“It’s your life in your own hands” Ann Powell tells me firmly – and she thoroughly believes every word.
After 25 years of suffering from a multiple sclerosis (MS), she felt she’d exhausted the limits of conventional medicine.
Ann had first shown signs of the illness 30 years ago when she had suddenly lost vision in one of her eyes – a condition known as optic neuritis.
After six months she got her vision back, but doctors were unable to determine what had caused the blindness in the first place.
“I just assumed the doctors knew what was going on and that was it,” she remembers. However it took another ten years for medics to give her the proper diagnoses.
MS is a degenerative autoimmune disease which affects the central nervous system, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision.
After see her condition deteriorate over the course of many years, a friend suggested she try ayurvedic medicine – an ancient Indian healthcare system which promotes the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices. Feeling the benefit, Ann decided to look into alternative ways of dealing with her illness through diet and spiritual wellbeing.
“I feel quite passionate about diet and nutrition,” the 61–year–old says. “I think that you should eliminate saturated fat, so you should go with plant–based whole foods such as seeds and oils.”
She explained that fats which are solid at room temperature harden the blood vessels, which can have an adverse effect on people with autoimmune diseases.
Ann is also a great believer in the benefits of organic food and growing her own produce.
“It’s organic food that you grow yourself and you know the source of it,” she explains.
Nowadays Ann describes her pain level as being around three or four out of ten.
“When I walk at the moment I’m okay, but other times I have to walk with a stick,” she said.
She said since trying alternative healthcare, the rate of her condition’s decline has lessened significantly.
Ann has now set up a support group for anyone suffering from, or affected by, an autoimmune disease such as MS.
The purpose of the group is to allow people to talk about their conditions and swap ideas and experiences.
The group will meet this Thursday, February 20, at Arc Leisure Centre, Matlock, at 7pm. For more, call Ann on 07896 285 615.