MS, Diet, and Humor: Get Off My Lawn

I posted a controversial photo on Facebook last year: It was labeled “Paraplegic Twister,” and it showed a guy in a wheelchair holding a spinner with nothing but blue dots; the wheelchair was parked on a Twister mat with nothing but one huge blue dot.

I got a lot of outraged grief over it, but my response was to say hey; I have MS so there’s a good chance I could be in a wheelchair myself someday and I have every right to find humor in my own situation and get off my lawn.

Never expected the unsolicited dietary advice

When I was diagnosed with MS back in 2006, one thing I never could have expected was the nonstop unsolicited dietary advice.

Avoid high fructose corn syrups or GMOs

If someone learns you have MS, all too often they’ll tell you how their uncle or this lady at work or their veterinarian had MS, but then they started avoiding Nutrasweet or high fructose corn syrup or GMOs or transfats or fluoridated water or gluten, and the MS just went away!

Start a diet

Or they started the Adkins diet, or Paleo, or Vegan, or South Beach or Keto or Dukan or 5:2 or the Zone, and the MS just went away!

Stopping medications

Or they replaced an old mercury amalgam filling, or they stopped irradiating their brain with their cell phone, or they refused to get vaccinated for the flu or anything else, or they stopped using laundry detergent or deodorant or antidepressants or MS medications, and the MS (surprise!) just went away.

I especially like that last one: Drugs to treat cancer or lupus or MS keep us sick so Big Pharma can keep gouging us for expensive medicine we don’t need; if you stop taking the medication, the cancer or lupus or MS will go away.

It's not as if MS is the flu

If that’s true—if I stop injecting myself with Copaxone and MS just goes away — how did I get MS in the first place? It’s not like Copaxone (or Tysabri or Avonex or Mayzent or whatever) is a vaccine Big Pharma wants me to get every year, as if MS is the flu.

If I tried even half the unsolicited dietary advice I’ve gotten I would have starved to death a long time ago. Eliminating all salt, protein, carbs and fats from your diet is a cure worse than the disease.

I used to get angry, but now I try to be gracious

I used to get angry at all the unwanted advice; nowadays I try to be gracious about it. It’s usually not worth an argument. People mean well, but MS is the quintessential invisible disease, so I suppose it’s easy to assume it’s easy to make it go away.

But if someone persists in saying I should do whatever their uncle or plumber or boss’s wife did, I again try to be gracious, but firm:

  1. No one knows what causes MS.
  2. There is no vaccine or cure for MS.
  3. And MS does not, repeat NOT, just go away.
  4. Especially not if you endanger your health with fad diets or stop taking prescribed medications.

Dietary and exercise habits

If you’re following a prescribed diet for diabetes or hypertension or cholesterol, by all means stick with it. Most of us have plenty of room to improve our dietary or exercise habits, but as they say in the commercials: Consult your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise plan, especially if you’re managing a chronic disease.

How I respond to the continuous advice

And if someone at work or church tells you MS will just go away if you try their neighbor’s exotic new probiotic goop or drink colloidal silver or stop eating tuna, do what I do:

Just say, "Thanks, but I’m doing great on my ABC diet: Alcohol, Bacon, and Cigars. See, my doctor said I need beer and/or a good single-malt scotch with every meal, along with enough nitrates and lard to kill Seal Team Six. Also, I just wasn’t getting enough tar, so four or five Churchill-sized stogies a day are just what I needed. So don’t go mooching my booze, bacon, or smokes—get your own prescription!

"Also, get off my lawn."

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