As a physician, Susan went on a journey of exploration after her MS diagnosis to figure out how to implement healthy lifestyle habits in her treatment and management approach. After a lot of research, she found a new lifestyle routine that worked for her. As the founder of TRUE Medicine MS wellness program, she continues to educate people with MS on how lifestyle changes can help them manage their MS symptoms and boost their health.
Hi, I’m Susan Payrovi, and I’m a physician and patient living with MS. And I got diagnosed shortly after the birth of my first child about 12 years ago. I was working as an anesthesiologist. I loved what I was doing, but I was working 100 hours a week and doing work that was very stressful. And so, eventually, after four neurologists, I got diagnosed with MS, and that immediately ended my career as an anesthesiologist because I had a weak left arm and I could no longer practice safely.
So that led me on a journey of exploring what else I could be doing to improve my health. I realized that as a physician, I actually didn’t know anything about how to increase health. Like what should I be eating? Should I be sleeping more? What else should I be focusing on in addition to the recommendations of my neurologist? So I went and studied integrative medicine, functional medicine, mind-body medicine, acupuncture, and a few other things along the way.
And what I’ve come away with is that there are so many things we can do to boost our health at the cellular level, which is something that no medication or supplement can do. And as I learned all of these tips and tricks and how the body works at a biochemical level, I started implementing what I learned into my own routines and I continued to make progress in this left arm.
And seven, eight years later, I was actually finally brave enough to go out for a jog without fear of my left arm hanging at my side like a heavy lead weight. And I did fine. And it was something I was told that would probably not recover if it didn’t recover in the first year or two.
So I implemented lifestyle as an additional approach to what my neurologist had recommended. And for me, it worked. And I have been in the best health of my life. And what I can tell you as a physician who takes care of many patients with chronic diseases, including autoimmunity and MS, is that medications are an important aspect of MS care.
But it’s not the only thing out there. We need to be adding on other lifestyle habits like sleeping better, eating better, resting more, managing stress, avoiding toxins. These things all provide a good clean cellular environment so that our medications can do the things they are designed to do.
And additionally, what I would say to someone newly diagnosed is that yes, it feels like doom and gloom, when you first get diagnosed. And I certainly went through it, too, even as a physician. And knowing what I knew, it did still feel like my life had turned upside down. And I did have to go through the grief of my old self and giving up a career that I had trained many years for.
But, after the initial sadness lifted, I was actually able to feel very empowered to take charge of my health, to advocate for others, to work with the MS community, and to find a new way of living with this diagnosis and really just finding my new normal. And what actually helped accelerate that was to tap into a community of other people who were on the same journey.
So, if that story resonates with you, I would say, work closely with your neurologist, add on lifestyle therapies, and get in a community that is going to support you and help propel you further, faster.
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