Multiple sclerosis, with its relapsing/remitting nature, symptoms which are difficult to pinpoint and extreme variation from patient to patient, encourages misconceptions and myths.
One particularly cruel myth is the MS "cure". Well-intentioned people routinely litter my inbox with emails informing me of the reason I have MS and how to cure it. I’ll be waiting anxiously in line when I see hard evidence of an MS cure. Until then, let’s be cautious about such promises.
The Diet Cure: MS is caused by diet and can be cured by diet. Whether you have a major condition like MS or not, you will feel much better with a healthy, balanced diet. It is a no brainer. However, there is no evidence of a cure for MS through diet.
Side Show Cures: Faith healers, bee sting therapy, special healing waters, removing the fillings from your teeth, mega-vitamins, herb mixtures, blood-washing…these and many more promised cures for MS have yet to be proven. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to scams. As the effects of MS take their toll and we become desperate for help, there are those who would gladly take advantage of that fact for a fee. Research all claims through reputable medical sources, do your homework and be careful out there
It’s All in Your Attitude: MS can be cured by positive thinking. A good attitude is beneficial to everyone, but as hard as I’ve tried, it won’t cure my MS. Because MS is NOT all in my mind. It is in those pesky things called lesions taking up residence in my brain and disrupting signals to the rest of my body. The paraplegic cannot WILL himself to stand and walk, the diabetic cannot reject insulin in favor of positive thinking and the MS patient cannot cure MS through sheer will power.
"It is what it is" is my mantra. I have accepted MS as a fact of life. I see a doctor regularly, have a balanced diet and take my prescribed medication. Being pro-active, I’ve made the necessary accommodations to compensate for my disabilities. Aside from the normal every day challenges of being alive on planet earth, I keep my stress levels low. Relapsing/remitting MS gives the impression that it is much more under our control than it is. A relapse must mean that we’ve allowed that bad attitude to return. No, my attitude is not to blame, nor will it cure MS, though a positive attitude certainly makes life more pleasant and MS more bearable.
Those of us who have first-hand knowledge of MS must take advantage of every opportunity to educate the newly diagnosed and the general public. So eat right, exercise when you can, see your doctor, keep a good thought…and watch out for those magic cures.