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11 November 2015

My Overcoming MS Journey – keeping my pilot’s licence

Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Smita Das has managed to keep her pilot's license and continue doing the job she loves.

My journey with the Overcoming MS program has been life changing, within a few short months. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July 2015. According to my doctor I had had three relapses by then within the year.

The power of the Overcoming MS book

That’s one relapse every two months. Within a couple of weeks of my diagnosis, I came across a YouTube video where an MS patient talked about his journey with Dr Jelinek’s book, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis.

I ordered the book on Amazon and meanwhile continued reading a couple of other books about MS that I had bought already. I was having a hard time connecting with the material in these books.

I would either not believe the information, or it felt too difficult to incorporate into my life. Dr Jelinek’s book arrived, and it immediately resonated with me.

I couldn’t put it down. It was factual, logical, and sounded doable. I bought another one of his books, Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis which was full of real life stories of people who overcame MS!

His books gave me real, nearly tangible hope! Feelings of fear and panic were replaced with optimism and confidence. The first and immediate change I made was to cut out all dairy products from my diet.

I had neuromyelitis optica, and I felt a dramatic improvement within a span of a week. My right eye went from being very blurry to about 50% back to normal, in seven days. From there the improvement was steady, and today, it’s 95% back to normal.

This means the world to me, because I am a pilot. I feared losing my pilot’s licence over this diagnosis.

Flying free

I am training to be a flight instructor. I was grounded for about six weeks while the FAA went over my medical reports. The day I was given the green flag to resume flying, I was happy beyond belief. I’ve grown to cherish my time in flight now. I have chosen not to take medication, as of now.

I have completely overhauled my lifestyle. At least four to five days a week, I do an hour of yoga in the morning and 60 to 90 minutes of strength and endurance training in the evening. I avoid saturated fat, and am still working on reducing my sugar intake.

I’ve increased my vegetable intake and have recently started juicing, so I can get in more fresh vegetables and fruits. While I thought that some of the changes would be hard, especially giving up dairy; the results of quitting are worth it, and the consequences of not quitting aren’t. Today it has been over three months, and all my symptoms have died down.

I had vertigo, neuromyelitis optica, Uhthoff’s phenomenon, Lhermitte’s syndrome and numbness in my entire body, below my neck. I’ve learned to read my body.

My own flight path

I pay close attention to patterns of what I eat, and how it affects my energy levels. I have more energy than ever before. My comprehension, concentration and retention have improved phenomenally.

I’ve lost weight; my body feels so light and wonderful. Overall my quality of life has improved. I feel tons of gratitude towards everyone involved in creating and contributing to the Overcoming MS program. I believe no one should have to suffer through disease. I want everyone to know that they can help themselves!

Smita Das I write a blog about my journey: