Day 14 of 31
This is the story of Dr. Conor Kerley:
My name is Conor Kerley. When I was first diagnosed with MS at the age of 15, my first question was: Can I still do sports? I was diagnosed after three major relapses in eight months and after testing. When I was 33, I had MS for more than half of my life.
Like most, the diagnosis came as a shock to my family and me. MS impressed me when I was a young athlete and student. As a kid, I didn’t know much about MS – there was no social media, so I tried to learn from books. I started on injectable drugs (interferon) three times a week and started eating better and exercising again, which led to better sleep, which in turn led to better mood.
As I neared the end of school, I decided that I was interested in lifestyle and nutrition. In the past, diet was a way to strengthen exercise. However, I began to realize that diet was important to overall health. I applied to Trinity College in Dublin to study human nutrition and dietetics. Since then I’ve become a nutritionist and started my own company, Phytaphix.
Lifestyle factors include optimal nutrition, physical activity, healthy body weight, moderate sun exposure, good sleeping habits, managing stress, and not smoking.
Research continues to show that all of these lifestyle factors have benefits for MS, especially those with relapsing-remitting MS or progressive MS. We should all do our best to choose a healthy lifestyle as much as possible!
MS is a terrible disease and we will all have good days and bad, which means lifestyle factors can be neglected. We shouldn’t stress or beat ourselves up, but try to get back to a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. As medicine advances, we sometimes forget the importance of making simple lifestyle choices.
Since my diagnosis I have been free of recurrences and symptoms. So listen to your team of neurologists, but also: eat these vegetables, exercise this body, take time to sleep and manage stress, and avoid smoking.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Day MS Campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this one with the hashtag # 31DaysofMS, or watch the full series here.