A year ago, I met with a neurologist who told me I was going to relapse. It was only a matter of when. This was less than a month after being told that it was evident I had MS. My symptoms hadn’t improved since then so how could I relapse from something I hadn’t even recovered from? But what do I know? He’s the expert, I’m not. So I left the neurologist not knowing when I was going to get back to normal and even at that chances are this is going to happen to me again. Only thing is the next time the recovery wouldn’t be as complete. Each relapse is meant to chip away at you so even once you feel like you’ve recovered the everlasting damage is already there. This is something I found very hard to accept. This is something I still find very hard to accept. This is something I won’t accept. These were the terms of MS, not my terms.
I may appear to be in denial saying I won’t accept what an expert tells me is my fate. But as I have discovered MS is too complex to predict and abide by rules. Each case is unique (MS Snowflakes). I very nearly accepted my fate. I knew no different so what was there to question? Michelle booked me in with a nutritionist and bought a book online by Australian Professor George Jelinek called Overcoming MS. I didn’t think MS could be overcome. I thought Jelinek was just a pure optimist trying to make a few quid. Once I read his story though I knew he was onto something. His mother had died because of MS and then he was diagnosed. Clearly a learned man, he done extensive research altering his diet and upping his exercise levels. He has been relapse free since 1999. This really gave me hope.
I can’t say I’ve read Jelinek’s book thoroughly back to front. A lot of it can be quite in depth and I don’t claim to have the knowledge to understand what he’s talking about some of the time. The basics though are simple; Eat as natural food as possible (if food can go bad it’s likely to be good for you, if it doesn’t then it’s probably bad) and exercise regularly exerting proper bursts of energy. These are very natural ways to look after ourselves regardless of whether or not someone has a continuous illness. I’m currently trying to stick to a routine of preparing my own food for the day and exercising at a pace that suits me. In addition I take the drugs and vitamins prescribed to me. These are my terms and between these terms and the terms of MS we’re going to meet somewhere in the middle.
The Tale of the Three Brothers is a story within the Harry Potter World. Three brothers cheat Death using magic and as a result Death grants each brother a gift. The first brother requests a wand more powerful than any in existence; the Elder Wand. After killing an enemy, the first brother is murdered in his sleep and the wand stolen from him. I see Death as MS and Copaxone (my medication taking 3 times weekly by injecting) as the Elder Wand. A powerful asset but not reliable enough to hide me from MS forever. The second brother is given a resurrection stone to recall loved ones back from the dead. Although, to his devastation, they do not belong to the mortal world and he kills himself to be with them. The resurrection stone to me is exercising. Although extremely rewarding, it’s not something I will be able to rely on for my whole life. There will be times when it may not be an option for me as can happen to most people. There are many people who exercise regularly yet MS still creeps up on them.
The third brother asked for a cloak of invisibility to allow him to hide from Death. For me this represents good nutrition i.e. eating healthy. Exercising and prescription drugs are definitely beneficial but I can’t depend on them to be there in the long-run in the same way I can depend on my diet. Not that I eat extremely healthy day in day out (moderation) but it’s something I’m always going to be mindful of. These are the terms I am willing to agree with MS: “I will maintain a healthy lifestyle; taking the prescribed medication, exercising regularly to the best of my capability and sticking to a diet that I feel is good for me. And in return we will meet one day in the same manner Death meets the third brother.”
Though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. It was only when he attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, as equals.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
George Jelinek’s response to this blog 👍🏻