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Hello everyone,

My name is Tatjana. I am from Serbia ( a small country in the Eastern Europe- some may know about it as being a part of Yugoslavia once upon a time). I am 31 years old. i wish to share my ( so far short) ms story and ask for a piece of advice.

I have been pretty healthy all my life. After finishing collage I joined the cruise industry and worked as a teen counselor on cruise ships for 7 years. Traveled the whole world, met amazing people, met my now husband, and enjoyed every minute of it, although it hasn't all been fun and games. During that time ( last 5 years to be exact) I lost my mother to cancer, I lost my father to liver failure, and being an only child I had to deal with a lot during those times. I held it together ( read- went into serious denial and continued my life as nothing was changed), return to work shortly after both losses, and did not have any health problems. Dated my now husband for 2 years before we got married. We had a wonderful wedding and went on a great honeymoon- and that is when it all begins.

From this point of view and a year and a half later I understand how big of a stress the wedding was ( even a positive stress is bad) and that I have been in that state of stress for 5 years so the honeymoon in Maldives was the first time after a while that I have truly relaxed. And right there - it started- I had a dropped foot in my left leg and sensory changes in my right leg ( everything cold felt like it was warm). I have to mention- because I believe it is important but my neurologist does not- at that time I was taking Primolut NOR pills- they work on postponing your period- 'cuz I was dumb and did not want to have it at the honeymoon. That was not my only time taking them- when I was a teen I also took them couple of times during my vacations. They may or may not have had any effect on my condition- I guess I will never know.

After we came back I went to see a doctor- got to the neurology department- did an MRI ( brain and spine) - showed one active lesion and four non acute ones. I was hospitalized for 7 days taking 1000mg of prednisone IV daily for 5 days. They did a spinal tap ( one of the worst experiences in my life) and that confirmed the lesions. They released me from the hospital without diagnosis but they said that I possibly have ms.

While still at the hospital I watched the documentary "What the health" and after that immediately switched to vegan diet. Even tough I was raised on meat and cheese the transition was very easy. i did not have a healthy life style and was 15kg over my ideal weight before that, but now I am those 15kg lighter.
. They did not put me on any meds and my only treatment was vitamin D supplements- even tough I was not deficient at all, on contrary, after being at sea for 7 years spending most of my free time at the beach, my vitamin D was quite high.

So I started to research. First I found dr. Swank and considering i have already switched to vegan diet I did not include meat and fat free dairy as he suggested in his book, but I tried to follow the low fat and rest daily. I went back to ships and felt great even tough it was sometimes hard to keep my fats low while there, since food on ships was quite bad. At some point me and my husband decided that it was time to start thinking about family and getting a real job on land so we came back to Serbia in October. I got a job as a travel consultant and I work from home. I have been symptom free ever since that first attack and been following the plant based plus sea food diet.

I had done a new MRI last week. It showed my old lesions shrinking and fading, but it also showed one new lesion- not active. I saw my neurologist and he told me that I definitely have ms and he wants me to start Copaxone. In Serbia only 12% of people with ms are actually getting the treatment and he said if I say no to drugs now, I will never have another chance of getting them.

I am terrified and I need some advice. I read all about the side effects and, honestly, I do not want to risk all that, but on the other hand I am aware that even tough I feel great now, in few years I may not, and if I say no to drugs now, but need them in the future, I will not have that option.

I strongly believe my ms attack came due to tons of stress and pain I have been suppressing, but to be 100% honest, I do not believe one new lesion is a strong proof of me getting worse. I trust the diet and the old saying you are what you eat.
I don;t know what to do when it comes to copaxone, and I could use some of your thoughts on the matter.

This is a great community and I am happy I found you guys.

Sorry for the long post :)

Thank you,

Tatjana
Tatjana
Hi

Your stress that triggered your neuro issues is similar to mine.

The use of drugs is a personal choice but my view is that we should do all that we can to help control this. I am also choosing which drug to use and capoxone sounded good as a choice with a good side effect profile.

I to am a vegan now and feel great on the OMS programme.
Jas
Hi,
What a journey you’ve had. Well done for going vegan and finding the swank diet so early on and sticking to it. It’s so hard to make a decision, I spent so many hours wondering what to choose.
The ms society/ms trust in the uk (do you get that in Serbia, or an equivalent?) has a decisions tool on their website that can tailor your priorities into recommendations.
I found it helpful to imagine myself unwell in the future and thinking back to now, would I have regretted not choosing x, y or z... vs not having the side effects of the stronger options.
Also remember that if you don’t get on with something (which you don’t know until you start), you can always change course.
I wish you the best of luck with your decision :) xx
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