Living With MS

Updated February 15, 2006

We are all individuals and the way that we deal with our Multiple Sclerosis differs from person to person. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the diagnosis of a chronic disease.

It is very possible that you will experience a sense of loss after learning of your MS diagnosis. In fact, it is not unusual to go through a mourning period. Grieving over the person we "might have been" is part of the process of learning to accept our Multiple Sclerosis. I am learning to live with my MS and my changing limitations everyday. Each day holds a lesson in learning to accept myself.

Ira Lipsky, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, states, "The nature of chronic illness requires a change to life-long planning. Each person adjusts to a diagnosis of MS in unique ways. Adjustment isn't a linear movement through distinct stages. It's a slippery, spiraling process full of highs and lows, that continues throughout a person's life. It involves asking difficult questions of oneself, and acknowledging that no one has MS alone."

I would like to share with you some of the things that seem to be working for me. If you have any questions about what I mention here, and whether or not it would help you, please talk with your doctor or neurologist. It is important to remember, what works for one person may not work, or be appropriate, or another.



Nutrition

Eating a well-balanced low-fat diet is healthy for everyone but is most important for those of us with a chronic disease.

Some of you may be interested in trying the Swank Diet. You can purchase The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book by Dr. Roy Laver Swank at your local bookstore. If they don't carry it, you can have them order it for you. You can also order it on-line through Amazon.com.

Another approach to healthy eating is to follow the American Heart Association's Diet or the Diabetic Diet.



Books Suggested by Visitors to this Site

BOOKS
I have not read the following books (yet):


Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill by Udo Erasmus

Real Hope and Real Help For Those Who Have Multiple Sclerosis by John Pegeler

My Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis by Roger MacDougall





book-globe
BROWSE
WENDY'S
BOOKSHELF
Amazon.com




Nutritional Supplements

The following is a list of the supplements I take every day. I am not promoting them as a cure but I have found that they help me feel my best. Where appropriate, I will supply a hyperlink to other sites on the Internet where you can learn more about them.

  • A complete multivitamin/multimineral tablet
  • A magnesium/calcium/zinc tablet
  • 400 IU of Vitamin E
  • 1000 mcg of Vitamin B-12 (promotes healthy nerves)
  • 500 mg of Bilberry extract (believed to help strengthen the blood brain barrier)


Medications

There are a number of medications that your doctor/neurologist can prescribe to help relieve many of the symptoms experienced with Multiple Sclerosis. You can access a site with many of them listed here.

The only medication I have taken specifically for MS is Betaseron. I took Betaseron from July 1996 to 2005.

I take Prozac, 20 mg. twice a day, for depression. I was diagnosed with chronic clinical depression at age 19 while attending college. After being on and off a number of antidepressants over the years, my physician decided to try Prozac in 1993. I have been taking it, with no problems, ever since.

Betaseron is one of three medications currently approved by the FDA for slowing the course of Multiple Sclerosis. The other two medications available are Avonex and Copaxone.



Exercise

Exercise is good for everyone, even those of us with MS. Before undertaking any sort of an exercise program, please consult with your doctor or neurologist.

One of my goals as a person with MS, is to maintain as much of my mobility as possible. With this in mind, I have sought forms of exercise which won't increase my body temperature. Heat, both internal and external, can aggravate MS symptoms.

Walking is good exercise. I try to walk everyday. Even if my legs will only carry me to the end of the block and back -- that is what I do that day.

You may want to try Tai Chi. Don't let the gentle slowness of this exercise form fool you. You will find many muscles you didn't know you had!

Another eastern practice, Yoga is also helpful. It is a good way to relax and maintain flexibility.

A visitor to this site reminded me that swimming, or water aerobics, is very good exercise and won't increase body temperature. This is true, but since I'm not a big fan of swimming pools (swimming suits, actually), I'd forgotten to list it.


Copyright 1997-2006 Wendy S. Hay, all rights reserved.