Skip to main content

Finish 2024 strong with our '6 Months to Overcoming MS' course

Get started

S2E14 Coffee Break with community member Sean Kressinger

Listen to S2E14: Coffee Break with community member Sean Kressinger

Welcome to our fifth installment of Living Well with MS Coffee Break, where straight from Cornwall (UK) we welcome Sean Kressinger as our guest! As you now know, we decided to do something a little different in expanding the range of content we produce here at Living Well with MS. To honor the community that forms the beating heart of Overcoming MS, this special series called Coffee Break features short interviews with members of the OMS community talking about their personal journeys adopting and staying on the OMS 7 Step Program, the challenges they encountered and how they overcame them, and their tips and tricks for sticking to the path that leads to better health. We hope you enjoy and learn from these intermezzos between our regular episodes, and as always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing [email protected].

Transcript

Episode transcript

Geoff Allix  00:02 

Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break. I’m your host, Geoff Allix. We decided to do something a little different in expanding the range of content we produce here at Living Well with MS. Since our community forms the beating heart of Overcoming MS, we are commencing this special series called Coffee Break, which features short interviews with members of the OMS community, talking about their personal journeys, adopting and staying on the OMS seven-step recovery program, the challenges they encountered, and how they overcame them, and their tips and tricks for sticking to the path that leads to better health. We hope you enjoy and learn from these brief chats between our regular episodes and as always, your comments and suggestions are welcome by emailing [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. And don’t forget, if you enjoy these and other Living Well with MS podcast episodes, please leave a review on Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast listening platform. So Sean, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, your life, where you live and anything about yourself that you’d like to share with us? 

 
 Sean Kressinger  01:12 

Hi there, Geoff. My name is Sean Kressinger. These days I’m a part time carpenter. I live in Cornwall with my partner Michelle, two daughters, one of which is still at home. I started my work life back in the early days at the RSPCA. I started as a volunteer and then went on to become an inspector in Derbyshire and I stayed with them until the stress felt like it was getting to me a bit and I became self employed and moved to Cornwall, I started here as a gardener first of all and then retrained as a carpenter and specialised in furniture. 

 
 Geoff Allix  01:57 

And when were you diagnosed with MS? And how long have you been following the OMS seven step recovery program? 

  

Sean Kressinger  02:09 

Well, I was diagnosed not quite five years ago. Although, despite the diagnosis, I’m pretty sure I’m pretty definite I’ve had it an awful lot longer, even back into my 20s. But being a fella I think I kept my head under the radar, as some fellas do, and I ignored it. It started during a really stressful time in the RSPCA for me and I do think there is a definite link between stress and symptoms, a link that can be ignored. MS isn’t new to me, my aunt had it at the time and also at the time, way back, my sister also had MS along with several cousins. And I started the OMS within months of this more recent diagnosis, if you like, the five year diagnosis, within months of that I had found out about OMS and I started the program. 

 
 Geoff Allix  03:25 

And just sort of slightly different with you and the other Coffee Break guests is that there’s been a recent video out so could you tell us a little bit about the video Fighting Multiple Sclerosis that your daughter Holly made? 

 
 Sean Kressinger  03:41 

Yeah, Holly’s film was made, she’s a student in the final year at Falmouth University. The film is her last project, it was made right at the start of lockdown, in fact about a week beforehand. So that restricted it an awful lot. It also it didn’t help that I wasn’t very comfortable with being a subject matter. But I had to get over that as you do for your kids, you have to do that sort of thing. But it has resulted, it’s been well viewed, it’s resulted in over 2,000 views that’s on YouTube and Instagram and counting. Which is really it’s the result that I wanted. That was the whole point of of me wanting to take part in that film. 

 
 Geoff Allix  04:39 

And it’s linked to in the show notes, so I would recommend this. It’s a quite an inspirational video to watch. So yeah, I’d recommend anyone listening to this, watch that. And with the OMS program, what’s your favorite thing about the OMS program? And what do you feel has made the biggest positive impact to you? 

  

Sean Kressinger  05:01 

My favorite part would be the food actually, the foods has just, I’m so keen on the food now, it was fairly easy for me anyway, because it was a vegetarian. So the jump to an OMS diet wasn’t a huge one. But it is my favorite part. I mean, really, it’s nice that I’m a healthier weight now than i was before, which is quite nice. But I do enjoy cooking, it feels really good actually to be feeding myself with foods that are going to help keep me as healthy as possible for as long as possible. So really favorite wise, that’s my favorite part is now that I feel healthier in many ways than I did five years ago. 

  

Geoff Allix  05:55 

That was the biggest positive. What’s your greatest challenge in adopting the OMS program? 

 
 Sean Kressinger  06:03 

Well, for me, as I said before, I mean, luckily, in many ways, it wasn’t too much of a challenge. I was exercising anyway, I was a vegetarian anyway and also a big part that’s helped is Michelle, my partner, she ate an almost entirely OMS diet anyway. So that wasn’t a challenge. But what has been a challenge for me personally, is the meditation side. That has been a bit of an issue, and it remains a bit of an issue. It’s still eludes me. But I’m continuing to work on it. But for me, that has been the biggest challenge is just getting that aspect of the program. Trying to come to terms with that and trying to actually do it. 

  

Geoff Allix  07:02 

You found a definite connection with stress. So there’s definitely a mental aspect isn’t. 

  

Sean Kressinger  07:09 

To me the stress aspects, the more people with the MS that I speak to, the more I’m absolutely convinced that stress has got such a huge part in that way, it actually causes it in the first place. I have no idea about that. But I am pretty sure that once stress is added to the pot, the actual MS condition can flare up and it can cause symptoms. So I think controlling that, for me with my non medical background, that stress has got a huge part to play. 

 
 Geoff Allix  07:59 

And so you touched on lockdown affecting the video recording and this is obviously recorded right in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. So how have you had to adapt your daily healthy habits to the realities imposed by COVID-19? I mean, we’re in the UK and actually we’re in neighboring OMS circles if you’d like and so down here and we have been told, we’re on pretty much complete lockdown in the UK, we shouldn’t really be going out very often at all and a lot of people with MS have been told not to go out, literally not at all not even leave the front door. So how have you had to adapt to that and how has COVID-19 affected you? 

  

Sean Kressinger  08:55 

Well, with COVID-19  I’m trying Geoff to actually take some positives from it. I’m not a key worker and as you know that key workers can carry on and do what they have to do. But as a carpenter all my carpentry projects, they can all wait. So I’m home. I’m not as active so with that side of things, I mean luckily I’ve got some gym equipment at home. So I’m making sure use it more so than it used to. I used to use it pretty regularly anyway, maybe two or three times a week. Now I’m trying to use it every day, just purely because I’m not as active. But in some ways I am actually trying to enjoy the slower pace of life. That slower pace of life seems to suit me. And I do almost enjoy the thought that the earth, if you like is, seems to be having a breather.  You know, I know it’s a horrible thing, it’s a terrible thing, but I’m trying to take aspects which may be a little bit more positive. Having said that, I mean, luckily, I have a garden, and I live in a fairly rural area where I can happily walk off to the woods and I know it’s not as easy as you know, for, for some people. But you know, for those who may live in a city or a flat, for instance, may be actually confined for three months. I know, it’s not as easy for everybody. So it is fairly easy for me and I’m trying to remember that. 

 
 

Geoff Allix  10:50 

Okay. And just finally, do you have any tips or tricks that you could share with our audience that might help people on their OMS journeys? 

  

Sean Kressinger  11:02 

It’s really worth to keep experimenting with the food, you will find as you’re looking around, you’ll find new ingredients, you’ll look at new recipes, you will find, suddenly, you will find favorite meals, you will discover foods that you once disliked and you’ll start enjoying them. And I mean, whoever thought I’d start loving broccoli and it’s mad, but I do absolutely love it now. But not only the food, but do actually not only keep up with the exercise, but trying to set yourself goals. So if you set yourself goals, I feel, you know, I think you will feel like you’re not only maintaining your health, you’re not only maintaining your fitness, but you could actually be improving it. So although most of us are quite happy to at least be maintaining our health, but if you feel like you’re improving it, it’s a huge bonus. And I suppose lastly, if you feel that the program is helping you, tell others and share it, don’t keep quiet about it. And also, the program is such a healthy program share it with people whether they have MS or not. Share it with people, share the benefits. 

  

Geoff Allix  12:40 

Thank you. That’s great. That’s good. That’s good advice is very good actually. I certainly have come across people, my mother, actually she has arthritis and she’s found she started to pretty much follow a slightly modified but most of the OMS program and she’s found benefits from it and I think a lot of those other autoimmune conditions, It does seem to is generally a healthy way of life, isn’t it? There’s so much stuff now a lot coming out now about Vitamin D, that everyone should be having more Vitamin D and we sort of think, yeah, we were kind of ahead of the curve on that. 

 
 

Sean Kressinger  13:17 

Yeah, well, I think you’re right, but not, you know, it’s not just purely an MS diet. I’m sure it is good for everybody Geoff. 

  

Geoff Allix  13:29 

Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much for that. And thank you for joining us on the OMS Coffee Break. Sean Kressinger 

Follow us on social media:

Don’t miss out: 

Subscribe to this podcast and never miss an episode. Listen to our archive of Living Well with MS episodes here. If you like Living Well with MS, please leave a 5-star review.

Feel free to share your comments and suggestions for future guests and episode topics by emailing [email protected].

Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to hear our latest tips and news about living a full and happy life with MS.

Support us: 

If you enjoy this podcast and want to support the ongoing work of Overcoming MS, we would really appreciate it if you could leave a donation here. Every donation, however small, helps us to share the podcast with more people on how to live well with MS.

Seans' bio:

I’m Sean Kressinger and I live in Cornwall, England. I was diagnosed with RRMS 5 years ago though I may well have had it for 25 years. It’s rather prolific in my family, with an aunt, sister and many cousins having it, so the diagnosis wasn’t a complete shock.

I spent the early part of my career as an RSPCA Inspector (animal welfare) in Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, which was enjoyable at times but highly stressful. This is when my first symptoms appeared but were largely ignored. For relaxation I started to paint portraits and do carpentry projects which eventually gave me a reason to leave my stressful job behind and move to Cornwall. I became self-employed, as a gardener at first, painting portraits whenever possible and eventually re-training as a carpenter specializing in furniture. I’m still a carpenter, working around 2/3 full time, though the ability to paint seems to have vanished!

I jumped at the OMS program as soon as I read about it. It seemed logical, evidence-based, extremely well-researched and wasn’t trying to sell me anything! I was already a vegetarian on the whole, so the dietary aspect wasn’t going to be a huge leap, plus I knew I needed to exercise more, and I had an interest in mindfulness/meditation although I hadn’t tried it. It all made sense to me and it was a huge relief that I could help myself with the condition rather than rely purely on the drugs offered.

At the time, OMS was looking for local Ambassadors to form regional Circles and I applied without hesitation. I became the OMS Ambassador for Cornwall and recently the other ambassadors and circle members of Devon and Cornwall joined forces to alleviate any isolation issues amid the COVID-19 lockdown. For me, the OMS Program is for life now. I’ve been on it long enough to feel the benefits and I’ll continue to promote it whenever I can.