Thursday, 19 February 2015

Introducing "Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis" - the evidence-based recovery programme

The day I was discharged from hospital after my first MS episode in 2006, I started reading everything I could find on how to heal myself. I wasn't going to be oppressed by my neurologist's "doom and gloom", or by thoughts of my mother's fateful battle with MS. I chose not to see myself as having the same condition as the woman dying in a nursing home - I couldn't afford to think that way. So I started looking for advice that went beyond "you'd better make the most of it while you're not too disabled, because it's going to get a whole lot worse".

At first, I didn't find much.
No-one seemed to have any information about what I could do for myself on a daily basis to improve my odds. 
Then I was lucky to come across Ashton Embry's "Best Bet Diet", and a few years later, the "Wahls Protocol" by Dr Terry Wahls. Both of these dietary approaches referred to the published research at the time and aimed to slow the progression of MS, with some success. Both were devised by people with scientific or medical expertise beyond anything I could hope to achieve in this lifetime. Both helped me, just as they help thousands of others with MS, to limit the progression of symptoms - to a greater or lesser extent.

Then in 2014 I discovered Prof. George Jelinek's book Overcoming Multiple SclerosisJelinek is a highly esteemed medical doctor and editor of a major international medical journal. Since his own MS diagnosis he has applied his medical expertise to the business of analysing the published research in all areas of MS, and creating a unique "recovery programme" that includes diet, lifestyle, vitamin D supplementation, exercise, stress management and even emotional healing. He doesn't rule out disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) either, he just tells the truth about their limits. For Jelinek, dogma is nothing and results are everything, and he knows to overcome a systemic and drastic disease you may need to make systemic and drastic changes to the things that caused it in the first place. You need to do "whatever it takes", he says.
Reading the book for the first time, back in June 2014, I knew I had in my hands something with the potential not only to control but actually to reverse my symptoms. I was filled with confidence by Jelinek's thorough, evidence-based approach, and by the fact that it was a whole-life programme - more than just a diet. It sought to address all the factors that seem to create and sustain this illness and wasn't afraid even to talk about the mind-body connection that doesn't tend to show up too much in your average neurological consultation.

Prof George Jelinek: MD and MS Pioneer
It helped that, reading his words, I liked the guy too. Here is someone who grew up watching his mother succumb to this vicious condition that ultimately claimed her life prematurely. I could relate to that. And then when he suddenly, in the prime of his life, gets the same diagnosis, he doesn't collapse in self-pity - he rolls up his sleeves and says:
OK, this sucks but I'm going to whatever it takes to beat it. I'm going to use all my skills to do what mainstream medicine hasn't done yet: bring together ALL the existing knowledge about MS and work out how to recover from this thing before it progresses any further."

As he applied everything he learned to himself, his condition stabilised and then fully reversed. In 2010 he published his discoveries in book form, so that thousands of others could take control of their MS in the same way.
Over fifteen years after diagnosis, he is vibrant, healthy, symptom-free, and a walking, running example of what can be achieved with dedication and the right information.
I am so grateful that I found the book when I did, and grateful that after less than a year of attempting to implement all its recommendations, I am now one of those thousands of healthy people.

If you or someone you love has MS, or indeed any similar auto-immune condition, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A word of warning though: the programme is not for the faint-hearted. It demands radical change in many areas of your life. At least that's how it's been for me. But I've had such amazing results that I have to say it's been totally worth it. As an added bonus, it's led to my husband improving his health too. 
I've also met many other people who have reversed their symptoms, even people with primary progressive MS. So at the very least, it's worth a try, isn't it?