Years ago I participated in a multiple sclerosis activity sponsored at the same physical therapy office I go to now. My main physical therapist started the program 17 years back and became the multiple sclerosis therapist of the office. I attended this program he started once and only once. Why? Every person in attendance was in a wheelchair. I was only 2-3 years into my disease and couldn’t face that, wouldn’t face that, so I never went back. Instead I played victim. I played victim to every MS attack that happened. Victim to every time I had to do an infusion of steroids. Victim to MS every time something else was physically taken away. I wish I could go back and change that but hindsight is 20/20, right?
It isn’t the diagnosis that I’d change because in my belief system if I didn’t have it, someone else would. I’d change how I dealt with the diagnosis for most of my life. I’d like to change what I did for myself. The truth is besides some new medicines I knew were coming out here and there, I basically buried my head in the sand, pretending it wasn’t there. I used it as a crutch when something was difficult or I just didn’t want to do something. I played victim to all those relapses and steroids instead of taking charge. I’m not saying those relapses weren’t real, they were very real and debilitating. I’m saying my attitude and how I took care of my body would have changed.
I wish I changed my eating habits much earlier than I did. Yes, I gave birth to my daughter and I was 211 pounds. I now maintain around 150 pounds and have for many years. I’m not just talking about pounds, I’m talking about clean eating, less processed foods, a more vegan diet. I wish I paid more attention to the junk that I was putting in my mouth. The fake sugars, the real sugars, the ingredients you can’t pronounce let alone spell. My sister was a vegetarian before vegetarian was trend, I use to make fun of her. I wish I got on board way back then. Ironically for a bit I did see a MS nutritionist who followed the MS Roy Swank diet, very similar to clean eating, I just wasn’t mentally there to understand and accept it.
My body, your body, is a temple and when you live with MS or any other chronic condition, you have to be proactive and take care of that temple, not bury your head in the sand. I couldn’t really face my disease for a very long time, so I ignored it. The right choice would have been to understand it. That physical therapy class so long ago, I could have seen what may happen and instead of running away, ask how to strengthen my body to help. It’s going on 20 years I have MS. I am still on my feet and I am so grateful. My advice to anyone new. Don’t run away, learn everything, ask questions, don’t be scared, and always take care of yourself.