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Multiple Sclerosis at 29

The gift of sight is not something that we think about or wake up grateful for on a daily basis. But I do. It was as if someone turned off a light switch. One moment I could see the blue sky, my children’t faces, and my husband’s smile, and the next, I could not. Legally blind for eight solid weeks, and without explanation.

A myriad of other symptoms arose all while I was in the middle of a pregnancy. At first we blamed it on stress, but after a sea of doctors, specialists, appointments, and tests, the words were finally uttered: multiple sclerosis. I went numb emotionally, in complete denial that my once healthy 29-year-old body that ran half marathons and kept up an active lifestyle could betray me with an autoimmune disease.

My doctors were factual, not empathetic. They described multiple sclerosis as “incurable,” “lifelong,” “chronic,” and “debilitating”. Yet something inside of me refused to give into discouragement, refused to become a statistic, and refused to ask, “Why me?” Instead I tried to figure out what I could control. I may not be able to control the fact that I have MS, but I could control my health, particularly what I ate and how I exercised. I wasn’t going to give my body an excuse for falling apart when I could choose to live my life the healthiest was possible.

Taking a proactive role gave me some sense of control, some sense of meaning in this confusing and misunderstood disease. That’s when I was introduced to Vitamix. I remember walking by the demonstration, seeing the representative surrounded by fruits and vegetables, and hearing him talk about how healthy your life could be. It was my beacon of hope. Exactly what I had been looking for: something that could enable a healthier was of eating and make it easy at the same time.

Initially I purchased the Vitamix for selfish reasons. It was for me, for my MS, and for my health. It didn’t take long to see that the purchase was not selfish at all. It was a turning point for my entire family. Knowing that MS can be genetic, I worried about my husband and his family’s medical history, which is riddled with diabetes and cancer. Between my husband and myself, my children had alarming odds for risky health issues. Quickly, the focus shifted from me to my family.

Vitamix enabled me to eat healthier, and my husband and three children benefited as well. My baby never saw a jar of commercial baby food. Every single bite that went into his growing body was fresh, organic, locally grown and homemade in the Vitamix. My kindergartener and preschooler devoured a spinach, fruit, and flax smoothie every single day before school, and would often ask for another as a snack. Our Vitamix became an extension of our family, there for us both day and night.

Processed foods, artificial colors, and sweeteners became strangers in our house. And miraculously, we noticed that my daughter’s asthma became nonexistent. She no longer needed an inhaler and her allergist could not explain the improvement. My husband’s heartburn disappeared. My son became more attentive and focused at school. And even more amazing, my MS notable improved. My neurologist could not explain my improvement and refused to believe it had anything to do with food. Realizing that our family results may not be typical, we believe that our diet made a difference. We are replacing numerous doctor appointments and chemical-laden, processed foods with abundant fruits and vegetables.

Soda has been replaced with juicing kale, carrots, and chard. Homemade applesauce is our medicine, so to speak. For us, Vitamix has enabled a lifestyle change. And incredible, it has given us all hope for a bright and healthy future. For that, I am forever grateful.

By Clairissa Cooper, Texas