Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #34, where we are pleased to welcome Leah Tsirigotis 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 [email protected]. Leah has a unique perspective on the OMS community as a partner to an OMSer. Given the importance of a strong support network, Leah provides fresh insight on whole family experience of being on the OMS journey. We hope you enjoy this episode’s conversation with Leah, coming to you straight from London.
Leah Tsirigotis explores her and her family’s life as the partner to OMSer Alex Tsirigotis. Discussing how her family approach living day to day with MS and incorporating aspects of OMS in their lives, alongside what she would reflect on for those new to the program or diagnosis, are ways in which she is invested in the OMS experience.
Enthusiastic about living a fulfilling, informed, and happy way of life, Leah discovered new passions following her husband's diagnosis with MS 9 years ago and is now a natural living and natural health advocate, natural skincare advisor, trainee naturopath, as well as a mum to two kids and full time COO of a management consultancy in London.
Leah, welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break. We’re so pleased to have you on our program. The purpose of this series is to better get to know some of the diverse members of our community from around the world, and today you’re in the hot seat. You’re a bit of a departure from our typical Coffee Break guest in that it’s your husband who is on the OMS program. We think it’s a vital perspective to understand what it’s like to be the partner of someone with MS, especially when they are making significant lifestyle changes that may affect their spouse and family. Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day life as a partner to someone on the OMS program?
From a spouse’s point of view, how did you deal with your husband’s initial diagnosis? I imagine it was a big pill to swallow, so can you share what your initial reactions were and how you managed?
At which point did the OMS Program enter the mix? How was that experience for you and your family in terms of the changes you’d all have to make to support your husband’s efforts at adoption?
What are some of the challenges you and your family faced at first in adopting the OMS Program, namely from your points of view as the support system to someone with MS? How did you overcome them?
When did you first start to see any kind of positive results your husband experienced in following the OMS Program, and what were these? How did this measured progress make you feel as his closest family member? Has it all been worth it?
On a related but different note, you’ve recently contributed a chapter to the newly released Overcoming MS Handbook, the latest book from Professor George Jelinek, this time acting as a co-editor rather than author. Your chapter is about prevention. Can you tell us a little about the experience of working on this project?
The subject of prevention can take up a whole episode, and will in the future, but for the moment, can you distill some key insights you’ve gleaned on preventing MS in family members?
Leah, thank you so much for being on Living Well with MS Coffee Break and allowing our community to get to know one of its own a little better. One last question before you go, and it’s a bit of a tradition in that we ask it of all our Coffee Break guests. If you tap into your experience as the spouse of someone with MS and being part of a family that has embraced the OMS-recommended lifestyle specifically, can you share a nugget of wisdom that would help the closest family or supporters of someone with MS ease into and better adopt the OMS program?
Three Interesting Facts About Leah (in her own words):
The beginning (diagnosis) was terrifying for me as a partner to someone with MS and with a young family on the way. This feeling lasted for several years. Time, knowledge, and perspective really helped and whilst there are daily challenges to being a partner of someone with MS, there has also been a lot of learned from the experience that serves positively in other aspects of life.
My advice for a partner or someone with MS would be to inform yourself, to understand what is happening to the body, explore the options that are available to support it positively, and always try and go with what resonates with you (your gut) when making often at times large and life altering decisions.
Take each step day by day, and be open to the sometimes-daunting prospect of un-learning and re-learning continually on your personal journey.
Coming up on our next episode:
Is the medicinal use of cannabis “high” on your list of topics to learn more about? Then tune into the next episode of Living Well with MS, premiering July 27, 2022, and meet Dr. Mikhail Kogan, a leader in the newly established field of Integrative Geriatrics and author of Medical Marijuana, an evidence-based guide to the health benefits of cannabis and CBD.
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