Roger McDougall said that statement about staying within his restrictive diet. It’s a simple thought, but has kept me from indulging several times in breads, ice cream, chocolates (basically eating my Ninja Turtle diet). And it also helps get me to the gym every morning.
MS made me realize that my health is not guaranteed and I have to take control. Sometimes it’s hard work, sometimes it’s just annoying – I hate being the person who “can’t eat that.” And I definitely hate getting up at 5am everyday to go to the gym. But I do it. I try to see past the instant gratification of eating some dessert or getting some extra sleep and look at the long term. I’m 29 – I (hopefully) have several more years to go on this earth and I want to spend them mobile.
I respect the decision of MS patients who completely rely on medicine and are waiting for a medical cure – but I don’t understand it. How could you inject yourself with serious (somewhat dangerous) drugs nearly every day of the week, but not consider changing your diet or exercising (within your range of mobility). I’ve read so many forum entries where people remark that the meds have stopped working and they’re going to try and switch to a different one. Or that they’ve tried all the meds and their doctors have told them “that’s it” and it’s all downhill now.
At my previous job, I worked with a woman named Amy. She is 37 now, was misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 23 – at 29 her doctors confirmed it was MS. She takes Rebif, but still has relapses. She smokes – she jokes that her breakfast is a “coke and a smoke.”
When I was diagnosed she was a huge advocate for the ABC drugs and was quick to tell me I needed to start taking one of them. Needless to say, she was pretty taken aback when I told her the route that I was going. She would ask how I was doing and then make comments about how she loved gluten and she could never cut out dairy and she hates exercising… at the end of September 2010 she had a really bad relapse and had to quit working. We sent a few emails back and forth, but I haven’t heard from her since Christmas.
My mom also works with a woman who has MS. She is in her mid 30s and is wheelchair bound. She said the injections have stopped working for her and she might start Tysabri. She said she could never change her diet (even at the suggestion of her doctor) and just loves food too much.
Now, this entry might seem like I’m on a soapbox today and that I’m against medicine, but I’m really not. I just don’t understand how someone could not do everything possible to stay healthy.
I also don’t want to come off as insensitive. I truly feel for these women from the bottom of my heart and I respect that they’re living the way they want. But it does make me sad that they could be cheating themselves out of a better life. Maybe they don’t care, maybe they don’t believe changing their lifestyle could help, maybe they think medicine is the only cure, maybe they’ve just resided to the fact that “this is it” and are just trying to enjoy each day.
The only thing I can do is continue to share my successes, keep following the path I’ve chosen for myself and hopefully help others in the process.