It’s World MS Day, and a year since I last wrote about this day – how time flies! Much has changed since then, the most important to me personally being I feel much better today than this time last year! Whilst it’s never a good time to be diagnosed with a (currently) incurable potentially devastating condition, there is so much research in progress, new discoveries being made and new treatments coming onto the market, it’s definitely a better time than ever before. There is hope that a cure could be found – and hope is a marvellous thing!
Not all the research going on is medication or treatment based, there’s also various projects looking at diet and lifestyle. Evidence-based research correlates activities and their effects on the body; the higher the number of people studied, the stronger the evidence of effect. In the past, doctors have declared that diet makes no difference to the progression of MS; now the evidence is in place to show it does have an impact. The same for vitamin D, exercise and stress reduction.
All these elements are brought together in the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis programme, an evidence-based diet and life-style programme that is beginning to gain recognition for the positive effect it can have for people with MS. They can be undertaken alongside medications and other treatments, or act as a stand alone programme.
My MS is the relapsing kind, and fortunately I have been on the upward trajectory recently rather than the downward, despite two heavy bouts of flu (touch wood I’m not jinxing myself!). I’m sure there’s lots of things that have contributed to that, not least the fact that I have allowed myself time to heal and apply all the steps in the OMS programme. I am well aware it’s not a cure – as I sit here and type my left hand feels like it’s wrapped in bubblewrap, my little finger just won’t hit the keys properly and my left foot has somehow got filled with concrete, so there’s still little reminders that come and go! But it does give my body a fighting chance, calming down all the things that contribute to inflammation, the same inflammation that likes to nibble at my nerves and destroy the protective myelin sheath.
I love the OMS programme so much I have become an OMS Ambassador for my local area – Sussex, in the south of England. I run the OMS circle, a group for anyone trying out or following the programme. It’s a supportive network, much needed as the changes can be hard for anyone not used to eating a whole-food plant-based diet or taking time out to meditate or practice mindfulness. On World MS Day, this is my plug for the programme! If you would like to find out where your nearest circle is, you can check it out on the OMS website here. If you don’t have one in your area, or are new to the programme, you can also find out about the OMS book (recently available in German and Bulgarian!) or join the on-line OMS community.
Enjoy the rest of your day!