Fast food bags littered all over my car floorboards. Evenings spent lying on the couch binging television with little to no movement. Alcohol-filled weekends out with friends. All these things represent my pre-diagnosis lifestyle. After my Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), it took over a year to finally receive a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Throughout that year, more and more symptoms were popping up, but my lifestyle didn’t change a bit.  

Although diagnosed with MS in May of 2019, I have only recently begun getting more involved in the MS community. I’m Lakin Sakhalkar, better known as @livingbestwithms on Instagram, and I live in Houston, Texas, USA with my husband and our precious little pup, Copper.  

Looking for answers

After the shock and devastation of my diagnosis wore off, I knew things needed to change but wasn’t sure where to start. I thought moving my body through exercise might be a good start and when the coronavirus hit and our community went into lockdown, I wanted to find an activity that didn’t require being around others. I love nature and being outdoors in new environments, so hiking was the perfect option. There are several state and national parks with breath taking views in Texas. They usually have options for easy, medium, and advanced hikes so it was perfect for someone who has MS and struggles differently each day. During my hikes, even today, I sometimes get emotional thinking of how lucky I am to still be able to enjoy mile-long hikes. 

"I noticed an overall better sense of being."

After spending a few months hiking regularly, I noticed an overall better sense of being. Some symptoms seemed less irritating and didn’t flare up as much and just being in the sun, soaking up vitamin D while also getting in some exercise made me feel so much better. This sparked my mind and interest in a more holistic approach to manage my MS. I began doing research and came across the Living Well with MS podcast and was introduced Overcoming MS (OMS). I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast and learned so much about OMS.  

Since I had shifted one part of my lifestyle and was learning through OMS, I thought it was time to shift other parts of my lifestyle. The second week of March was my first week of eating plant based. I am excited to see what positive impact this has on my health and am so thankful for the guidance and support from the OMS community. Pushing through the fear and devastation of my diagnosis and choosing to create a better, healthier life for myself is what I am most proud of. My hope is that through Overcoming MS everyone can be #LivingBestwithMS.