Glad to see you back, and in such fine fettle too I know your awful brain tumor muddied the MS waters somewhat, and I imagine anyone would feel better once that was removed, especially given the headaches from it that plagued you
However, as you said, brain tumors are one thing and MS is another. So I want to get clear on your conclusions: You believe that meditation, diet and exercise are consistently making you feel much better than you previously did with MS, and your MRIs are demonstrating why, with not only no new lesions, but clear shrinkage of old ones on two recent MRIs. That is so wonderful!
The plan you are following is by Dr. Jelinek, of whom I've heard, but don't know much about. Personally I'm big on hard-core evidence, so does Jelinek offer any in his book or books? Do you know of other people with outcomes similar to yours? Does Jelinek explain why his approach works?
I'm sure you investigated all this thoroughly beforehand, being the bright guy that you are. So if you could explain just a little of this it would be most helpful. Otherwise I may have to break down and read the book(s) myself!
So good to see you.
Thanks for your warm comments. Glad to see a familiar name on the boards. It has been a wild ride the last few years and but I think my faith, family, and supports systems like the gang here really helped me get through.
It’s funny Ess, I think we may both be analytical people – I can’t believe unless I see the data or experience it myself either. I know faith is a separate topic but no one was more surprised to find that God was real on a golf course of all places than me. Anyway, back in 2011 it took me three times to see the lifestyle change for treating MS as being worthwhile over some pretty wacky alternatives.
When I finally came across Prof Jelinek’s book I read it in a night! It is an ‘evidenced based guide’ which is why I couldn’t put it down. He is a medical professor specialising in research who was diagnosed at the same age as me. He really stirred things up by taking a new look at the research including why Swank and the 144 patients studied over 34 years was proved invalid.
Prof J then conducted his own research following 109 patients over five years and found a 22% improvement which has never been shown in any studies before. Then, people like me said to him so where are all these so called well people. He responded by publishing a collection of stories of 12 patients who had recovered and explained that people who have overcome the disease don’t frequent the boards anymore as they don’t need to anymore. I have discovered this to be true from personal experience.
I know of several people who started around the same time as me on the boards who now report similar recovery. Yes, it has my doctor rather intrigued now the ‘evidence’ of a real person is before him.
Tonight Prof Jelinek is having his world-wide movie premiere that details the mind-body connection as a path to wellness. For me, meditation, counselling have been equally important as the diet and exercise. You see I discovered that I have been holding on to all sorts of painful things in my past. I discovered why I was dis-eased.
Ess, it is so hard to believe in anything when there are so many charlatans and snake oil salesman out there. Prof J is definitely not in this for the money with his offer of free books to anyone newly diagnosed over here. I’ve met him and can’t speak more highly of him.
So, the hard thing about the program is staying the course for the three to five years. Wellness happens gradually, kind of like two steps forward, one step back. It makes no sense to most people – doctors, MS Society, most MS patients- but then the science proves it so in the absence of wellness so you just gotta have a little faith.
Thanks, Alex, for this explanation. You're right, I'm a very analytical person by nature. That helped me qualify for my job in information tech at a heavily research-oriented university, and being surrounded by all those brainiac professors and scientific researchers sealed the deal, I guess.
I'm also a great believer in the mind-body connection, because it's, well, logical. Our eyes see something incredibly ghastly, our brains interpret what that is, and our stomachs revolt. Or, to use a much less gruesome example, we read a scary story and get goose bumps. And on and on. So we have clear evidence of this every day.
I also believe that our pasts and our memories are affecting what goes on with us both mentally and physically in the present. The human brain is a wondrous thing, making connections, understanding ironies, restoring the words of a song or the smell of the middle-school hallway, all at lightning speed. I don't believe any artificial intelligence invention, no matter how sophisticated, will ever begin to approach the capacity of our brains, in many areas.
The brain understands the body very well, but in ways we are not conscious of, and perhaps that part evolved because to be aware of everything in our bodies might be overwhelming. In any case, body and brain are part and parcel of the same thing. It has been demonstrated, for instance, that mood disorders, which are mental illnesses, result from imbalances in brain chemistry. That's why anti-depressants are effective for so many--they restore the proper balance.
Well, I'm wandering off-topic here, but on purpose, because I wanted to reiterate how firmly I am in the camp of the mind-body connection. It does seem reasonable that there's an element of this interaction in MS. The question is what, and how. I wish Dr. Jelinek had followed up on all 109 patients further than five years, and had reported all outcomes. It's great that he has written about 12 success stories, but I want to know about the others too.
It's true and I have often commented that MS and other health-related internet boards are generally frequented by the frustrated and/or exasperated. That's how I got to MH :-) There are many exceptions, of course, but I think it's only human nature that when things are straightforward and the patient's relationship with the medical community is going well, there is much less need to seek web interaction. But Dr. J no doubt could locate and report on a great many more of the original cohort than he has done, and I wish he would..
Nonetheless, while remaining a skeptic about his work, I have found his book on Amazon and will be ordering it. Should be a good read. I'll try to keep an open mind.
Thank you, Alex.
You're a very wise woman Ess and I love your open, enquiring mind. This may be a bit indulgent but I thought I'd share my diary thoughts about the mind body journey from 16 mths ago. It's easy to believe the program works when you feel good but you need faith to trust in the research for the bad days and looking back I certainly had more than my far share of those.
ENJOYING TODAY May 2013
'Today I have enjoyed the most beautiful autumn day. The sky is a georgous deep blue colour with just a wisp of thin white cloud to frame it. The temperature is a slightly cool 18 degrees in the shade but feels more like 22 when lying in a sheltered position in the sun.
I walked to my secluded meditation spot today with a skip in my step at the combination of beautiful external conditions, listening to classical music, and the realisation that I feel at peace with things. My MS symptoms feel very light today which is a bonus. I hope this time I will finally wake up to myself and stop worrying every time my symptoms change - which can be daily, and hourly.
I was going to be 100% cured by crikey when I first started the program. I was going to be a success! Well, as I have discovered I am already a success and it doesn't matter that at times I may feel a bit tired, or my neck twinges with electricity, or my legs feel like lead etc These funny sensations do not mean the program is not working, they only serve to confirm that I do indeed have MS but as long as I choose the OMS then I need not worry about the future.
Overcoming MS starts in the mind. I don't know how many times I have wept at some failing body part not performing the way it used to and then I start imagining a rapid descent into a miserable future. Of course I end up feeling worse for dwelling on this than the actual symptom. So I am learning that my despair is not only unhelpful but also inaccurate given my circumstances.
Now my male MS friend, who is in an electric wheelchair, in supported accommodation I imagined would be in despair at his condition. But to my surprise he is not. As he says 'I just accept it and make the most of what I can do. What choice do I have.' Each time I visit I come away with a tear in my eye at his strength. So putting my situation in perspective is easy - I'm so far away from despair it isn't funny.
Seeing a positive outcome for our health is hardest when these little MS hiccups strike. I do believe the the trick to cope is seeing the bigger picture. Until I reach that magic five year mark it is impossible to say whether for me the OMS categorically works or not so I have found that I need to continually remined myself of the overwhelming proof of my living breathing MS colleagues for whom good health has been documented in studies. Yes, I believe that I haven't progressed after 20 months. Yes, some symptoms have gone, and yes, I have MS and still feel crappy at times. We are overcoming MS, no one is saying cure and that's important in terms of expectations. I truly hope and pray that all my symptoms eventually disappear like the symptoms of so many other people's, but if it doesn't happen then so be it. I am so lucky that I have found a natural program without side effects. It gives me enormous comfort knowing that I will be okay as long as I continue to follow it. The odd bad day or period happens to the rest of the population anyway.
Meditation has helped me form a much better picture of myself. Counselling has also helped. Overcoming MS for me has shifted down a gear to take on a much slower pace recognising that I need to simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the here and now. During the down days, in the absence of wellness, I choose to simply have faith that the evidence points to tomorrow being better and push on regardless.'
And today Sept 2014, the pushing is over. I still have MS it's just I feel sick or suffer like I used to. I'll still come back in five years as promised to offer my final verdict at which time I'm hopeful that even my sensory symptoms will have departed also.
Glad you are doing so well.
Glad u r doing so well Alex! Keep up the good work,
Are we all to stop our treatments and overcome MS and abide by Professor Jelink's or Dr. Terry Wahls books and do meditation, diet and exercise? Is this the cure for MS?
My boyfriend bought me the book of the "Wahls Protocol" and how she beat progressive MS using Paleo Principles and functional medicine. I wonder if she was misdiagnosed. These people do make money don't they if they sell their books? :)
I'm happy that you're doing so well, I really am and I do believe an overall healthy diet, exercise and taking care of your mind truly aids in your overall well being, but I too, am skeptical.
I lost interest when he conducted his own study. Studies should be done by very strict rules. While I, like ess, am thrilled that you have found success, I don't see the MS society jumping on this particular bandwagon.
Hi :D it's so so great to hear how well your doing, go ozzie go!
I've mentioned to you before, that i am a BIG believer in the feel good or bad properties of the foods we eat. It's not hard for me to understand how much improved your feeling in so many ways, because of your dietary changes, lol i only need to look at my son to believe there is something to special diets.
But here's the thing that mucks up the simplicity of dietary cures for neurological conditions, for me to believe that my son was basically cured (?) because of him being on a tailored diet for the last decade plus years [dx at 3 with ASD - Asperger's] and he definitely doesn't meet the diagnostic criteria, behaviourally, socially, psychologically etc of that dx any more..........I would have to dismiss all the 'other' things, that could be contributing factors to explain the why's of it, and that simply doesn't make sense to me!
I have zero doubts that what people eat and drink effects the brain, though even with my son's in my face anecdotal story, i honestly and respectfully don't or can't believe that a specific diet in isolation, is going to be the cure of MS or any other neurological (developmental or acquired) condition. To believe otherwise, I'd have to forget about the research and anecdotal history of the condition it's self, brain plasticity, placebo effect, potential for misdx etc etc etc whilst forgetting about the positive psychological associations to faith, acceptance, optimism, hope, happiness etc etc
I've had my fare share of lectures from people, other parents, even doctors over the years, mistakenly assuming that it somehow automatically means i believe that diet is 'the cure' for what every, oh and a tree hugging western medicine hating conspiracy theorist ROFL Soooooo not me its hilarious, but common assumptions that really put me off even mentioning looking into the benefits of dietary changes. lol Mention diet and its accepted your either a sceptic or a die hard believer, and when you don't fit either camp both sides can get into lecture mode, yeah it can get old pretty quickly :D
I don't think I would ever discourage anyone from trying the diets out but realistically they are not easy to stick too, they take a lot of dedication and perseverance, as well as a strong belief that the effort will be worth it. I definitely couldn't ever encourage people to stop their prescribed treatments and take up one of the diets instead. What i actually support is for people to not to get into a situation of either or........why not do both, do everything you can, do what ever works for you, and does you no short term or long term harm, do what ever (within reason) makes you feel good, happier and or empowered!
I am happy for you! :D
hey Alex, It really is good to see you here. It has been a while and I was wondering about you the other day.
One thing that hasn't changed for me is my feelings about studies, trials and all that other stuff others have already written about so I won't rehash those points. People with MS appear to get 'better' for a lot of different reasons but we know the disease is still present. Do you remember Quix's healthpage on disappearing lesions? in particular -
'This remyelination is why people with classic, milder RRMS can have a relapse and then apparently return completely to normal during their remissions. Even people with more severe disease still have some lesions that disappear. So disappearing lesions are quite normal in MS. Lesions come and lesions go - but mostly they come'
You can read this health page at
You are in an area of the world that is just now developing a better sense of MS, recognition and treatment of the disease, so i'm glad your neuro has a chance to track all of this change. It's a good lesson for them to learn that people with MSwho are not on DMDs do get better sometimes. The body is miraculous as to how it can cure itself sometimes.
Regardless of all this, I am ecstatic you are feeling good, no matter what the cause. The connection of diet, exercise activity, miindfulness and your sense of spirituality have all contributed to putting you in a very good emotional place and that is great to read.
I'll be looking for you in another couple years - but feel free to check in before then.
lots of hugsto you and my best to your wife and the family.
Thanks to all for your comments. It's great to see you again the other Alex, Michelle.
Lisa I really pray you can get a dx at last. Whatever you do do not go off your meds! I only went off mine because I was having allergic reaction.
To my dear Aussie Aussie Aussie gal pal it's really great to see you and thank you for your perspective. Yes I quite agree that diet alone just doesn't work. I think getting in touch with our spiritual side and releasing past hurts is the best medicine.
And dear Lulu I really admire your dedication to keep doing what you're doing.
I guess we'll never know what fixed me wether combination of diet,exercise,meditation, God, or surgery for brain tumour. I guess it really it doesn't matter only that I am there for my family and can do all the things I used to.
What I've learnt out of all this is live in the moment, one day at a time. I believe we were each created for a special purpose and now I get the opportunity to discover mine. I've made so many mistakes in my past and have finally come to terms with them and released all that was bottled up inside. I choose peace, love, joy whenever possible, and having a bloody good cry is amazingly cathartic too.
With 2 spinal lesions, 3 brain lesions, positive oligoclonal bands and 3 separate neuro dx of MS I feel confident I'm not deceiving anyone, least myself. Most doctors think Meningioma is a joke. All I can report is gradually losing symptoms of MS hug, L'Hermittes, cognitive, fatigue, and limping often over 18mths then descending into new symptoms of headache, cog fog and fatigue. This all lifted straight after surgery and then the magic happened by Christmas when the numbness and tingling rolled back down to where it first began and I felt healed.
I feel healed whatever the cause.
Anyway, I'm tearing up my membership to both OMS and Medhelp for ever but will report in one final time in five years. I will let you know if I suddenly relapse because I will definitely need your comforting words again. Anyway, I wish everyone stability of disease and great fellowship supporting each other through thick and thin.
It's great to see you & I'm so pleased to hear of your progress. I am now just starting to get some assistance with preparing some meals & I am looking at trying for a much healthier diet. It's been hard when you can't cook for yourself & you tend to rely on a lot of packaged stuff.
I may just have to look into reading Prof Jelinek's book & see if it's doable for moi. I'm always interested in hearing what other fellow MSers have to say & I am truly happy to hear of your wonderful outcome. Enjoy your family & what life has to offer.