Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are pleased to welcome the Ambassador of the Overcoming MS Toronto Circle, Jesse Mirsky, as our guest! He chats to Geoff about how he felt after being diagnosed with MS, how he adapted to the Overcoming MS Program and why he became an Ambassador.

Watch this episode on YouTube here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Jesse’s bio.

Read the episode transcript here

Questions and Timestamps: 

00:50 Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about where you live and what you do?

02:03 Can you tell us a bit about your MS journey and how you found out about Overcoming MS?

02:57 Why did Overcoming MS resonate as something to follow?

03:39 Has your perspective changed at all since diagnosis and finding Overcoming MS?

06:51 How did you find quitting smoking? Did you just stop instantly? And what would be your tips for someone who is a smoker and has MS?

09:50 What aspects of the Overcoming MS Program do you like most and have found most straightforward to implement?

12:45 You're the ambassador for the Toronto area. What's the value of being the ambassador for Overcoming MS?

15:03 Could you tell us a bit about your volunteer work with MS Canada?

19:37 If you were to give advice to yourself as a newly diagnosed person, what would that advice be?

Selected Key Takeaways:

The Overcoming MS Program empowers and informs people to make positive lifestyle changes

03:02 “[Professor] Jelinek's voice really spoke to me like I'm a relatively intelligent adult. It was the first time I heard ideas like ‘follow this very healthy evidence-based lifestyle program, and still take your DMT with your neurologist’s guidance, if that's a good fit for you.’ It was also the first time I felt like I had a say in my health, in my approach to my MS.”

Grieving your former self can be an important step in making healthy changes

04:02 “I discovered the concept of grieving for the loss of my former self and finding the new me. That concept really resonated with me. In a lot of ways, I actually saw it as a really positive thing. Through that I embraced dietary, exercise and mindfulness initiatives fully. Through the process of discovering who this new me is, I made a lot of decisions to cut out toxic elements from my life, whether that's food and lifestyle related, people, or even something like social media. Overcoming MS was a major factor in helping all this.”

Find the method that works for you to quit smoking

07:40 “I really struggled for about two years with smoking. Whereas [with] my drinking, getting that under control was actually almost easy and immediate in comparison. It feels like I tried everything to quit before I got a handle on it, which included things like tracking every time I smoked, and then trying to reduce the number of times each day, going cold turkey, reading about how horrible smoking is for your health, the scare tactics, etc. All those things. At the end of the day, I actually found Allen Carr's ‘Easy Way to Stop Smoking.’ That book really worked for me.”

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Jesse’s Bio:

Jesse lives in Toronto, Ontario. He works for a Toronto-based tech startup focused on accessible digital products.

Jesse’s volunteer work

Jesse volunteers for Overcoming MS and MS Canada, Canada’s national MS-focused charity.

As an ambassador with Overcoming MS, he facilitates the Greater Toronto Area online Circle support group. He is also a member of the Overcoming MS Communications Advisory Group.

At MS Canada, he facilitates a support group for people who are newly diagnosed with the disease and gets to work with the charity’s education team on webinars and events, too.

Discovering Overcoming MS

A major turning point in coming to terms with his diagnosis was discovering Overcoming MS. The program has helped him to change his perspective, offered him access to a community of others who can relate and has reinforced a positive outlook that he can always come back to for inspiration and hope.