Be Proactive About Your Health
People with Multiple Sclerosis suffer from excruciating pain. It is defined as an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. Some call it an autoimmune disease while others call it an automediated disease. Regardless, the affected person’s own immune system attacks myelin – a fatty substance that covers our nerve endings. Soon, scar tissue forms. A person with MS can have almost any neurological symptom or sign; with autonomic, visual, motor, and sensory problems being the most common. The specific symptoms are determined by the locations of the lesions within the nervous system, and may include loss of sensitivity or changes in sensation such as tingling, pins and needles or numbness, muscle weakness, very pronounced reflexes, muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance. The exact cause is unknown, and while there is no cure, there are ways to prevent further attacks and subside the disease. Montel Williams has been living with MS for at least ten years (misdiagnosed for ten years). “Ten years ago, a doctor told me I would be in a wheelchair in four years. Haha! He was wrong!” He takes a proactive approach to dwindling the disease down. He’d like to share his insight with you!
“I can’t cure MS. But there are things that I can do to impact how I feel every day. You got to get busy with it.” Montel doesn’t want to live “down” to everyone’s expectation of how an MS “victim” should live their life. He begins with what he puts in his body. “There are things that God gave us, that nature gave us. We can forget all the medicine. Stop the stupid and go to the grocery store. Buy what came out of the ground. Fruits and vegetables…It’s the fact that fruits and vegetables are nature’s anti-inflammatories.” Realizing that he couldn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables daily to impact the disease, he began blending it into a smoothie. He drinks three full pitchers a day! Fruits and vegetables are full of anti-oxidants!
“We can’t lay around waiting to live down to other peoples’ expectation. Five years ago there was an excuse because the information wasn’t there. Nowadays, it’s on line. You just type in whatever your problem is…I can never be as smart as a doctor, but I can be as filled with knowledge. I need you [doctor] to help me interpret it. I need to see a doctor like, ‘I heard about this’.”
As stated before, MS causes severe pain. Montel describes it like, “There are days when I can’t put my feet on the ground. When I wake up in the morning, it’s not pins and needles my friend. I got knives shooting up from the bottom of my heel.” But Montel doesn’t let that stop him. Even on those days, he goes to the gym and runs on the treadmill for an hour straight! His feet have a sharp pain for a few minutes, but the longer he spends on the treadmill, the easier it becomes. Giving a message to other MS sufferers, Montel says, “There is no doctor out there that won’t tell you to walk. Get your butt off the couch. Walk out the front door, walk to the mailbox, walk back, sit down. Tomorrow, get up. Walk past the mailbox three steps, walk back.”
“People with MS, the biggest thing we fear is that, the second you start working out, you get a little warmer, maybe you have like I do, you have vision issues, so your vision starts to get a little blurry, you start to tingle a little bit. We will quit because doctors say stop…As soon as you stop working out, it eases and goes away. So it happens when I start working out. But the benefits that I get from that hour of working out, outweighs that 5-10 minutes in the beginning of the routine that hurts.” But he admits, “There this threshold with MS, because of our body temperatures, especially if you any kind of temperature adversion or issues with regulating your body temperature. I’ve had for quite a long period of time. I couldn’t go out in heat above 90 degrees. It really weakened me quickly. So you have to pay attention to how rapidly your body heats up. So I would say, can you be a marathoner? Yes! Can you be a triathlete? Yes! But! As you’re training, and you notice you start to push yourself and you notice, not just tingling, but numbness, I would go to the doctor. Don’t push yourself to that point of failure…But I want people to understand, I told myself two years ago, you can’t. Guess what? I can now.”