BLOG: An ‘Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis Programme’ Success Story

roawn baker ms sufferer holds her hands up on a beach

Rowan’s Story –

Rowan shared some reflections with the Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) forums which were so well received that we wanted to share her story to inspire others.

2018 was a long year, when a lot happened in Rowan’s life. Newly married and aged just 26, she had just been promoted at the hospital she works at on the south coast. Her world came to a standstill though, when she was diagnosed with MS and became too ill to work. With time and dedication, she has now been able to return to work full-time, and is fulfilling her goal of upgrading her home.

“I’ve been humbled by the reaction of my support network when I have needed them. I’ve laughed and cried (a lot) but I start 2019 with optimism, health, hope and contentment.”

In July 2018 Rowan was concerned by a constant tingling sensation, vision problems, difficulties walking and chronic fatigue which left her too ill to work. She had numerous tests and was subsequently told by her neurologist that she had MS.

As a nurse, she has seen the debilitating medical effects of MS and was worried about the future. But she researched online and found many positive examples of people controlling, managing and living with MS. 

Armed with a copy of George Jelinek’s book, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, she studied the evidence-based 7 step recovery programme.

Physical well-being: Rowan has started training for the 50km London-Brighton Challenge walk in May and also has her sights set on the 100km South Coast Challenge later in the summer, all raising money for MS charities. She combines long walks, 5km runs and cardio exercise with eating well. Rowan, already a near Vegan, now follows the plant-based, wholefood plus seafood OMS diet, and is really enjoying the healthy changes she has made part of her daily life. She believes that adopting the programme has made a noticeable difference and in just a couple of months, has significantly improved her fatigue. She enjoys cooking from scratch, trying new recipes, and posting them on Instagram. 

Meditation: Equally important to Rowan is her spiritual development. Managing MS, on her terms, has shown her that she is able to help herself and remain positive. She attends a yoga class twice a week and gets lots of benefits from watching daily OMS online meditation videos. A mindfulness calendar, that has a prominent place in Rowan’s kitchen, serves as a good reminder to do some simple daily meditations. For example, while doing the washing up or preparing food.Rowan feels lucky to have had such support from the NHS and her MS team.

“I wake up every morning grateful that I can now brush my teeth and walk downstairs. In July I couldn’t feed myself or brush my hair and couldn’t walk more than fifty metres, meaning that I had to use a wheelchair to get around. I also had Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve) which caused changes to my vision. 

I had three relapses in six months putting me in a highly active category, but since adopting OMS I’ve not experienced any new symptoms – I have come such a long way in a short period of time.

“While others think that I have gone back to normal, nothing could be further from how I feel. Health is a privilege, and I now respect my body more. Eating well, exercising, meditating, resting and challenging myself is a fine balance that will take years to master, but the journey has already given me so much insight.

Rowan also believes that charity OMS has helped to provide understanding, hope and has empowered her to take control of her condition. “It really has given me my life back, even with some improvements. The advice, forums and information provided by OMS have helped me to accept the condition with optimism, alongside the medication options available to me.”

For anyone coming to terms with a diagnosis of MS, Rowan would like to share her view that ‘MS is not the condition it used to be. With huge medical advances in the last 20 years, and with the OMS programme, I wholly believe that there is real possibility in stabilising disease progression and living well with MS.”

For more information follow Rowan’s Instagram @Me_MSelf_and_I