Welcome to Season 5 of Living Well with MS, the Overcoming MS podcast where we explore topics relating to living well with multiple sclerosis (MS). In this episode, we are pleased to welcome Renee Coffey as our guest. Renee has been following the Overcoming MS Program for over 10 years. She talks about her Overcoming MS journey, her story that was published in the ‘Overcoming MS Handbook’, and her advice to those just starting out on the Program.  

Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Renee’s bio. 

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Renee started on her Overcoming MS journey shortly after her first MS episode in 2011 so has been following the Overcoming MS program for over 10 years.  

Renee’s career and personal life

In her day job, Renee works full-time as the Deputy CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, a role and cause she cares deeply about. Renee is mum to two boys, aged 7 and 9 and gets to share two older children with her partner Jason - wonderful young women aged 20 and 21. 

Renee’s lesions have disappeared and/or shrunk

Three years ago, following a routine MRI, Renee was told there was no disease progression. Also, one of the lesions on her spine had disappeared, and one had shrunk to just millimetres. Last year, Renee received the great news. Not only is there no new disease activity, but now the two lesions in her brain have disappeared as well.  

Renee’s passion for Overcoming MS

Renee is passionate about her Overcoming MS journey and credits her good health and so much of the richness she experiences in her life to the Overcoming MS program and community. 

Read the episode transcript

Selected Key Takeaways:  

MS Symptoms are varied and sometimes confusing, mimicking other conditions
“The itching was across one of those bands around my torso, on one side. My GP clued up on to that pretty quickly. Once he tried a few things, and that didn't work, he actually gave me a referral to a neurologist, which for me was quite surprising because I thought I had been bitten by a spider. Then, I started thinking maybe I had shingles or something like that. As far as I knew, a neurologist was just for your brain, so I was thinking, ‘hang on a second, that seems like an odd referral.’ But I googled the neurologist and he was a specialist in MS.” 

Following the Overcoming MS Program will improve your overall health and wellbeing
“The Overcoming MS program has brought so much more to me than the absence of decline. I actually think it has brought a lot of richness to me, by way of just changing my outlook on my health and my wellbeing and putting that at the front and centre of what I do. I am definitely a much healthier person now, in a holistic sense, than I was before my diagnosis. I love the way I eat. If you told me tomorrow that I could take a magic pill and you'll cure my MS, I would not be running straight to a cheese platter or digging into a steak. I couldn't think of anything worse.” 

Renee hiked part of the Camino de Santiago (an ancient Pilgrim route through Europe) with her family
“If you had told me 10-plus years ago that I was even going to want a hike 215 kilometres, I wouldn't have believed you. But I think that's part of this change. I never played team sports before my MS diagnosis, I never had any level of fitness or any interest in any kind of fitness activity or outdoor activities. And so that's all come from this much healthier view on holistic health.” 

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