Welcome to our fourth installment of Living Well with MS Coffee Break, where we welcome Natalie Cooper 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 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 intermezzos between our regular episodes, and as always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing email@example.com
Natalie currently lives in Los Gallardos, Spain with her parents, which at 41 is a little embarrassing (by her own admission). If the world had not been locked down, she would be enjoying the scenery somewhere else in Spain or Portugal or one of the Balearic Islands, in her campervan with her dog.
A few months before her diagnosis, Natalie had decided to sell her house and move to Spain and work online selling travel holidays. A few months after that she woke up one morning with blurred vision and was eventually diagnosed with MS. She was told by many to wait and start medication, so she put everything on hold and did so. That was a really depressing time for her, with everything seeming to go wrong, all her plans cancelled. How could she travel if she needed medications, blood tests, etc., so it seemed like it would never happen. Then she came across the OMS book and started the program, and after a few months, she was feeling really good and much more positive. So, she stopped her Copaxone treatment and put her travel plans back on track.
Fast forward to last year: Natalie started a 6-month hiatus from her career to hit the road in her motorhome with her dog Mylo. She saw amazing places and met lovely people. That's when she started her Facebook page, which was a diary of her travels. It started as something quite personal and grew into a project she began sharing with friends and the wider MS community. In July 2019, while back in the UK, she caught the travel bug again and took the leap of faith, leaving her job of nearly 9 years to come back to Spain in December. She didn't have any specific plans but was excited about the idea of setting up OMS-friendly holidays. Then COVID-19 arrived and the entire world shut down. But Natalie is not deterred. She will try to relaunch her vision in 2021 and strike a balance between working half the year and hitting the road with Mylo for the other half. If Natalie has learned anything on her journey, it’s to remain flexible, positive and open to all the possibilities in life.
- Can you tell us a little about yourself, your family, your life, where you live and anything about yourself you’d like to share?
- When were you diagnosed with MS and how long have you been following the Overcoming MS 7 Step Recovery Program?
- What is your favorite thing about the program, namely what do you feel has made the biggest positive impact?
- What was your greatest challenge in adopting the OMS program, and how did you overcome it?
- How have you had to adapt your daily healthy habits to the new realities imposed by COVID-19?
- Do you have any other tips or tricks you can share with our audience that might help them on their journeys?
On the next full-length episode of Living Well with MS, launching June 17, 2020, join Geoff Allix as he explores Building Community through OMS Circles with Vickie Hadge, Ambassador of the OMS Circle (aka community support group) in Connecticut. Vickie is deeply committed to helping others – her family, community, clients and her OMS Circle members – and her enthusiasm is contagious!
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