No-one would expect to feel grateful for a diagnosis of MS but I am.
Life can take us on unexpected journeys. My world changed five years ago when a neurologist found a tumefactive MS lesion in my brain so large that I was referred to a neurosurgeon for the removal of what they thought was a brain tumour. However, a second MRI scan showed it dissipating so the surgeon rang with the ‘good news’ that it wasn’t a brain tumour but MS! I think he expected a more jubilant response from me as I tried to process how life might change.
While the fear of a brain tumour loomed large I vividly remember going for a walk on our nearby common and closing my eyes to feel the sun on my face. Despite the desperate situation, I realised how beautiful this world is and how much you want to cling onto the simplest of things.
As my experience with mindfulness and meditation has deepened this is still my favourite way to experience happiness – to close my eyes and imagine or feel the sun on my face.
I am hugely grateful for the enormous health benefits of the OMS diet, exercise and meditation changes and I truly believe I will have a very healthy old age. At the risk of sounding like a new age hippy (something I’m happy to be accused of!) I think an attitude of gratitude for the small things in life helps. And my life goal is to be in a viral video doing yoga aged 100!
I happened to find the OMS leaflet in my hospital waiting room and despite a rather disparaging response from the consultant I read the book as fast as I could. Everything was so well researched and made such good sense I seized the opportunity and hope it gave me. At the same time I stopped googling other gloomy MS charities who often present worst case scenarios. Instead, I loved reading the inspiring stories in the OMS book and in the great Facebook groups I discovered.
I found the diet part of OMS a fairly easy switch as I was already a pescatarian with dairy intolerance (I used to love cheese though!). I’m also gluten intolerant which adds an extra challenge to OMS but is perfectly doable. 18 months ago I became plant based which I believe is better for us, animals and the planet. I was already an exercise fan (yoga, dog walks, gym, spin classes, etc) but took longer to embrace meditation as I always seemed to have a mind that wanted to write shopping lists rather than just be in the moment! The headspace app really helped get me into the daily habit and I still use it everyday.
My favourite part of the day is mornings and I think a good routine really helps set you up for the day. I start with drinking water, do two quick yoga sun salutations to stretch out creaking bones, followed by a walk to the boat ferry if I’m working in the office or a walk with our dog around the common if I’m working from home. I meditate on the boat or when I’m walking with Digby our dog. My daily treat is a latte with oat or hazelnut milk, and sometimes (probably not often enough) I try and be extra healthy with a celery juice. I usually do a 16/8 hr fast too so I don’t eat food until lunchtime.
I was so lucky to have found OMS and get started on it right away – and am so grateful to Professor George Jelinek and Linda Bloom for spreading the word. I very quickly felt so healthy and positive that I was in charge of my recovery (not relying on a drug) thanks to OMS.
In the spirit of ‘whatever it takes’ I had some life-changing specialist atlas orthogonal chiropractic treatment which straightened the atlas bone in my neck and removed my heavy leg feeling and the beginnings of foot drop. I think if you have any aches and pains it is worth investigating the root cause so that you can get your body in the best shape for healing. I also found other people who have made a significant contribution to my recovery, like David Hamilton and his research into the power of the mind in healing. It is more than just positive thinking – it is true belief that we are actively recovering.
Celebrating my five year OMS birthday
Five years on, I’m confident enough to say I’ve recovered. My neurologist has now classified the MS diagnosis as benign. I still have tingling in hands and feet and if I’m a bit rundown or tired some minor symptoms like a droopy lip/slightly slurred speech may come back. But I don’t count them as a relapse – just an opportunity to focus on my self care and enjoy some more de-stressing.
I’m also extremely grateful the amazing support I’ve had from family and friends - it’s made such a difference.
I hope if you’re currently worrying about what a diagnosis of MS might mean for you – just dive into OMS and look forward to a long and healthy life!