Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are delighted to welcome MS Nurse, Phil King, as our guest! Phil offers a great perspective: as a Multiple Sclerosis nurse who also has MS himself, he has been following the Overcoming MS Program for more than a decade. 

Find out more and listen to the episode here.

Overcoming MS  00:01

Welcome to Living well with MS. This podcast comes to you from Overcoming MS, the world's leading multiple sclerosis healthy lifestyle charity, which helps people live a full and healthy life through the Overcoming MS program. We interview a range of experts and people with multiple sclerosis. Please remember, all opinions expressed are their own. Don't forget to subscribe to living well with MS on your favorite podcast platform so you never miss an episode. And now here's your host, Geoff Allix.

Geoff Allix  00:35

Welcome to the latest edition of the Living Well with MS podcast. Joining me on this edition is Phil King from the UK. Phil is doubly qualified to join us on the podcast because he is both a person with MS as well as being an MS nurse. So welcome, Phil.

Phil King  00:52

Hello. How are you?

Geoff Allix  00:54

Very well. Thank you. And so to start off with, can you tell us a bit about your MS journey and your professional journey and how they interact?

Phil King  01:03

Yeah, so I got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. I'd had symptoms before that just on and off symptoms. It was tingling, had problems with my left eye. So particularly if I went for a run I couldn't always see properly. But then as soon as I stopped, it went back to normal. And I'm sure that same with many people, because the symptoms are quite mild. I'd go along, just to see my GP and just mentioned it in passing if I was there for something else, or an optician and say, "Look, you know, I don't know if my contact lenses are quite right. I'm not sure but the vision in my left eye's reduce, but it's okay now." And it was always pretty much brushed off either by "look, you exercise well, you eat well, I wouldn't let it worry you." And then say 2012 came the biggie where my vision in my left eye just disappeared. So essentially, when I was exercising, I couldn't see a thing, which was pretty scary. I mean, I was a nurse anyway. So I was thinking, "oh my goodness, what on earth is this? This is terrible."

Geoff Allix  02:20

So you've got a long list of things that could have been

Phil King  02:23

Long, long list. Oh, yeah, absolutely.

Geoff Allix  02:26

Which some of which are terrifying,

Phil King  02:28

Some of which are very terrifying. Yes, absolutely. And interestingly, I hadn't, hadn't hadn't thought of MS. straightaway. It wasn't until I noticed that it was getting worse in heat, and then disappearing. I thought, "I think I might know what this is. I think this could be MS." And, of course, you know, I spoke to a couple of friends about it. And they said "no, it's not MS. You're too fit for it to be that that'd be daft Phil," you know, and I said "yeah, but you know, I have got tingling in my leg." And "oh, well, you know, need to stretch more. Come on," you know, man up type of thing. And so cut a very long story short, I saw a neurologist and the neurologist said to me, "okay, Phil, what do you think the problem is?" And I said, "I think I've got MS." And he just went quiet for a minute. And he said, "Yeah, I think you're right." Oh, my goodness. But luckily for me, I'd read a little bit about MS. And of course, unfortunately, it's quite doom and gloom. And you read a lot of stories about, you know, people who had MS for many years that probably hadn't had any treatment, you know, years ago who are now fairly poorly. But amongst all that, I saw a blog from Rebecca Hoover. And she was talking on her site about how to overcome MS. And, you know, I was I was thinking of this now, how much money does she want? You know, she can make me better can she I see righty-oh, and she pointed towards obviously George Jellinek and the Overcoming MS program. And I looked at it and thinking, if this is so good why is not everyone with MS following this? And then of course, noticed that he's not asking for any money. All his advice was on the site. I bought the book and basically started following OMS just before I got diagnosed, so when I got my formal diagnosis, I was already I'd already started following it. I was the same, it was that same thing. It was like they're not asking for any money. They even sent me the book for free. Yeah. So they don't even ask for postage. It was like okay, they're actually sending me this big book and not charging me a penny. And whereas everyone else I had come across it was this subscription, this money. Yeah. I'm a bit skeptical about this, you know, taking this tablet surely if I just took this tablet and it was would cure me for 30 pounds a month and everyone would be doing this. Yeah, yeah, exactly the same. I was thinking just the same as you. Why isn't everyone doing this? And well, you know, of course, as it's with it being a lifestyle change, I guess perhaps it's not everybody's cup of tea for whatever reason.

Geoff Allix  05:35

So you at the time were a general nurse, or is that the right term? Or you weren't an MS nurse at the time?

Phil King  05:42

No, no, I wasn't no. So at the time, I was a renal nurse. So I was looking after kidneys and things like that. When it happened, when I got my MS diagnosis. And so yes, so as far as nursing goes, a few years afterwards, 2018, I think, I saw an advert for an MS nurse. And I thought, well, I've got MS. I'm living pretty well with it. It'd be nice to help others with MS. You know, and speak about being positive with MS, and lifestyle choices. And yeah, not necessarily trying to force a message of Overcoming MS onto every single MS patient. But I just thought, "well, if they could see that I'm I'm doing fairly well with it, perhaps it might inspire people." And also, I was very interested in MS anyway, I find MS fascinating.

Geoff Allix  06:43

I think just the empathy as well, I think I think almost all MS nurses should have MS. It's like you can't explain it to anyone other than people who've got MS. My wife doesn't fully understand the things like that you have good days and bad days. And stress might affect me and heat might affect me and but then other people with MS completely understand that or they might be different they go and actually cold affects me and this affects me that, but they understand that we all understand how it works with each other that there's this sort of weird thing going on. And I know that my MS nurse is very brilliant, very sympathetic, she doesn't fully understand in the way that kind of we understand but what's amazing is that you do and also that first meeting that patients have with you, they actually see someone who is doing well, and understands what they're going through. And you think well, that's brilliant. Thinking you know, and I think he's got better, as you're sort of saying, you know what you think of when you're told about MS. And certainly, you know I was diagnosed similar sort of time. And it it there wasn't really the celebrities that we now have that have got MS that are actually looking quite well. And I think that's been a big change. And now you've got a few actresses or actors you should say, and Jack Osborne's another one, there's a few people around who are actually looking fine, but that wasn't the case 10 years ago, I just think 10 years ago, that wasn't the story of people with MS. And certainly in the media and on TV and news and stuff. But now hopefully that will change. And people actually say "okay, yeah, Selma, Blair's got MS. And you know, it's another actor recently, and you know, and Jack Osbourne is doing crazy stunts and things. And so actually, the maybe the narrative will change a bit more.

Phil King  08:40

Definitely. I mean, I mean, certainly with Yeah, so certainly, obviously receiving that diagnosis of MS. From a neurologist, you know, "I think this is MS." Obviously, then the next person that they would speak to professionally would be, would be an MS nurse. And, yeah, I think it's really important that that's the first message from a nurse is "okay, well, you know, this is what we can do." Don't get me wrong, my MS nurse is lovely, you know. Very, very nice. However, if you spoke to somebody that said, Well, yes, I'm a OMS nurse, but I've also got it. It was, like you said, like you mentioned about the empathy. You know, that patient would be sat there thinking, "Oh, well, fantastic. So not only a nurse, but someone that has got it and the first thing they ask is okay, you look well, what are you doing? And how long have you had it? What drug are you one? Is there a magic pill?" You know, and of course, you know, we say well, unfortunately everyone's MS journey is different, it always is. And others other certain other circumstances can come in, you know, so perhaps other infections or so obviously we know about it, you know, if you have an infection with MS, obviously it makes MS a lot worse. So, there are there can be many, as you know many sort of like jumps in the road as it were. But essentially, what certainly what I found is that if it when people call our MS hotline, if you like, quite a few say, "I want to speak to the nurse that's got it." Yeah, I want to speak to the nurses got it. And so obviously, I do and you pretty much hit the nail on the head when you said that, you know, it's great that all nurses you'd like to think are empathetic towards the condition. But they don't know exactly what it's like to have it. Whereas of course, you and I both know which, which is great. And I think that when certainly if when I speak to patients, and they say, "oh, Phil, I've got I've developed something and Can I can I talk to you about it?" And you know, sometimes I say "oh, yeah, I know, I know what you're talking about. Yeah, I've had it." And, you know, and don't worry about it, or yes, I've had this perhaps you need to speak to somebody else about etcetera. So that's, that's pretty helpful.

Geoff Allix  11:36

And do you suggest OMS to your patients?

Phil King  11:40

I do. Yes, I do. I say to all my patients that if you think that medication alone, is going to cure your MS or make it a lot better. Medication's very powerful. But what is just as powerful, if not more powerful, is what we eat, is if we can do some exercise, obviously, you know, stress control, so meditation, obviously vitamin D supplementation, definitely, because, you know, being the Northern Hemisphere, we don't see much sunshine. And so putting the whole package together. And yeah, I mean, many people say, "Oh, what's so give up burgers, and, you know, give up fast food?" And so then we sometimes have the discussion about well, you know, fast food isn't terribly great for us anyway. And it's not just MS that that could be made worse by that type of diet. It's any other inflammatory condition. So you know, diabetes type two, heart disease, etc, etc. If you watch what you eat, and careful about what you eat, and exercise more, okay, yeah, so the worst that could happen is okay, well, your MS stays the same. You know, you don't see any improvement or anything. But you're stopping, getting a barrage of so many other conditions.

Geoff Allix  13:09

That's actually what I was told. And I thought that was a really good way of putting it because the official advice for a neurologist isn't really to do any lifestyle modification. I don't think. But he said, and that because I said, "What do you think about this?" and he knew who George Jelinek was, he didn't really know about being called Overcoming MS. But he said, he said, "well, at the end of the day, there's nothing proven. However, it is almost certainly going to make you healthier and reduce your chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, cancer", and he, went through a whole long list of things. And he said, so you don't want to get those anyway. You definitely don't want to get them when you've got MS. And so as he said, and then you look at the downsides of it. You probably going to be cooking more, which is true. And you might miss cheese. Which was also true for a while but not anymore. Actually. After a while you stop missing cheese, but initially, yeah, can you get used to things that you?

Phil King  14:13

Yeah, you do? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I've been so I've been following OMS now for 11 years. And the thought of eating cheese or burgers or anything in actual fact, and this is gonna sound really daft Alex, but I've actually forgotten what cheese tastes like. I've forgotten what burgers taste like. And if I smell burgers now, I think oh my goodness. That doesn't smell particularly pleasant. And yeah, I think you just get you do you do get used to eating a certain way. And in, you know, certainly, I guess the fast food restaurants would want obviously to push their product on you as much as possible you've got the drive throughs and what have you. But once you know, once you get over that, I honestly, I mean, this is just me personally, I honestly don't miss it whatsoever. And so when I when I speak to patients who are newly diagnosed or patients say, okay, you know, what do you do Phil because, you know, I want to get a bit fitter, I want to do this, that and the other. You know, as I say to them, that if you if you don't want to change your diet straight away, if you know, it's not about changing everything in five minutes, and saying, "okay, well, no more burgers, no more, there's no more that I'm just going to stop everything now." Perhaps doing it in steps. And then starting exercise in steps, you know, no one's going to run a marathon or half marathon with or without MS in three months time with little practice. It is making these changes. And if you have to make changes slowly, fine. It's however you're comfortable with. But, you know, these are changes for life. You know, it's not about stopping eating a certain way for six months. It's about making these changes forever. So I always emphasize plant based. And yeah, I've got a few patients that follow Overcoming MS. Funnily enough, Geoff, got your name right this time. Funnily enough, I've got an OMS meeting tonight. Six o'clock. And they are all people that have got MS that are following Overcoming MS and the laughs we have are fantastic.

Geoff Allix  17:09

Would you say though, that are patients typically keen to add in lifestyle modifications?

Phil King  17:18

Not always. No, I would say that a few people want to make changes. Many people don't for whatever reason. I mean, habits are very, very difficult to change. You know, as a hypnotherapist said to me many, many years ago, she said, Phil, it takes between two to three weeks to form a habit. And that's it. You know, so I mean, you know, if you've got a patient that smokes cigarettes, or eats a certain way or drinks alcohol in a certain way, doesn't exercise. To then suggest overhauling everything is pretty difficult.

Geoff Allix  18:07

Is it two three weeks or two? Three months?

Phil King  18:10

Well, she always told me two to three weeks because I'd heard months before. Oh, did you?

Geoff Allix  18:20

No, no, I did I just found that with it's just a personal thing. I tried to sort of do it dry January thing and I think you almost at the end of January is still desperate to have a have a glass of wine or something. But then it was after about two three months. I just didn't have it cut out any sort of the desire to have things I found that was what made the cheese and things like that.

Phil King  18:43

I mean, perhaps perhaps she was talking of cigarettes. Possibly. Perhaps that was it. Because obviously, you know, smoking cigarettes is incredibly addictive. And if unfortunately, if you like the taste and the rush you get from the cigarette, the first time off, you're probably going to stick with it. Yeah, no, unfortunately. So yeah. So to to say to people, "okay, yeah, you've got MS. Can we look at overhauling your diet and the way you are?" I mean, one example I had a patient fairly recently who you know who smoked, who drank too much, that ate a lot of fast food, junk food stroke other and in our saying to him "you know, have you thought about changing the way you the way your lifestyle is? So you know, stopping smoking, changing your diet?" and his whole family, his wife and his two children and his mom were is in the in the consulting room with me. And they said, "Oh, thank goodness, he's seeing you Phil, he needs that he needs to be told this. We've told him this for years. And he's he's, he's still eating the same way. Still drinking, still smoking. And so now he's getting it from somebody, that's got MS. who's a nurse and who's made lifestyle changes, and you can see how well they are." And you know, he's now gone away. And you know, I've heard from him fairly recently saying that he'd stopped smoking. So, I mean, wether it was my influence, or whether it was is his wife and children mother's influence? I don't know.

Geoff Allix  20:41

I think that's probably a because we've mentioned you've mentioned disease modifying therapies, exercise, mindfulness, diet, vitamin D. But actually, smoking isn't actually one of the pillars is kind of like taken as read, isn't it? But it probably shouldn't be that. I probably say that first. Stop smoking.

Phil King  21:02

Absolutely, indeed. Because we know that smoking and you know, the message that we we give out, you know, MS nurses give out and MS neurologists they'll give out is that smoking will increase the speed of MS progression. You know, that's what it does. You know, how fast it increases individuals, we don't know. And so we always say that if there's one thing that you take away, lifestyle change, if you don't take anyway, anything else, if you smoke, the best thing you can do is stop smoking. You know, and certainly one thing that neurologists would agree on wholeheartedly, you know, a certain lifestyle change that stopping smoking. Some of the neurologists I work with our if we if we mentioned healthy diet and exercise, many of them I've worked with more recently as saying, "you know, healthy lifestyle is certainly going to improve how you are as a patient." They perhaps haven't said categorically that a whole food plant based diet will improve your MS. But what they are saying is, is that the healthier you are, the better chance you've got with managing your MS that, you know, if you have fatigue, the best thing you can do is do some exercise, because we have medications that are there for fatigue, but they have got side effects, and they don't always work. Whereas exercise, you know, doing some exercise can actually, you know, reduce the fatigue. And it's not not necessarily about having to run or anything. It's  exercise that you can do within your capabilities. And we know that to be certain that exercise will improve the feelings of fatigue, and is probably the best way of helping you manage it. And, I mean, certainly with disease modifying treatments. The one thing that I would I would definitely say is that if you're advised to take a disease modifying treatment, take it absolutely alongside Overcoming MS. Because I know many years ago, of course, the treatments weren't quite so good. There weren't as many disease modifying treatments. The treatments that we had perhaps 20 years ago. I think we only had two betaferon and Copaxone. And that's quite limiting. So unfortunately, if you had MS that was quite active, chances are it wasn't going to help you very much. Whereas now we've got, you know, an array of medications, we've got medication for secondary progressive MS, we've got a medication for primary progressive, you know, it has changed significantly. And so I think that following OMS, fantastic and I would say follow OMS as the whole package. You know, don't just pick out one follow the whole thing that seems to work best if you do that, and also stick to disease modifying treatment.

Geoff Allix  24:46

And that is actually one of the pillars or OMS isn't it? This, I think is another thing that when I was first looking at it, it was like oh, actually you're not saying that we need to live in a yurt and eat our own vegetables we've grown and go completely off grid is that actually oh, no, you're saying that actually that the science and everything is there and medical professionals know what they're doing? That's actually one of the pillars of where appropriate take a disease modifying therapy. Absolutely. It's in there. With exercise and mindfulness of vitamin D, that's another one of those things is when we take disease modifying therapy. I know there's a lot of people who follow OMS, who don't. But equally, I'd say there's an awful lot of people following OMS. Who do.

Phil King  25:34

yeah, absolutely. Certainly within the last, I don't know, perhaps 10 years, I would imagine, the medications have made a significant change, and are still changing, there are other medications on the horizon, you know, that are shown to be very promising in, in reducing MS relapses, and also reducing progression as well.

Geoff Allix  26:07

And does being an MS nurse, who's got MS. How does that help you? Like, do you have your insights for your patients? Does it does it help a huge amount?

Phil King  26:23

What to tell my patient? You mean?

Geoff Allix  26:26

I mean, in terms of treating a patient, does it make a big difference to you? Do you think that you've got MS? Does it change the way you treat your patient?

Phil King  26:35

I think what definitely changes, I think, um, I mean, all the MS nurses are great. Don't get me wrong. All the ones I work with.

Geoff Allix  26:45

You've got an MS nurse as well. Yes, I have. That must be a very weird relationship, right?

Phil King  26:49

Well, it's strange, funny enough. You know, I probably speak to my MS nurse for about five minutes, we know each other fairly well. And so and then she would say, Well, what's going on in your service? And you know, I say X, Y, Z, by the way, what's going up there in Nottingham all? Well, this is happening, and that's happening and whatever. So it probably is a little bit different from how perhaps you would be with your MS nurse. But I think that certainly, if perhaps, if someone is struggling with MS. Yeah, I'm fairly empathetic, you know, I know where they're coming from, you know, I think well, okay, perhaps I've not quite had the struggle that you're having. But I've had, I've had facets of it, that have come and gone. And so I know that that's not very nice. And so perhaps I can relate to it a bit more. And certainly, what I found is, is that so for argument's sake, if someone is saying that, you know that they're finding it difficult to exercise, because let's say that they're having spasms, or that saying that their legs feel very stiff. You know, I would, I would take them through doing stretches. And so what I have done before, if I'm in a consulting room with a patient, I'll say, Okay, right, I know what we're going to do, I'm not just going to speak to you about stretches, I'm going to demonstrate them in front of you as well. And so we'll do them together. So I've done that and say if you stretch like that before doing exercise and stretch like that, again, afterwards, you will find it a little bit easier, you know, stretching your legs, is great, particularly when we have MS. And I I also say, you know, I get very stiff legs. I mean, I do run a lot but however and you know I'm getting older, but also because I've got MS. You know, sometimes my legs can feel very stiff and and I get not really spasms but I get cramps. And so I find I have to do quite a bit of stretching before I run and stretching afterwards. So I think as I say, talking about exercise, when I come at it that way say "well look, my legs can hurt before exercise, this is what I do. And this is what I do afterwards and just take it steady." I think that helps quite a bit because again, you know the patient in front of me is thinking "well perhaps I've got to try exercise now because I've got an MS nurse who exercises says that they get achy legs that I get and it's just showing me how it can possibly overcome it. I suppose I'm gonna have to try it now."

Geoff Allix  29:43

And another thing so you because you're in this almost possibly unique position from the other side. Is there any tips that you've got for us as patients of how we interact with MS professionals either to make our treatment potentially better or to help the professionals in, you know, in giving them information or how we deal with professionals? Is there any tips you'd have for how we would as patients would interact with with nurses and neurologists?

Phil King  30:14

Well, yeah, I mean, what I would say is, is that certainly a diagnosis or, you know, if you're asked about, you know, how are you? What we get from many patients is "I'm, okay. Oh, okay."

Geoff Allix  30:33

That's it. I think it's quite a British thing.

Phil King  30:36

I was gonna say that. Yeah, yes. Yeah. I thought I'll just say that.

Geoff Allix  30:41

If your wife says she's fine, that probably means you're in trouble. Particularly British English goes fine.

Phil King  30:48

Fine. Fine. I won't speak to you know, you're in trouble. Absolutely. But, yeah, I would say being very honest with with the nurse. So, you know, if the nurse asks, okay, how are you getting on? Oh, well, you know, saying Fine, and as a lot of patients do will say, Well, I've not been too bad. And we don't always get the full story. I would, I'd always say that if you have got that time with the nurse, if you've got that time with your neurologist be straight up say, Well, look, I've got this problem, I've got that problem, or I found this or found that. And just being straight and honest, I've found is probably is great, because then we can we can help a lot more. You know, certainly we have had people in the past that have perhaps not always been, and I don't mean this horribly, but perhaps not always told us honestly, what's going on. And we then find out perhaps later on, they might ring up and say "oh, by the way, I've had this for quite a while." And you think Well, I had an appointment with you last month? Are we are well, I didn't really like to mention it. But you know, tell us absolutely tell us.

Geoff Allix  32:04

So some of the things are embarrassing. And they might be it could be incontinence could be a sexual thing. You've got to spill the beans?

Phil King  32:15

Absolutely. And again, with, and I'll be honest, I've had bladder issues before. There we go. It's out there, everyone knows now. But if I'm talking to a patient, they say, "oh, you know, I'm having to get up Phil, you know, two or three times a night and oh, it's embarrassing. Sometimes it makes it the toilet in time. I don't really want to speak to a nurse about it. I don't want to even go into the bladder and bowel clinic about it, you know? And I say well, why not? I've been.

Geoff Allix  32:45

And there's treatments as well. Because it's not Yeah, so there's disease modifying therapy for MS. Also, we've got a load of symptoms. So I think there's two things going on isn't as there's the one there's the big thing, treat the MS. But then there's the other thing of like, you've got these, you know, so yeah, I've had, I've had treatment for bladder, and they work and they've got things that work. And then you can you can sort that one out. And you're like, Okay, well, yeah, if you can sort out the symptoms, and then sort out the underlying cause the symptoms, and you're most of the way there.

Phil King  33:16

And, of course us with MS unfortunately, one of the regular infections, that we can get is urine infection. So in actual fact, if you're getting up and down, worrying about it thinking "I'm having to go to the loo again, I have to go to the loo again, oh my goodness." It might not be anything to do with the MS. It might be in actual fact, you've got a urine infection. That's making in the MS worse. With antibiotics you can be right as rain in a few days.

Geoff Allix  33:44

Or this is one actually, this is something I told my MS nurse I sort of put out there it's a treatment I used Germany, I believe and maybe other places thing called D-mannos, which is a tablet you take every day. And that basically sorted out my Urinary tract infections completely. It's just a tablet you take every day is cheaply available on major online retailers and my MS nurse was so unaware of it. She looked into it next time I saw it, she goes "Oh, that's a good tip." They don't use it in other places in the world. We don't prescribe it here, but it's not expensive anyway. Yeah, that's been it's been really good actually.

Phil King  34:29

Yes. And also, you know, hydration is a biggie. So, again, my advice to anybody really is drink plenty of water. I've been as guilty of not drinking enough as the next person getting really dehydrated. Feeling very thirsty, exercising and not having enough to drink. And of course, the thing is that as we're saying about bladder infections is that we need to keep the bladder flush washed, keep it flush really well, plenty of water. Great. You know, that's what's going to do it if you don't drink enough, obviously, you know, we then start to perhaps possibly see an increase in urine infections potentially. And also that's definitely the main thing I would say is that when you speak into the MS nurses when you speak into neurologist, also write things down, keep a diary. So if you think that you have got a particular symptom just jot it down somewhere you're going to find it, so we're not going to forget about it. So it could be a jotter, it could be a diary. And every time it happens, again, just write it down. So that when you do speak to one of us, you can then say, well, you know, I've had X, Y and Z happen, and it's happened a few times now. And just, and I've written it down when it happens, you know, that's really useful for us. So then we can obviously manage the symptoms a lot better. Which, obviously, so I forgot my train of thought now, which helps us greatly. And also, if you're writing things down, and symptom occurs, if I then speak to that patient, I say, Okay, well, okay, write it down is great. Can you also think about what time of day it happens? So, you know, if you fatigue is worse, or if your spasms are worse? You know, what your sleep like? Are you stressed? Are you exercising at all? Is is anything else changed anywhere? You know, what is your hydration like? Have you had any recent infections, and that then, you know, obviously, then helps us greatly, then we can then manage it far better. And, you know, manage our patients obviously, far better. And, you know, hopefully, because the idea with MS, of course, is that what you want to do is it's a long term condition, it's not a condition that is going to end your life very quickly. This is a condition for life, you know, we're now seeing that in actual fact, people with MS have got a near to normal lifespan as any other person has. So it's about managing your conditions, it's about being honest with your nurse, if you if your nurse or neurologist asks you perhaps to keep a diary, or to think oh, okay, just think over next week about how often these symptoms occur, it's really helpful to us because what we're trying to do is that we want to, we want you to live the best life that you possibly can. And so again, you know, going back to OMS, we know that from the data that and from the research and from the evidence that if you follow a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, little or no process meat exercise regularly. Stress reduction. So meditation, meditation can take many different forms, you know, perhaps for, I mean, again, one person said to me, I don't meditate formally, but what I do is, I do enjoy painting. Okay, well, when you're painting, what do you do? Oh, well, it's great paint outside, and I haven't got care in the world. Well, there you go. That's your meditation.

Geoff Allix  38:48

Yeah. Are you saying running? I mean, I think running is very meditative. My daughter is a very keen swimmer. I think that, you know, just doing things like that you can you can be meditating while you're exercising or while you're warking on the dog or while you're painting or Yeah, I think any sort of like art form almost is almost certainly is a mindful activity. Maybe not heavy rock guitarists. But yeah, I don't know. Maybe it is. I haven't tried.

Phil King  39:20

Well, indeed. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, when I'm running along, in my ears, I might have Queen blowing out or AC/DC or, you know, anything, dare I say a bit of Cliff. And, and yeah, it's it's all  helpful. I think. The thing is that if you've got if you've got something that takes you away from just the worries and the stresses of the world, you know, yeah, I can do meditation most days and yeah, great. But if you're painting or if you're enjoying your exercise, and you you're happy, you're contented. It's taking you away from your worries for half an hour. Great. Fantastic. And yeah, it's it is about living the best life you possibly can for life. You know?

Geoff Allix  40:15

Okay. So firstly, thank you very much, I think, has been a unique insight that we haven't had before. We have experts on before we have people with MS on before, but it's having that sort of crossover has been brilliant. And just to wrap up, though, do you have any final tips for our listeners? Maybe sort of newly diagnosed people or it what what sort of key takeaway tips would you give to people?

Phil King  40:42

Okay, so certainly with, with MS. I mean, the first thing I would say is treatments. So, from what people sometimes what people read, particularly online, things can appear quite scary. I would say that if you're newly diagnosed, the MS treatments are very different to what they used to be years ago, we've got many different treatments and treatments that work very well. I would say that if we've got somebody that's listening to this that wants to follow the Overcoming MS program, or is not quite sure where to start or thinking, you know, how do I how do I follow a whole food plant based diet, it means a lot of preparation. What I do is I get a bag of stir fry. So basically it's vegetables that have been washed and prepared in a bag that's it's there's nothing on them. I cut a little hole in the bag, I put a few drops of water in the bag stick in the microwave, three minutes, obviously, microwaves vary. So don't take my word for it and don't something that's Crispy and crackled. But essentially, three minutes in the microwave out you've got your bag of stir fry, that I then put soy sauce on it. A few spices. That's it, and it's taken me five minutes. Jacket potatoes. Great. You know, again, microwave 10 minutes air fryers fantastic. Where would we be without an air fryer? No. Yeah, I got one for Christmas. It's amazing.

Geoff Allix  42:22

I'm a massive convert as well

Phil King  42:24

So you know, it's not that difficult. And and certainly with Overcoming MS. If you look at the recipes on on the Overcoming MS website and other tips and ideas, it's, it's, you know, lots of different ideas that that people can follow. And of course, Overcoming MS is on Facebook, so on Instagram. So you know, if you're a young person with MS and think, Oh, we know well. I don't you know, okay as a website, but you know, I've got time to scroll through a website. Yeah, just click on Facebook, the different Overcoming MS Facebook communities. There's one I follow Overcoming MS. Support on Facebook, just ask a question and you get an answer pretty much straight away. You know, so if you're newly diagnosed, you've got lots and lots of help. MS is frightening when you newly diagnosed, it is frightening, but that it does settle down. It does settle. And there is hope. Definitely. And there is a life to be lived with MS. You know, you can live a very good life. And and I my final thing I would say is that I look it's the point that I'm going nuts but I look at MS as a gift. Now, which I never thought I'd say. Never thought I'd say But MS is a gift. It's showed me so many different things, different ways of living. It's you know, different friend groups. If I was told tomorrow, Phil, we've made a big mistake. You haven't got MS. I wouldn’t change my lifestyle at all.

Geoff Allix  44:07

Brilliant. And with that. Thank you very much for joining us. Phil King.

Phil King  44:12

Thank you, Geoff.

Overcoming MS  44:16

Thank you for listening to this episode of living well with MS. Please check out this episode's show notes at overcomingms.org/podcast you'll find useful links and bonus information there. Have questions or ideas to share? Email us at podcast@overcoming ms.org or you can reach out to Geoff on Twitter @GeoffAllix. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks again for tuning in and see you next time for tips on living a full and happy life with MS. Living well with MS podcast is for private non commercial use and exists to educate and inspire our community of listeners. We do not offer medical advice for medical advice please contact your Doctor or other licensed health care professional