94 episodes

Welcome to the Overcoming MS | Living Well with MS podcast. In each episode, your host Geoff Allix will explore a different aspect of the OMS 7-Step Recovery Program in greater depth. New episodes will be published approximately once per month, and will feature interviews with scientists, fitness specialists, diet experts, stress reduction professionals and OMSers themselves. The podcast will also feature inspirational, real-life stories from people with multiple sclerosis about the daily challenges and small victories of successful lifestyle modification.

Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis Overcoming MS

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.4 • 31 Ratings

Welcome to the Overcoming MS | Living Well with MS podcast. In each episode, your host Geoff Allix will explore a different aspect of the OMS 7-Step Recovery Program in greater depth. New episodes will be published approximately once per month, and will feature interviews with scientists, fitness specialists, diet experts, stress reduction professionals and OMSers themselves. The podcast will also feature inspirational, real-life stories from people with multiple sclerosis about the daily challenges and small victories of successful lifestyle modification.

    Coffee Break #33 with Geoff Allix

    Coffee Break #33 with Geoff Allix

    Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #33, where we are pleased to turn the tables and welcome our very own very own podcast host Geoff Allix as our guest!
     
    Our Coffee Break series is your chance to get to know members of our diverse OMS community. In each episode, you’ll join Geoff Allix for an intimate chat with a different member of our global community. Our guests will share their personal stories and talk about their challenges and victories, large and small. We hope you find common cause and a source of inspiration from the stories of these very special people. As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing podcast@overcomingms.org.
     
    Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break, and I am NOT Geoff Allix. I’m Alex Twersky, and I am the creator and producer of the Living Well with MS podcast series. And I’ve been proud to work with Geoff Allix from day 1 as our intrepid host since the show’s launch all the way through two spinoffs – Coffee Break and Ask Jack – and now 4 seasons. So why am I the one narrating this episode and not Geoff? Well, let’s find out.
     
    Geoff’s Bio:
     
    Geoff Allix hails from Devon in England and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2015. Geoff's father also had MS, and sadly died at the age of 54. When he himself was diagnosed, Geoff was determined to do whatever he could to remain well. Once he was told that he "almost certainly" had MS in May 2015, he and his wife launched into action. They Googled as much as they could about the condition. Shortly before Geoff was formally diagnosed in September 2015, they came across Overcoming MS and the 7-Step Recovery Program. He has been on the program since then, and, although his walking has gotten worse, he’s certain that the Overcoming MS program is critical to maintaining his wellbeing. Geoff works as computer consultant and is a dad to two children. Geoff serves as co-ambassador to Overcoming MS’s South West Circle and hosts the Living Well with MS podcast. 
     
    Questions:
     
    Geoff, welcome to the other side of Living Well with MS Coffee Break. OMS is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and our podcast will mark its 100th episode this August. So this time around, we thought having you in the hot seat would allow some of our fans old and new to get to know more about you. Since the purpose of this series is to better get to know the diverse members of our community from around the world, who better than you to fit that bill. Many of our audience knows you as the podcast host, but there’s so much more to your service to the OMS community, and we’ll get to that, but for the moment, can you tell us a little about your day-to-day life in the UK, in Devon? When were you diagnosed with MS? Can you provide some context on that? When were you diagnosed and how did you initially deal with it? At which point did you come across the OMS program? How was that experience for you? Why did you decide to start following it? Many of our audience know you as the host of this podcast from its very inception, but you also serve the OMS community in many other ways. Let’s start by learning more about your work as an Ambassador for the OMS Circle in Devon. Tell us a little about that, how you got involved and what this work has meant to you and your local community? Speaking of local community, you also recently represented OMS at Delamore Art, an exhibition where OMS was one of the featured charities. Can you tell us a bit about that? You celebrated a birthday recently, and you did something a little outlandish to celebrate life but also raise money for OMS. What death-defying feat was that Geoff? Just wanted to take a quick pause to make a couple of announcements that may be of interest to our community. The OMS Big Picnic is coming up again in July. This is a great event for members of our global community to organize their own picnics worldwide featuring OMS friendly cuisine. Yo

    • 49 min
    Laughter is the Best Medicine

    Laughter is the Best Medicine

    Bio:
     
    Shari Short is a patient advocate, a professional in healthcare communications and naturally, a standup comedian. As Senior Director of Insights and Strategy at Bionical Solutions, she has over 20 years of experience in patient education from behavior change to clinical trial recruitment. A developmental psychologist by training, Shari has held positions with the National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control, Virginia Department of Health, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and various healthcare marketing firms. Shari received her M.A. in developmental psychology from Columbia University Teachers College. 
     
    Shari has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for 14 years. As a Patient Advocate, Shari has shared insights from living with Multiple Sclerosis to the New Jersey statewide advocacy committee of the National MS Society as well as written for their national magazine, Momentum. She incorporated her experience with MS into a sold-out one-woman show called “It’s My Mother’s MS, I just Have It” and a satire letter series from “The Crazy Cane Lady”. Shari has been featured on multiple podcasts. She has been performing standup comedy since her teen years (read: the 80s) and has opened for performers such as Shawn Colvin and Sandra Bernhard.
     
    Questions:
     
    Welcome to the program, Shari, and thanks so much for joining us on Living Well with MS. You have a very eclectic background, from standup comedy to developmental psychology. Can you tell us a bit about how that all ties together and has helped you forge your current path focused on behavior change? We know humor is important to you, an essential part of your personal and even professional identity. And we’ll dig into that in a moment. But first, I’d like to understand your experience with MS. Can you give us a bit of an intro to that, anything you feel comfortable sharing? Was there a point when you developed a philosophy or even a methodology for using humor to cope with some of the challenges of MS? Can you tell our audience about that journey? You’ve produced a lot of humorous output about MS. Some notable things to mention (incidentally links to many of these can be found in the show notes, so I encourage everyone to have a look): a one woman show called “On My Nerves”; a satirical piece for Momentum, the National MS Society magazine; presentations at the University of Pennsylvania; various podcast appearances, including this one. Do any of these stand out for you, and if so, how? I understand that humor has personally helped you deal with scary situations, reframe your current physical abilities, and not take yourself too seriously. How transferable are these “benefits” to the broader MS community, and how would you advise people who don’t have the same organic relationship with humor that you do tap into them? How do you overcome the discomfort some people may feel when you apply a humorous or jokey spin to a “serious” topic such as MS? There’s a principle I understand you have called “laughing on purpose”. Can you tell us a little more about that? So I’m getting the sense that humor can be many things as applied to MS: a coping tool, a teaching tool, or even a defense mechanism. What’s your best advice for how Joe Q. Public with MS can harness humor to its maximum positive advantage? Thanks so much for being our guest on Living Well with MS, Shari. We are thrilled to learn about the amazing work you’re doing to help people with MS ease their burdens and get the most out of life using humor. And I encourage everyone to learn more about you and your work by checking out the links and more in our show notes for this episode. Thanks again, Shari.  
    Links:
     
    Connect with Shari on LinkedIn Read Shari’s humorous piece in Momentum Magazine, the official magazine of the National MS Society Check out Shari’s satirical take on pharma marketing Here’s a collection of Shari’s videos connected to the

    • 28 min
    Coffee Break #32 with Regina Beach

    Coffee Break #32 with Regina Beach

    Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #32, where we are pleased to welcome Regina Beach as our guest!
     
    Our Coffee Break series is your chance to get to know members of our diverse OMS community. In each episode, you’ll join Geoff Allix for an intimate chat with a different member of our global community. Our guests will share their personal stories and talk about their challenges and victories, large and small. We hope you find common cause and a source of inspiration from the stories of these very special people.
     
    As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing podcast@overcomingms.org. Regina is a very special guest for many reasons, including being an American living in the UK, and being an OMSer who works for the charity as its Trusts and Community Fundraising Manager. We hope you enjoy this episode’s conversation with Regina, coming to you straight from the UK.
     
    Regina’s Bio:
     
    Regina Beach is an American living in the Welsh Valleys with her British husband. She was diagnosed with RRMS in April 2021 and adopted the Overcoming MS program shortly thereafter. She is a yoga teacher and writer who regularly leads workshops and publishes poetry and essays.  She enjoys cooking and is writing an oil-free vegan cookbook with her husband. She also works part time as the Trusts and Community Fundraising Manager for Overcoming MS. Prior to diagnosis she was an avid long-distance cycler. Her goal is to feel strong enough and balanced enough to get back in the saddle.  
     
    Questions:
     
    Regina, welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break. We’re so pleased to have you on our program. The purpose of this series is to better get to know some of the diverse members of our community from around the world, and today you’re in the hot seat. Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day life? When were you diagnosed with MS? Can you provide some context on that? When were you diagnosed and how did you initially deal with it? At which point did you come across the OMS program? How was that experience for you? Why did you decide to start following it? I understand that you’re rated as having significant disability on the EDSS scale. Has the OMS Program helped alleviate this, or had no effect? What are your thoughts on people with MS choosing other types of diets or lifestyle protocols that are not OMS? Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about your professional life. You used to be a schoolteacher in the US, but now you live in the UK with your British husband, and you actually work part-time for OMS as its Trusts and Community Fundraising Manager. How did that transition come about? OMS is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, and there are some special events in the wings. I understand you’re involved in some of these, such as OMS Birthday Trivia in June, and the Big Picnic in July. Can you tell us a little about what to expect? Since you work in fundraising, what advice would you give to people in our community who want to get involved in this domain to help the charity? My next question straddles the personal and professional realm: you’re a devout yoga and meditation practitioner, and you also teach it. Can you tell us how that’s helped you, and share some tips on how others can get into the groove of a daily mindfulness practice? Regina, thank you so much for being on Living Well with MS Coffee Break and allowing our community to get to know one of its own a little better. One last question before you go, and it’s a bit of a tradition in that we ask it of all our Coffee Break guests. If you tap into your experience with MS generally and OMS specifically for a nugget of wisdom that would help people ease into and better adopt the OMS program, what would that advice be?  
    Three Interesting Facts About Regina (in her own words):
     
    I’m a yoga teacher and have changed my practice to be gentler and exploratory. I used to teach hot 26+2 (Bikram style).

    • 29 min
    Walking on Pins and Needles - Managing Chronic Pain with Tai Chi

    Walking on Pins and Needles - Managing Chronic Pain with Tai Chi

    Bio:
     
    Arlene Faulk has had a passion for writing from a young age beginning in the 8th grade when she wrote and published her class newsletter, The Tattler. She earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Iowa, reporting on everything from Led Zeppelin concerts to protests of the Vietnam War. She went on to receive an MA in Speech Communication from the University of Kansas.
     
    At 22 years old, Arlene lost all feeling below her waist. She regained mobility, but it was years before she received an accurate diagnosis of MS. Arlene endured years of undiagnosed chronic pain, concealing her debilitating symptoms while climbing the corporate ladder, where she managed human resource departments in a major airline until her body stopped her.
     
    In her illuminating journey of determination and self-discovery, she explores how practicing Tai Chi and modifying her lifestyle and mindset helped her retake control and move her life in the direction of possibility. She has been teaching Tai Chi for over 20 years in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.
     
    Questions:
     
    Welcome to the program, Arlene, and thanks so much for joining us on Living Well with MS. Congratulations on the recent release of your book, ‘Walking on Pins and Needles’. It’s all about how you discovered how Tai Chi can help people, yourself included, manage chronic pain. We’ll get more into that shortly. But before we do, let’s dive a little bit into your background… You were diagnosed with MS in your early 20s, and that spiraled into a series of debilitating symptoms and pain. Can you tell us a little bit about those initial experiences coping with your new reality? Despite all of this, you still went on to build a successful career in the corporate world, until your condition forced you to stop. How did you deal with all of this while working in high pressure jobs? When did you discover Tai Chi? And perhaps for our listeners who aren’t familiar with it, can you describe what Tai Chi is in layman’s terms? How did the practice of Tai Chi help you deal with some of your chronic symptoms? Tai Chi seems to be yet another way to practice mindfulness, which is core to the OMS program. Can you speak about its impact on reducing stress in the body and mind? There’s something about our mindsets that compels us to try to control as much as we can, and at the same time letting go seems to be a healthier path. How do you use Tai Chi to make that lane change? When did you transition to teaching Tai Chi, and how did you develop your approach to using it as a tool for managing chronic pain? What sorts of people do you teach? Is your approach effective for a range of conditions, including MS? You’ve done on to write a book about this, and incidentally, more information about the book and where to purchase it is available in this episode’s show notes. How did the book come about? I know this is a bit of an unfair question, but I will ask it anyway… if you can distill your experience with Tai Chi into one core lesson learned that you’d like to impart to our global community of people with MS and their supporters, what would that be? Thanks so much for being our guest on Living Well with MS, Arlene. We are thrilled to learn about the amazing work you’re doing to help ease chronic pain through a Tai Chi practice. And I encourage everyone to learn more about it by checking out your book, and you can find all those links and more in our show notes for this episode. Thanks again, Arlene.  
    Links:
     
    Learn more about and buy Arlene’s book, Walking on Pins and Needles: A Memoir of Chronic Resilience in the Face of Multiple Sclerosis(River Grove Books, Feb 22, 2022) Dig deeper into Arlene’s story on her website Check out Arlene’s Tai Chi website and blog Connect with Arlene on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn  
    Coming up next:
     
    Tune in starting June 6 for the 32nd installment of Living Well with MS Coffee Break, and get to k

    • 34 min
    Coffee Break #31 with Nigel Bartram

    Coffee Break #31 with Nigel Bartram

    Welcome to Living Well with MS Coffee Break #31, where we are pleased to welcome Nigel Bartram as our guest!
     
    Our Coffee Break series is your chance to get to know members of our diverse OMS community. In each episode, you’ll join Geoff Allix for an intimate chat with a different member of our global community. Our guests will share their personal stories and talk about their challenges and victories, large and small. We hope you find common cause and a source of inspiration from the stories of these very special people. As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome by emailing podcast@overcomingms.org.
     
    Nigel is a special member of our community – a retired marketing professional who has fused his writing talents and penchant for humor to share his experiences with MS from a very unusual and humorous perspective. We’ll dive more into that shortly, plus we have a very special surprise for you, so stay tuned. We hope you enjoy this episode’s conversation with Nigel, coming to you straight from Paris, France.
     
    Nigel’s Bio (in his own words):
     
    I was born in London but moved around the UK as a child. After a 1st degree in History and then an MBA, my career landed mostly in marketing in the financial sector. In my last job in the UK, as Sales & Marketing Director of a retail stockbroker, following spectacular growth from start-up, I helped lead the company through a heavily oversubscribed IPO onto the London Stock Exchange. 
     
    Aged 43 I upped sticks to follow Caroline, my wife, in what was planned to be a temporary career move for her to France, along with our two young children, and my rubbish French. I became a house husband, looking after the kids, improving my ‘null’ French, and helping build a house in our Paris suburb (with stunning views towards the city. Temporary morphed into permanent. A joyful adventure, imbibing the beauty of our surrounds and French gastronomy became altogether more serious. Settling in France permanently meant I had to find a job. I retrained as a teacher of English, set up a language school, and taught part-time as a university Associate Professor.   
     
    All that was a breeze compared to a body which inexplicably started to go haywire. Overnight, out of nowhere, I lost 90% of the hearing in one ear (which happily came back of its own accord, more or less). In my long-gone student holidays, I worked as a tree surgeon, so heights held no fear for me. So how come I found myself sick with panic driving very slowly along the magnificent Gorge du Verdun with Caroline and the kids on board in 2003? I was petrified by the sheer drop into the ravine, something I’d have relished the challenge of scaling up in yesteryear. I suffered in silence of course.
     
    I wasn’t diagnosed with MS for another six years, time enough for my ‘flappy foot’ and drunken sailor swagger to become my trademark walk. Bit by bit, bucket loads of other symptoms intruded into my daily life. Time enough also for MS to land me in plenty of challenging situations, some of which, even though they may have been difficult at the time, were clearly comic book stuff.
     
    The idea of the book crystalised a few years later when I was on an OMS retreat. To my great surprise and delight, I realised that MS hadn’t robbed any of us MS suffers of our senses of humour. Indeed, it had given us a rich new vein of experiences to mine and chortle over, so important when up to half of people with MS experience depression at some point.
     
    The deal was sealed when the retreat facilitators, Dr Keryn Taylor and Dr Craig Hassed, a world-renowned expert on mindfulness, warmly embraced the idea of such a book for the morale boost it would bring to people with MS, and those close to them, by presenting an altogether lighter side of the condition. Off I went to write down a few of my own stories and harvest those of other people with MS. What a job the latter proved to be!
     
    Questions:
     

    • 39 min
    Ask Jack #7

    Ask Jack #7

    Welcome to the second season premiere of Ask Jack, featuring the prodigious culinary talents of professional chef, writer, and OMSer Jack McNulty answering food and cooking questions from our community that inform their healthy OMS lifestyle. Check out the show notes below that dig deeper into this episode’s topic. You can submit your questions for Jack anytime by emailing them to podcast@overcomingms.org.
     
    Introduction
     
    Welcome back for this season’s second installment of Ask Jack, and have we got a ‘meaty’ topic for you today.
     
    This episode’s topic: meat replacements.
     
    Jack has carefully curated several questions around this topic, and we have solicited some directly from the OMS community. With summer around the corner, at least for those in the northern hemisphere, we expect people will be cleaning off their grills and readying them for action. But since research shows meat is a no-fly zone for people with MS, how do you capture that texture and flavor without the negative health consequences?
     
    Thanks to Jack McNulty, we are about to get some answers. Happy to chat with you again, Jack. We’ve got an audience hungry for advice on this episode’s topic, so let’s dig right into our first question.
     
    Questions
     
    Jack, some people can give up meat itself, but not the taste or texture of it. Are meat placements OK in general within the OMS program? Also, if one does choose to use meat replacements, what should they be on the lookout for in the ingredients? Are there specific ones to avoid? Do you have any fun ideas for creating meat-like yet OMS friendly foods with ingredients like seitan and tofu? Jack, what is your absolute favorite type of veggie burger, and how can our audience source your favorite recipe for it? Switching gears to hear from some specific members of our global OMS community, Linda from Germany has taken to using soy crumbles which have to be rehydrated, making them like chicken or meat. Are they OK to use or are they too processed? And jumping continents but on a related note, Vickie from the US has another soy question. She’s curious about your take on soy curls. She’s not sure if you can access them everywhere, but her understanding is they are extruded and dehydrated soybeans. Can you explain the differences between Soy Curls and TVP? Here’s a question from Leissa: there are so many different types of vegan meat alternatives. It’s often easy to use these alternatives when cooking for a mixed crowd or for the family when you’re tired and need a quick meal. Can you recommend specific options for a quick, easy, OMS friendly, meat alternative meal? Nicola from Canterbury in the UK had a saucy question… about Bolognese. She wanted your best advice for a good ragu. She’s used red, green and brown lentils, but others suggest finely-chopped mushrooms or crumbled tofu. What are your thoughts, Jack? Finally, Jack, I know you’ve been vegan for a long while, so meat has been nowhere near your radar. When one makes a health-based or ethical choice to forgo meat, do you think it’s a good idea to even find substitutes that taste similar, or just leave it behind and explore the bountiful world of other delicious options that are nowhere near the same flavor profile?  
    Thanks for another illuminating episode, Jack. And I look forward to having you back in the thick soup of more questions on the next episode of Ask Jack, which will premiere on July 6th!
     
    About Jack McNulty:
     
    Jack McNulty has been involved in food and cooking most of his life. He’s walked many paths during his culinary journey, including transforming himself from an interested amateur ‘foodie’ to a professional chef with classical training. He has worked for talented and knowledgeable chefs in high-end restaurants in Switzerland, Italy, and France. Jack has operated his own catering business and cooking school, while also finding time to write about cooking. He is currently

    • 1 hr 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
31 Ratings

31 Ratings

cm102019 ,

Well done!

Living Well with MS hits the ball out of the park in featuring inspirational, real-life stories. Others with MS, as well as family members and friends could benefit from listening and understanding. In particular, I enjoyed hearing Shari Short’s unique journey. It was a fantastic interview with in depth questions.

Rb165405 ,

Accessible and informative

Living Well with Multiple Sclerosis offers hope and true stories of recovery from professionals and people with MS who are following the OMS recovery program. I always learn something new and feel part of a movement to self-manage autoimmunity through lifestyle choices.

kbh1717 ,

Truth

Love hearing true facts from Liz!

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