Where I stand after almost three years of OMS

January 12, 2018

Abu was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago and has been following the OMS Recovery Program for almost three years. He shares his journey from diagnosis, how he is feeling today and his hopes for the future…

Abu Hamza blog - 300 x 300

I was diagnosed with MS in January 2014 after experiencing a variety of different symptoms since October 2013. I had just returned to university after a gap of over twenty years to complete my Master’s Degree. My eyesight had suddenly become blurred and out of focus. I put this down to an excessive strain on my eyes due to my return to academia and dozens of required readings. I went to an ophthalmologist who prescribed glasses for reading and distance and these seemed to take care of the problem. Little did I know that this was probably optic neuritis, my first MS symptom.

A little later on, my left foot started dragging along the ground when walking but I was really just too busy with my heavy course load and rigorous study schedule to pay this strange, but relatively minor, inconvenience any mind.

The dragging became worse and more evident over the course of the next two months, but the symptom that finally woke me up to the reality that something was really wrong was when I felt a loss of sensation in my left arm. I wasn’t sure if this was an early indication of a heart attack or something else. I quietly went to the Emergency Department at the nearby hospital.

After an initial examination, I was sent for an X-ray and then a CT scan. The doctor, suspecting a possible stroke, had spoken with the neurologist on call and I was admitted for further tests. By then I had also started feeling pins and needles all over the left side of my face and body and my right side was becoming increasingly sensitive to touch.

I stayed in hospital over Christmas and New Year’s. After a whole battery of tests, including an MRI and MRA, and ruling out all other possibilities, I was informed I had MS. My wife immediately sprung into action. She began researching anything and everything on MS. First she came across Dr. Swank’s and then Professor Jelinek’s research but also the work of Dr. Wahl.

By February 2014, I had started feeling extremely fatigued and it was difficult to maintain my concentration or retain and recall even the most basic information. My pins and needles continued and I was given high doses of intravenous steroids (Prednisone) frequently. I have been prescribed 20 mg of the injectable disease-modifying drug Copaxone daily. As her research continued, my wife began to change my diet and introduced more fruits, vegetables, salads, whole foods, nuts, lentils, beans, and sprouted grains. She cut out all red meat. She also cut out all chemicals and preservatives and we bought only organic foods.

While the Swank-Jelinek-Wahl debate continued, I started to feel a little better. More alert, much less fatigued. But my dragging leg and pins and needles continued unabated as did my sensitivity to touch. I also started to feel foggy-headed and had started to lose my balance when standing and walking. I began to use a cane. I started seeing a naturopath to monitor my diet and nutrition and a neurophysiotherapist who helped me to regain some of my balance and improve my posture and gait.

This routine continued until February 2015 when I seemed to reach a status quo and found that there was no further improvement in my condition. The diet and nutrition had definitely helped me but it wasn’t enough. My leg had become increasingly weaker and heavier, the pins and needles fluctuated from moderate to severe. Sex had also started to become a challenge.

My wife and I made the very conscious decision to follow the OMS Recovery Program. We cut out all meat and dairy from my diet and continued a wholefood, vegetable-based diet with fish. The only oil we use is extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), and we use only egg whites in cooking or baking.

I choose to have 40-50 grams of flax oil every day, 200,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 and 5 mg of vitamin B12 weekly. I am very particular in trying to maintain as close to zero grams of saturated fat in my diet and never go over 5 grams in a day. I’ll have oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines) 3-4 times a week. We only use almond milk.

I have only now started to exercise for about an hour every other day with the help of a personal trainer. I used to play competitive rugby and have been fairly active my whole life. But because I can’t exercise and run and play sports like I used to, the frustration up until now has kept me from even trying. I know that’s counter-intuitive but I’ve hopefully turned that corner now and I am determined to make it work.

I’ve also started meditating using the guided meditations on the website.

I first started feeling symptoms four years and three months ago. I was diagnosed with MS almost four years ago and I have been on the OMS Recovery Program for almost three. I am still taking Copaxone. My only symptoms now are the dragging, weak and heavy left leg and the sometimes quite overwhelming pins and needles. I can’t run with my four kids playing football in the park like we used to do almost daily, but do go for longish walks or gentle hikes with them in the countryside.

More aggressive DMD’s like Tysabri have been proposed by my neurologist and I have even considered stem cell therapy as a fairly drastic option. But I’m not totally convinced by these treatments and, after reading the inspirational and motivational stories of others on this forum, I am hopeful that if I continue with the OMS Recovery Program for at least five years, I shall start seeing an improvement in my overall condition, less lesions on my MRI’s, and hopefully – and I really yearn for this – the chance to play football with the kids in the park again.

Abu


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17 thoughts on ‘Where I stand after almost three years of OMS

  1. Its good to know that you have introduced dietary changes. I have a suggestion. Please start a spiritual journey alongside and try answering this question. Why did you get this dis-ease? I was diagnosed in 2016 with PPMS and prolonged but very slow symptoms since 2013. I have taken to holistic healing and my spiritual journey has added bright lights to my path.

    • Thanks Roy. That’s an interesting idea – being the leader of one’s own body. Cool. certainly food for thought. Thanks.

  2. Thanks Abu for sharing your experience. Keep up the good work!
    I was diagnosed with PPMS in January 2017 and after two months I went to Israel for a HSCT treatment. And now, after reading Prof. Jelinek’s book I also follow the OMS program. I think it’s important that you feel that you’ve the leading in this process. With a good balanced food program and some supplements. And, Ramandeep, I also started with a holistic program, yoga and mindfulness. Meditation helps us to train the concentration. Make sure you’re the leader of your own body and try to stop the progression by changing your lifestyle.

    • Roy, I wanted to ask: how was the HSCT experience? Was it difficult? How do you feel now? Do you think it was worth it? Is it still too early to tell?

    • Hi Muhawala!

      Well, it was tough. I chose the myeloablative protocol, the hardest chemo protocol they use for MS patients. Your total immune system will be destroyed and reset. Medically I did everything to stop this disease. I am convinced that the treatment can be useful if you’re doing HSCT early in the disease process. And now, I live the life OMS tells us to do. So a heavy diet and some supplements.
      I was very good when I returned from Israel. But after a couple of weeks my body was very tired, a normal reaction of the body after this HSCT treatment. But now, I’am better. My blood levels are reasonable normal again. I think it’s a combination of meditation, yoga and the OMS diet that will helps me now.

      • Thank you Roy. Your courage is a real source of motivation. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that course of treatment must have been. You’ve got guts mate. Good on you!

  3. I have been on the program for about 3.5 years now…I’d say our symptoms — onset — were pretty similar. This Feb will be 5 years since my Dx. I just got off a ski vacation up in Vermont. I want to say I ski as well as I did before my diagnosis, but that wouldn’t be accurate — I actually ski better; I’m stronger, healthier, recover faster (thanks to all the veges and goodies), and just clearer…But this took a few years of healing and we all have our own beginning and journey.

    I cannot fully convey the impact this lifestyle has had on me physically, with MS and irrespective of MS. But — it took some time; there was definitely a sort-of watershed moment where I felt/thought, “ok, this is working…I feel this”, after about 1.5 years. Keep up the awesome work!

    • Thank you for the encouraging words. It’s stories like yours that give one hope. I can’t wait to be able to run again (and even better than before…wow!) I know I have to be patient and consistent with my exercises and recoveries like yours and others on the forum are what make it all so real and achievable. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation to keep going!

  4. I was diagnosed (finally – after ~2 years) in June 2016 and started on the OMS program in September 2016. I am on a weekly DMD – Avonex. My most recent MRI indicates no new lesions which to me is a positive.

    My symptoms have remained relatively unchanged over the past couple of years, mostly right leg drop and drag and issues with balance when fatigued. I continue to exercise at least 5 days/per week. Some days are naturally better than others.

    I too have hope of improvements to my overall health and wellbeing over the next few years and reading these Blogs from others on a similar journey certainly provides inspiration and motivation.

    It’s nice to know I am not alone. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for your comment. It’s funny, it’s not a question I’ve really had to ask myself. It just is what it is. It’s tied up with the question of why we’re here. I believe our primary purpose is not to enjoy a transitory sense of happiness; rather, it is to achieve a deep internal peace and contentment through knowing and worshipping our Creator – that’s our spiritual journey. We’re tried and tested in various ways in order to develop our psyche and to strengthen our character. Everyone, in various capacities, goes through difficulties in life. Trials remind us of our limitations as human beings Going through suffering makes us normal and humble. How can we cultivate patience if we do not experience things that test our patience? How can we become courageous if there are no dangers to be confronted? How can we be compassionate if no one is in need of it? We need them to ensure our moral and spiritual growth. We are not here to party; that is the purpose of paradise. Suffering makes us human. Suffering and adversity have existed as long as human beings have. When we suffer we are connected to the common fate of the people who came before us and the people who will come after us. Calamities and misfortunes alert us to the realities of the life of this world and awaken us from our neglectful state. Suffering is only as bad as we make it. If we believe we are entitled to a life of comfort, then a life that consists of suffering is simply unfair, and who likes an unfair world? But if we believe that life is about growth and that growth entails a degree of pain and suffering, then there is nothing unfair about it. Suffering is what it is and what we make of it. Not pleasant, but generally not unbearable or unacceptable.

  6. I’m considering stopping current DMD and adopting the OMS protocol. I’ve been on gilenya for around 18 months, liver is now high, ive gained a lot off weight since commencing (18kg), have chronic sinus problems and just feel a bit meh all the time. The side effects of the meds are taking their toll on me and I’m particularly concerned with what they are doing to my body. All of the side effects are from the meds as i never had these issues before starting. I was diagnosed with MS in march 2016 and the neuro gave me two options for DMD. I started gilenya in July that year. I can work out now when i had relapses prior to diagnosis. These were generally mild and presented with some numbness. All relapses were from stressful events in my life at that time. My diagnosis relapse came about after i broke my leg, again triggered by numbness and a stressful event. When i look back i wouldn’t say the MS was particularly active however I’m no expert there. Can anyone share their experience of when they stopped taking meds and adopted the OMS way. How did you adjust, did you suffer a relapse when you stopped the meds, do you follow OMS to the book or do you allow some leeway. How long have you been following OMS?

    • Hi Chele, thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear that you have had problematic side effects from your medication. While stopping your DMD is a personal decision and one you should make in consultation with your doctor, we would recommend starting the OMS Recovery Program regardless of whether you are on a DMD or not. Kind regards, OMS team

  7. Muhawala, wow! Very well said. I never usually comment on this forum. I normally just gain inspiration from those on the same journey as I am. But you just blew me away. I do agree with you, I would not have known how resilient I am had MS rare it’s ugly head. Thanks for your deep insight. 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

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