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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
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Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

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Guinness Cured My Multiple Sclerosis — Sort Of


By Trevis Gleason

Guinness cured my MS.

Not really, but I did feel better than I had in years during the winter of 2005-2006. That’s the period I write about in Chef Interrupted when I was living in a small town on the Irish coast… and I drank a fair good bit of the black stuff.

I had also finished a course of some pretty heavy-duty MS medication, was eating very low on the food chain, and was exercising more than I had since my diagnosis. Whatever the reason, I felt better.

Now, when I got back from Ireland and had follow-up exams and test, my disease hadn’t stopped progressing.  In fact, my symptoms of multiple sclerosis didn’t stop, and I experienced at least one exacerbation during that time.  Still…

So now, two-and-a-half years into living more or less fulltime in “The Town” and my MS continues to march at the irregular pace of a jazz fusion drummer… and I feel very well, thank you. But I’m not.

Our diet has certainly changed from what we ate in America. I’d say that more than 85 percent of what we eat is grown, raised, pastured, grazed, shot, caught, or farmed within about 15 kilometers of our cottage. We consume full-fat dairy and neighborhood-fresh with abandon; they don’t label beef as free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free, non-GMO, etc. It’s just how our butcher raises beef. We eat more fresh, local vegetables (though in the winter months, the selection of “local” is rather restricted) than ever before. I feel great, but my double vision continues to get worse.

We also get far more exercise than before.

With two dogs now, only the very worst of MS days keeps me from at least a short walk with The Pack.  We don’t own a car so it’s walking or bicycling if we need to get anywhere locally. Lovely beaches at low tide and ancient stone wall-lined laneways and near-abandoned bóithrín (lanes) offer cane- or crutch-assisted stretching of the limbs. I’ve lost over two stone (28 pounds), I’m stronger and I feel better, but still, I have progressive MS.

Maureen Manley mentioned in the Google Hangout we did this week with Meredith Vieira her “integrated approach” to living with MS. She takes her meds, minds her diet, follows an athlete’s physical regimen, and cares for her mental and spiritual facets as well. She still has MS but she lives a life of purpose and intent. And she feels good. Not the same “good” she did 24 years ago at the top of her athletic career and before MS, but GOOD.

As many of you know, I live in what I refer to as “MS Détente.” I think it’s all about doing what helps me to feel the best that I can, even if the disease continues to progress. But that is the important part, the informed consent of my life.

I am doing things that make me feel better even if the disease with which I live is technically getting worse.

There isn’t much in the way of scientific proof that diet or exercise has much of a direct correlation with multiple sclerosis. Yoga can help balance and the spirt, but MS still “munches” on. LDN (low-dose naltrexone) hasn’t shown much in the way of slowing the disease but people taking it report improved quality of life. Blogs and self-help groups don’t slow progression, but we feel better knowing that we’re not alone.

Just because a person feels better when they replace all of the calories they once consumed via gluten-laden foods with fresh fruits and veggies doesn’t mean that one is gluten intolerant. Likewise, though I eat fresh foods, move my body as much as possible, and live where pints of rich, black stout accompany fellowship and laughter, and feel happy and fulfilled, I still have MS.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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