“They” say that you are considered newly diagnosed for the first 2 1/2 to 3 years after your Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. It seems like only yesterday that I posted my “Year One” article. It seems like only yesterday that I was diagnosed! Somehow, enough time has passed that I find myself at a point where I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis for four years.
Why is it unusual for us to talk about Multiple Sclerosis and weight? They both affect us so much and they do affect each other. But we often avoid acknowledging them together. Multiple Sclerosis itself isn’t the only part of having MS that affects our weight – all those drugs that we take for this that and the other play a large part in and of themselves. Between fast food, soda, genetically modified fruits and vegetables, and meat that has been filled with hormones and antibiotics, it’s a wonder we live long enough to even take the medications which alter our bodies on top of everything else. Not surprising that so many of us believe that diet and exercise play a large part in our disease course.
Information is developed and spread so quickly now. When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago, patients were advised to avoid exercise as it could bring on worsened symptoms or new attacks. Now we know that this is mostly a fallacy. An active lifestyle for a person with MS means lessened disease activity in the long term and improved fatigue, strength, flexibility, mobility, cardiovascular fitness, bladder function, and bowel function. Those are some very attractive incentives!
Has our faith in Western medicine completely faded? Although one would hope that treatments for Multiple Sclerosis are ever-improving, lately I have heard time and again that individuals with the disease have abandoned Western medicine altogether in favor of diet, exercise, and marijuana. One recent supplement fad for MS is Evening Primrose oil. I have personally chosen Gilenya for the time being, but I see no point in excluding natural and healthy treatments that apparently work so well for others. Cannabis use with MS has already been covered recently. While I intend to cover the evolving family of alternative therapies in future posts, right now we will focus how to treat Multiple Sclerosis with diet.
This week I am re-learning to ride my shiny new birthday bicycle 20+ years since I last had a bike and 3+ years after a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. You could say that I’ve grown a bit since I was 12. You could say I might’ve put on a lot of pounds. You could also say that according to the expertise of Wii Fit, the left side of my body compensates for the weakness on the right side of my body to the tune of 75%. You could say I have little to no balance.
My husband has been seriously biking for a few months and fell in love with it. Our city has a fantastic trail that follows an old train trail and connects to other towns. It’s well designed and mostly shaded. While the summer heat is likely to provide a wealth of challenges to me, I hope to learn to ride well enough to actually enjoy it when autumn arrives.