LIFE & HEALTH CHALLENGES
There’s usually a D in every day. Sometimes that D is a diagnosis and when that diagnosis is a chronic disease like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), we know it will have a profound impact on our lives and on the lives of those who love us.
“I am constantly in awe of the capacity of the human spirit to embrace the challenge of a diagnosis and I’m inspired by people’s capacity to find a meaningful way forward. I know that we can’t always change what happens to us, but I know that we can change the way we respond to our challenges. It’s with that knowledge that peace and wellbeing become possible,” Petrea King, Founder and CEO of the Quest for Life Foundation says.
No one chooses Multiple Sclerosis. That doesn’t mean it has to define or defeat you.
“Over the past 33 years I’ve worked with tens of thousands of people living with the impact that a chronic disease or life-threatening illness has on their lives and who are looking to actively contribute to their own healing. Healing is different from curing. Curing focuses on the physical body. Healing focuses on the whole of the human being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I know people who have been cured but are still in need of healing and people who have died healed of everything that ever stopped them from truly living. I’ve also witnessed people who were confined to wheelchairs due to multiple sclerosis, and who regained their health and strength and learned to walk unaided again. These are the paradoxes of healing,” Petrea says.
WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)?
- MS is a disease of the central nervous system.
- It affects more than one part of the brain or spinal cord. Sclerosis means hardening or scarring.
- An attack of MS can leave scar tissue which appears in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve.
- MS interferes with the brain’s ability to control functions such as vision and walking.
- Some people have reversed the scarring or have activated new neurons to take over from damaged ones.
SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
Symptoms vary significantly from one person to another. They are unpredictable and dependent on which areas of the central nervous system are involved. Symptoms may include:
- Numbness and pain, “pins and needles”
- Muscle weakness
- Extreme tiredness
- Sensitivity to heat
- Balance and coordination problems
- Bladder/bowel disturbances
- Cognitive changes
- Visual disturbances
HOW TO DEAL WITH A MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DIAGNOSIS
Discussing all aspects of the disease and treatment with doctors and specialists is essential so you can work out a way to manage your symptoms and find out what works best for you. Consider consulting with an integrative or lifestyle medicine practitioner who can assist you with a holistic approach to managing your symptoms and/or recovery.
You’ll benefit by learning how to:
- Live with the physical effects of the illness
- Minimise side-effects from treatments
- Make sure there is clear communication with doctors
- Maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
- Gain deep restful sleep
- Change your attitude to one of healing
- Maintain confidence and positive sense-of-self.
- Speak with your GP or other trusted and qualified health professional
- For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Multiple Sclerosis Australia
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It can take time to discover the best treatment for each person, so it’s best to work closely with your (holistic) GP or other trusted and qualified health professional to find what works for you.
In addition, complementary treatments are now widely acknowledged as being integral to a person’s healing regimen. When we actively engage in a fulfilling life and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we create the ideal physiology in which our health can be regained or improved.
FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO A POSITIVE HEALING OUTCOME
Many factors contribute to a positive healing outcome for people MS. These factors can help you begin or continue your journey of recovery:
- Addressing physical as well as the emotional distress that may accompany a chronic illness
- Improving exercise and sleep levels along with other healthy lifestyle practices
- Guidance in managing the emotional rollercoaster of exhaustion, frustration and isolation
- Improving your nutrition and ability to manage stress as these impact considerably on your microbiome (gut bacteria) which is the foundation of your immune system
- Meditation and living mindfully can stimulate your immune system to function optimally
- Rest and patience are two essential components of recovery.
Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our Toolkit page:
- Keys to improve the quality of your sleep
- Meditation practices
- The Four Cs – Keys to peace of mind and resilience
Some of Petrea King’s Podcasts may be helpful and can be found on our Podcast page:
- Tony Delroy Nightlife – Beyond Chronic Pain
- Dealing with a difficult diagnosis
- Relax better and reduce stress using mindfulness
- Eating well in times of stress
- Talking Lifestyle Radio: Petrea’s life and Quest’s approach to healing
- Wellbeing books including Quest for Life – a handbook for people with Cancer and Life-Threatening Illnesses, Your Life Matters – a guidebook for life and, Food for Life by Petrea King
- Meditations including Be Calm, Tranquil Night, Learning to Meditate
HOW QUEST FOR LIFE CAN HELP
While medical teams focus on eradicating disease, Quest for Life’s focus is on empowering people to heal. Quest for Life can help through our residential programs and 1-day workshops.
- Our 5-day residential Quest for Life program nourishes, educates and supports you to adopt a healthy lifestyle which creates an environment for profound healing. You’ll learn about the factors that contribute to a positive healing outcome. Quest is an NDIS Provider. Generous grants and subsidies available.
- Our Self-Paced Online Courses – Befriending Anxiety; Beyond Burnout and Healing Sleep – provide practical, positive and easy to follow guidance and advice. They encourage and help you to identify and implement strategies to build your resilience, and to incorporate these into your own personal plan for each course.
- Our 1-day workshop Living Mindfully with Cancer and Illness shows you ways to improve your health and create an environment for profound healing.
Quest for Life knows how to help: research results show that more than 95% of participants feel better after attending a program and that this improvement increases over time.
If you’re living with Multiple Sclerosis, fill in the Contact Form below and one of our Program Advisors will be in touch to answer your questions or to ascertain the most appropriate program for your needs.
At Quest we recognise that many people being treated for MS may have chemical sensitivities. No chemicals are used in the grounds or buildings at Quest to ensure a safe and healthy environment for people with life-inhibiting illnesses.