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Coffee Break Episode 20

Coffee Break episode 20: with Gillian Robertson

Gillian Robertson headshot

Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #20, where we are pleased to welcome Gillian Robertson as our guest!  

Our Coffee Break series is your chance to get to know members of our diverse OMS community. In each episode, you’ll join Geoff Allix for an intimate chat with a different member of our global community. Our guests will share their personal stories and talk about their challenges and victories, large and small. We hope you find common cause and a source of inspiration from the stories of these very special people. 

As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing podcast@overcomingms.org. We hope you enjoy this episode’s conversation with Gillian, beaming to you straight from Grimentz in Switzerland. 

Access a transcription of this podcast here.

Gillian’s Story 

Gillian has been living in the ski resort of Grimentz in Switzerland for 14 years, after relocating for work 18 years ago from the UK to Switzerland.  She and her husband have three grown daughters and two grandchildren, all now living in England.

In April 2016, Gillian began feeling numbness and pins and needles in her feet, which gradually spread causing problems with her walking and balance. After various tests and referrals, she was diagnosed with RRMS in January 2017. 

Following physiotherapy, she started to take a disease modifying drug and decided to follow the OMS program, which she learned about after doing a lot of her own research on MS. She has since been able to return to her favorite sports: hiking, running, yoga, and skiing. She also completed a two-year Diploma in cuisine and patisserie at the Cordon Bleu culinary school and has started a new career as a private chef. 

Gillian volunteers for Overcoming MS by contributing and testing recipes. She is also a member of the OMS Communications Advisory Group.  

Questions 

  • Gillian, our audience wants to know a little bit about you and your life. Can you share some background on where you’re from, what you do, any snippets of your family or personal life or anything about you that would give our listeners a sense of who Gillian Robertson is? 

  • How about your experience with MS? Can you provide some context on that? When were you diagnosed and how did you initially cope with it? 

  • At which point did you come across the OMS program? How was that experience for you? Why did you decide to start following it? 

  • What are some of the challenges you’ve faced at first in adopting the OMS program? How did you overcome them? 

  • When did you first start to see any kind of positive indicators in following OMS guidelines? What were these? 

  • You’ve been a valuable contributor to the OMS community. For example, contribute recipes to the OMS website. What’s that experience like? 

  • On a personal note, do you have any unusual interests or wacky hobbies you can tell us about? What kind of stuff will we find you doing on a weekend? 

  • If you tap into your personal experience for a nugget of wisdom that would help people ease into and better adopt the OMS program, what would that advice be? 

3 Fun Facts About Gillian (in her own words) 

  • I am passionate about food, cooking and eating!  Always have been. I am someone who lives to eat, rather than eats to live.  Following the OMS program has not changed that, and whilst there are some limitations on the types of food I can eat now, meals can still be just as delicious at the same time as being OMS-friendly. 

  • I love the outdoors and feel very lucky to be living in the mountains, where I can ski in the winter and run, hike, and bike in the summer. I really believe that making the most of the outdoors greatly improves our physical AND mental health. 

  • I am always working to improve my foreign language skills.  Having lived in Italy and Switzerland I have had plenty of opportunity to do so, and can now speak French, German, and Italian to varying degrees.  Great brain-training! 

Gillian’s Links 

  • Follow Gillian on Instagram, where she posts OMS-friendly recipe ideas, as well as photos of her cooking and life in Switzerland. 
  • This is a great site for vegan and vegetarian recipes, many of which are OMS-friendly or easily adaptable. 

  • This is a great Swiss recipe resource to browse through, with lots of vegan and fish recipes which are OMS-friendly or easily adaptable. 

  • Here’s a free app for guided meditations/music for relaxation. 

  • Here are some free yoga videos for all levels. 

  • Gillian clearly loves languages, and she thinks this app makes learning a language a lot of fun. 

Coming up on our next episode 

On August 18, you can “meet” India’s Ritu Kaur, who has taken up a one-woman effort to raise awareness about and destigmatize MS. She truly is an MS awareness machine! And don’t forget to submit your questions for Ask Jack #4 by August 23 by emailing them to podcast@overcomingms.org. Ask Jack #4 premieres on September 15.  

Don’t miss out: 

Subscribe to this podcast and never miss an episode. You can catch any episode of Living Well with MS here or on your favorite podcast listening app. Don’t be shy – if you like the program, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you tune into the show. And feel free to share your comments and suggestions by emailing podcast@overcomingms.org

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