Last week I received a question in an email from a visitor to the website which took me until today to respond to. Upon finishing my response to the email, I thought it may make a good post. So here it is.
The reader’s question was:
“I’ve been following your story for a few months and have to say that I’m very inspired! I had a probable diagnosis of MS two months ago confirmed by a definitive diagnosis today. I’m very anti-pharma so I’m quite sad that I may have to go the drug route. If I do, any advice on how to handle the drugs?”
Here is my response:
I sincerely apologize for my delay in responding to you. I am also very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
I’m happy to hear that my story has inspired you!
At this point in my life, I’m neither anti-phrama nor pro diet/natural solutions. I’m right in the middle. While it can give people a tremendous amount of hope to read stories of MSers like Dr. Wahls, the truth that I’ve come to realize is that everyone’s path with the disease is different. I absolutely believe that diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle can play a huge role in managing the disease. There also does appear that there is some really compelling evidence that a Paleo-like diet can be beneficial to people with MS. However, there also really compelling evidence that disease modifying therapies, or DMTs, like Copaxone, Tecfidera, Rebif, etc. can reduce or delay the onset of disability.
The way I see it, I don’t really care what camp is right as my only concern is being as healthy as possible. So I combine the two approaches. I take Tecfidera as prescribed by my doctor (I started with Copaxone and was switched to Tecfidera almost a year ago). I also follow any recommendations by doctor makes. I also follow a modified Paleo diet similar to that of Dr. Wahls, however I’m not nearly as strict. For the first three years after my diagnosis (2007-2010), I didn’t take any meds and I was very much ‘anti-pharma’, but after we received news that my wife was pregnant, my focus shifted. I just want to be as healthy as possible and the method of fighting the disease is not political for me.
As mentioned, I started with Copaxone and then was switched to Tecfidera. While some people have reactions to Copaxone, I didn’t. The only part I didn’t like was the daily injections as I have a strong aversion to needles. When I was switched to Tecfidera, my doctor prescribed a gradual dose. I started with 1 tab a day, then two (1 morning, 1 night), then three (two morning, 1 night), and then eventually the full dose (two morning, two night). At first, it took my stomach a while to adjust, but for the most part I have tolerated the new drug well. I also really like that I have no more needles.
I’ve found with both medications you eventually end up in a routine and, for me, they really haven’t been an inconvenience.
I hope I’ve answered your question.
Be well and keep in touch,