Nissa is one of the most inspiring women I’ve ever met. She’s calm, witty, energetic and a small tight ball of passion. Her eyes sparkle, as if they are about to tell you a secret story.
She also happens to have been diagnosed with M.S. at the age of 24, and has managed to reverse these symptoms.
Nissa is a qualified Naturopath, and practices in NSW.
This is her story, as told to me.
1. What were the circumstances leading up to your diagnosis?
I had been travelling around Australia but I came home to Newcastle because my body felt weird. I had pins and needles in my whole body, I couldn’t walk straight, half of my face had dropped and was tingling and I was terrified that I had experienced a stroke.
I went to an after hours doctor surgery and was admitted to emergency that night.
A few days later after many tests I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 24.
I didn’t really know what that meant, but I had visions of wheelchairs and I was terrified.
2. What was that diagnosis like for you emotionally?
I had done the M.S fun run in high school, but that was the extent of my knowledge of M.S. I didn’t know anyone else with M.S, so I feared the worse.
Many questions went through my head; will this kill me?
Do I get better after this? Will I be in a wheelchair soon? Do I have to change my life plans?
3. Were you always “healthy” before your diagnosis, or did you need to make some lifestyle changes?
I grew up in the country on a farm with big vegie gardens and I was a healthy kid. However in my early twenties my body started to feel ‘weird’. I remember having showers where the water hurt my skin; I also remember getting such bad vertigo and dizziness that I admitted myself to emergency when I was 19.
4. Where did you look for healing advice?
After struggling with M.S relapses for a few years and being in and out of hospital too many times I had a cathartic moment when I decided that my life has to get better than this.
At the time I was taking medication, and was under the care of neurologists and M.S specialists but I was still sick. So I started doing some research myself.
I had heard about ‘The Overcoming M.S’ book by fellow M.S sufferer and medical researcher George Jelinek so I ordered the book, went to the retreat and implemented the evidence based diet and lifestyle approaches recommended.
This whole process gave me the most important medicine I had not come across yet – hope.
Hope that I could get better, that I could run again, that I could live a full and healthy life. I read countless stories of people around the world reversing their symptoms of M.S using diet and lifestyle changes and living well! I thought- I can do this. I must do this. I need to survive.
At this stage I started studying to be a naturopath so I could better understand how to heal myself.
5. What were the specific steps you took?
I learnt to meditate daily, I started taking vitamin D, started a gratitude diary, I removed gluten and dairy from my diet, I started to exercise more, and I committed to the Wahls diet; a Paleo eating plan of 9 cups of fruit & vegies daily.
As I started experimenting with changing my diet, following nutritional medicine protocols and lifestyle changes I started to feel better!
The Wahls’ diet protocol involves eating:
- 3 cups daily of green leaves, such as kale and rocket or garden greens, which are high in vitamins B, A, C, K, and minerals.
- 3 cups daily of sulfur-rich vegetables from the cabbage and onion families, as well as mushrooms, and asparagus.
- 3 cups daily of brightly colored vegetables, fruits, and/or berries, which are a good source of brain protective antioxidants.
- Wild fish for animal-based omega-3s three times weekly.
- Meat from grass-fed animals as a source of B vitamins, and omega-3s.
- Organ meats for vitamins, minerals, and CoQ10 weekly.
- Seaweed for iodine and selenium daily. (Ask your GP to assess your thyroid function before adding iodine to your diet.)
I have now been off medications and symptom free for five years.
I simply have my life back.
I can run, dance, work, have lots of energy and am in great health. I now work at ‘Inspirational Health’ clinic in Newcastle. My story of recovery has been published in Terry Wahls 2015 book ‘The Wahls Protocol’-A radical new way to treat all chronic autoimmune conditions using Paleo principles.