Guest Post – Me and Multiple Sclerosis

The lovely Jane from Lady Janey Blog has written a guest post for Just Average Jen about how Multiple Sclerosis has affected her to raise a bit of awareness and understanding. She talks about how it has affected her diet, her work and her daily life. Read on to hear from Jane and find out more.

It’s funny how life works out. If you’d asked me thirty years ago what I thought life would be like now, it would have been a very different picture.
I was diagnosed with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis in January 2001 and since then, even though I didn’t want it to rule my life, it has had a massive impact in many ways.
At the time of diagnosis, I was working as cabin crew for a major UK airline and although I ploughed on valiantly as long as I could, eventually I had to admit defeat. Relapse after relapse meant that I was not able to work and this had massive financial consequences as I had a basic wage topped up with allowances depending on flights. No flights means reduced income. So effectively, I was grounded. I did consider staying in the airline in another post but this proved impractical commuting wise so, nutcase here, for some unknown reason, decided to embark on a career in teaching. In hindsight, not perhaps the best job for someone with MS due to workload, pressure and stress levels. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret making this decision, as I wouldn’t be where I am today without making that choice but I need now to find a way to work from home and that’s part of the reason behind writing my blog.
I have made many changes diet wise following advice given post diagnosis but the one thing I will not be giving up is wine as I do enjoy the odd glass or ten. During relapses, I don’t feel like drinking anyway but when I’m in remission, I love my wine, regardless of the potential impact it might have on my health. Unfortunately, with slurred speech and MS fog (the inability to cognitively process, recall and articulate information) being typical of the illness, I often seem far drunker than I am rather quickly. This can be quite embarrassing.
One positive dietary change I have made has been a reduction in dairy intake, although being a vegetarian, this has forced me to be a little more creative in my cooking as I try to find the proteins and nutrients elsewhere. However, even if I wasn’t a vegetarian, I would definitely still steer clear of red meat and stick to white meat as this is part of a recommended diet for someone with MS.
As with any illness, it’s a matter of healthy body and healthy mind so I avoid processed foods and enjoy cooking good healthy recipes with fresh ingredients on a daily basis. My husband is not a vegetarian so I often have to cook for two but this is fine as there are very few dishes that I cannot find a his/her version for.
Daily Life
I have to be honest; over the years I have felt a prisoner of the unpredictability of the illness. I heard MS referred to once as ‘my shadow’ and this is a very true. I can be fine one day but then within hours a relapse could strike so it’s always there, lurking in the background. As such, I am always reluctant to make firm plans and if I do make arrangements, then I need to be really organized so I don’t get overtired, don’t do too much and can get home ok if I need to. MS fatigue is the most debilitating thing for me and is the symptom, which has the most impact on everyday life.
However all this said, having MS has made me into the person I am today. I am stronger and more determined than ever to do as much as I can, when I can and fight to achieve my goals. There’s so much more at stake now and any lifestyle changes I have to make along the way will be worth it.
To read more from Jane pop over to her blog and social media and say hello!
Facebook – Lady Janey
Twitter – @ladyjaney75

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