Out of all the things I expected to get with MS, a new circle of friends was not on the list. But with the formation of the Sussex OMS circle, that’s exactly what has occurred.
As a group, we meet up 4 or 5 times a year. Our subject focus and location may vary each time, but it always involves one important part of the OMS programme – great food! Often, we have an OMS-friendly pot luck lunch, a great opportunity for people to share recipes and ideas or discuss challenges around the dietary guidelines and every-day life. And twice we have gone out in the world and eaten out as a group; our latest outing was last month where we headed East to a Korean/Japanese fusion restaurant in Eastbourne.
This type of cuisine was a first for some of the group, but I don’t think it will be the last as it was absolutely delicious. From steamed edamame beans in their pods, avocado rolls, seaweed salad and kimchi to teriyaki tofu and veggies noodles, everything was freshly prepared and infused with flavour, a great way to encourage people to get on board with the OMS plan.
One of the striking things about our group – and I’m sure we’re not alone in this – is how welcoming and friendly everyone is. It’s a great opportunity for members to share experiences and thoughts about their MS journey and the OMS programme, whether it’s a newbie just making changes, or someone struggling with a particular element or health challenge. Partners have also started coming along, and this is a great opportunity for them to support each other too, as living with someone with MS and taking on the OMS plan can be hard for them too.
But if you think that MS is all we talk about, think again! There’s so much more to talk about – family, work, holidays, Brexit (if we dare!) or just life in general. As the group grows, we get to meet new people and hear all about their lives, so there’s always something to talk about. In fact, there’s so much we usually ramble on for much longer than planned!
Being part of a local circle makes the OMS journey slightly less lonely. If you are new to a circle or think it’s not for you, I would strongly encourage you to give it a go, as a little support and friendship goes a long way. And apart from that, you get to eat some delicious food too.
Karen Lee, Ambassador for Sussex