by Carolyn Kaufman
Having a disease like MS can be really overwhelming. Between the large variety of potential symptoms and fear of what’s to come, MS creates a lot of stress and questions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have many answers.
Or does it?
When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea what I would do. I was 20 years old and already struggling with severe obesity. Losing weight seemed mysterious enough, I didn’t know how to even begin to deal with a complicated illness like MS.
My disease progressed pretty rapidly and I was experiencing relapses that would last 3-9 months every year to two years. My doctors told me this was normal, but my mind told me otherwise.
Five years post diagnosis, I collapsed and lost the ability to use my entire right side for about 4 months. I could barely walk, use my dominant hand, or feel sensation on my skin. For the second time, I was forced on disability before my 25th birthday. I felt completely lost.
During those four months where I could barely do anything, I decided to immerse myself in holistic study. I believe that Western medicine has a lot to offer, but it wasn’t helping me, and I couldn’t wait for anyone else to fix me anymore.
I discovered that MS (and all autoimmune diseases along with many other health conditions in general) is a result of too much inflammation. Inflammation manifests through symptoms and occurs in the body because of poor nutrition, lack of movement, chemicals, and stress.
It dawned on me that if I could reduce the triggers for inflammation, I could also probably reduce my symptoms. It was worth a shot, so I went for it.
I researched anti inflammatory foods and herbs, supplements, all natural and organic skincare products, and different ways to manage stress. Once I understood what I needed to do, I made an action plan to get started.
I began with diet and herbs and replaced my main beauty products immediately. Toothpaste, soap, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. I didn’t need much more since I was barely leaving the house.
Within a week, I could feel my energy growing.
Within a few weeks, I could get myself to the gym.
Exercise started slow and small, getting on the stationary bike for just 15 minutes at a time. I knew that any improvement was good improvement and I focused on giving myself credit whenever possible.
Meditation, connecting with nature, gratitude, mindfulness and journaling became games that I could play to strengthen my brain. It became easier to react to stress when it occured and over a few months, I could tell how much stronger my body, mind, and soul were.
It has now been over 4 years since I collapsed and I’ve worked tirelessly to reduce or eliminate as much inflammation as possible. Through the process, I’ve been able to eradicate the daily symptoms of my illness and lose over 145 lbs.
There is an immense gratitude that I feel for that flare up that led me to find my path to healing and I understand how simple it can be.
If you’re just beginning, start slow. Get rid of processed foods that are filled with chemicals and buy organic whenever possible. Be aware of what you’re taking into your body because, if the body doesn’t understand how to process it, it will create inflammation and spark an immune response.
MS is a difficult challenge to overcome, but there is opportunity to find relief.
Believe in that, and you’re on your way.
Carolyn Kaufman is a Health Coach in the Boston area and uses her personal story of losing over 145 lbs with Multiple Sclerosis to show people how to heal by shifting your mindset. For any questions or to sign up for her newsletter, contact her at www.WithoutTheWeight.com.