It’s been 10 years since I was first diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS, and I remember asking my doctor what I could do to help myself (beyond taking medication). Should I change my diet? Was there something I should stop eating…or start eating? What about vitamins? Would exercise make a difference?
What I really wanted to know was if I could make my MS disappear. And if not that, were there changes I could make in my life that would help me feel better, both mentally and physically.
As part of my exploration of the ways in which diet and nutrition can impact health, several years ago I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition; through the program, I became a Certified Health Coach, and started my own business (Health/E, LLC) working with women who were looking for ways to have a more positive and healthful relationship with food and diet. I now focus my practice on working with all people living with MS, by giving workshops and running support groups through the MS Society, in addition to my one-on-one work.
I know all too well what it’s like to struggle with feeling tired, and how hard it can be to make your body work when it’s fighting you. But when I care for my body, through a healthy diet and regular exercise, I feel as if there's something tangible I’m doing to fight back against the uncertainty and powerlessness I’ve often felt since that day in my doctor's office when I was diagnosed.
The expression "I have MS, but MS doesn't have me" really captures something about the way I've learned to live with MS (or better yet, to live my life in spite of it). I’ve learned to embrace my disease. It's part of me - it makes me who I am.
And like so many of you, it has shown me my strengths.
Elissa resides in Westchester, NY, with her husband, their two children and their dog, Hastings. You can find her at www.healthelissa.com, at www.facebook.com/HealthElissa and sometimes tweeting @HealthENY