What is life like with Multiple Sclerosis

One of the main areas of lifestyle which can help overcome MS, is diet. A great deal is written on this subject and many books advocate the exclusion of all red meat and gluten. Gluten includes all flour based foods such as pasta, bread and pastry to name but a few.

I, personally, have not been following this regime, although my mother has for many years. I cannot see it making a difference to her and I am more than a little partial to a nice fillet steak. To my mind living with multiple sclerosis should not mean denying yourself what pleasures you can still enjoy. However with the onset of IBS-like symptoms I am being forced to reconsider my position. I am avoiding milk, but not all dairy, and after my next consultation with my gastroenterologist, I may need to give up the gluten as well.

That said, I do maintain, or think I do, a healthy balanced diet. Always fresh produce and NOT processed foods of any kind. OK! so we do have tins of baked beans in the larder, but that’s it.

smoking
Rolling a Cigarette

Should you stop smoking? Yes, probably, but I shall use a quote from a specialist I have consulted: “I can give you a hundred good reasons to stop smoking, but multiple sclerosis is not one of them.”. This is bound to be controversial and I am sure to get angry emails in response. Smoking IS bad for you and every smoker should stop. I was a smoker and it was only a few months ago that I decided to stop. It wasn’t the MS that prompted me to quit, but I do feel better since I took the plunge.

I have stopped off and on. However I recently resumed smoking and that is the worst action I have taken. It makes me dizzy, impairs my mobility more than it aleady is and exacerbates the abdominal pain I have. AND I STILL do it! I must be mad.

drinking
Red Wine

Should you stop drinking? No, but you should certainly moderate it. I cannot be sure, but I think that too regular drinking was a factor in bringing on my latest MS relapse. It wasn’t the only factor, as I also believe that periods of strenuous physical work had a bearing on the situation also. However, I do enjoy an occasional drink and I do find that a small nightcap helps ease many of the aches and pains that you can get from multiple sclerosis. One of my main multiple sclerosis symptoms is loss of balance and unsteadiness of gait and ironically two or three beers of a Saturday evening appears to help even this.

I have since all but stopped drinking beer. I permit myself the occasional glass of cider and/or a glass or two of red wine. I have not drunk spirits of any kind for very many years.

Does cannabis help? I have heard many reports that commend the benefits of cannabis, marijuana, hemp, hash, ganja whatever you care to call it, but I do not necessarily concur. Having been a fairly regular spliff smoker in my earlier years, you might expect the onset of multiple sclerosis to have been delayed or prevented, but no, this is not the case. Smoking tobacco is not good, so a cannabis spliff is unlikely to be beneficial. Of course there are other means of cannabis intake, the most interesting I heard recently was from an older gentleman who marinates his in whisky and has a tot every evening. I haven’t tried this yet, although it does sound appealing. I am also told that cannabis cake or cannabis biscuits are very good. However as cannabis is still illegal in the UK I/we cannot openly condone it in public!

My Opinion

I don’t know why I should offer my opinion, nobody will heed it; I seldom do.

Stop smoking; this is a definite. Restrict drinking of alcohol stringently. Look very closely at your diet; the standard 5 a day guideline should be strongly considered.

I know I say I ignore my own advice but I don’t really. I don’t smoke tobacco, I very rarely drink beer and I eat lots of fruit and vegetables every day.

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