explains why things like exercise and meditation if theory is something you relate too.
Thank you Veg. I believe what George has to say. For some reason, which may be psychological, she does not make the exercise and meditation a priority -- but I hear you saying: find other calm activities which may not labeled 'meditation', and perhaps that activity will calm her. Thank you for that insight -- as well as your other advise :)
Your daughter is in the driving seat, hopefully she will see that she is and take the car out of auto mode and enjoy driving and the positive feeling that can give. It's probably a scary place for her right now and I hope with time and support things will improve. Exercise, start slowly it is not a race. There is a shared video link of the exercise talk at the recent OMS day in Brighton UK that you might find interesting to watch.
Take positivity from what you can and are doing and look forward.
There are lots of great blog entries on this site from people of all ages they can be a good read.
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