I received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2006. At that time I knew nothing about MS and thought I was going to die very soon as I imagined the disease was terminal. My children were in 1st and 2nd grade. I would lie in bed with them at night thinking that I wouldn't live to see their high school graduation. Forget about seeing them get married and have children of their own.
Thankfully, my husband quickly let me know that the majority of people with MS do not die a premature death. Still, the diagnosis was absolutely shocking. All I could picture was the worst, that in a short amount of time I would be an invalid. I was not happy about that picture.
Now, I'm doing better. Here are the steps I took when I received an MS diagnosis. Most of these are free, and will cost you nothing financially.
Sleep is a priority for healing any health issue and especially for severe neurological conditions. I get 8 hours of sleep per night minimum, and more on weekends. Sleep is free. If you have trouble sleeping see my Natural Sleep Remedies post for information on supplements that support getting a better night of sleep.
I follow a diet that is 100% gluten and grain free, without exception, and find this very helpful. Studies show that gluten can be detrimental to those suffering from leaky gut, and that leaky gut may lead to and exacerbate autoimmune illnesses, so removing gluten from your diet may be an effective strategy for dealing with multiple sclerosis.1
Don't worry if you need recipes, I've got you covered! See my gluten-free recipes, and grain-free recipes. By the way, every recipe here on my website is both gluten and grain-free. You may also want to check out my keto diet recipes, as low-carb high-fat diets, or LCHF diets, have been shown to reduce inflammation.2
Staying fit is an important part of maintaining, or regaining health. Exercise is another treatment for MS that is free. I walk 60 minutes every day, rain or shine. See my post about walking to find out how I built up my stamina to get to that 60 minute mark. Walking lifts my spirits and gives me a nice boost of endorphins.
I do yoga, pilates, or weight lifting 3 times per week, and have found that stretching and resistance training has helped me to maintain strength, coordination, and balance. If you need inspiration, there are numerous videos available online for free, or, like me, you can make up your own routine.
Another part of my healing (also free) is to keep interactions as brief as possible with people, places and things that do not impact me in a positive manner. This can be challenging, yet it has the biggest payoff. MS is a disease of the nervous system, so reducing stress is critical in healing.
I designed this MS healing plan myself and chose action items that I felt would give me a very high ROI (return on investment). However, many of the above commitments were radical shifts to my life paradigm, I did not always embrace this change, nor was it easy for me.
As I learned through this process, rebuilding one's health is one of the greatest challenges life presents. If you make such a choice, be forewarned that it could be very unpleasant and that you may find yourself resisting the very change you seek. This is because rebuilding health means interrupting old habits and patterns. You may not want to make the necessary commitments to, and sacrifices for, your health. For example, you might have to give up watching TV everyday in order to walk for an hour. Or, people might be angry with you for protecting your time and setting limits that serve you, not them. These types of challenges await you, along with healing.
Finally, to create the above treatment plan for my MS, I had to slow down enough to listen to myself, to my body, and my emotions. I had to figure out what I really wanted, what really served me. Even though the process was unpleasant at times, I reconnected with myself and got to know myself better which became a blessing. Am I done? Not even close. The point of my healing plan is not the plan itself, it is undertaking the process of healing, which for me is the process of listening. This is something I practice every day.
For additional resources on how to deal with an MS diagnosis see: