"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them"
MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MS
The dates on the links below are when the updates to my autobiography / health diary
were completed. The updates usually cover the time period since the previous one.
There is overlap in what I wrote, as the health diary updates were originally written
for a different site than this one. There are some specific topics which are named
rather than dated, and these have been put in approximately when I was doing them
/ they occurred.
How Sylvie's skydive for MS changed her life and brought her love.
Sylvia Brown, 32, started with symptoms of MS in 1994. Now 11 years later having
discovered many ways of living with MS she now runs GYMS (a Group for Young MSers)
in Sheffield, in order to convey the message to people with MS that you don't have
to be a Victim to this disease. Here is my Story:
When I was diagnosed with MS I was very frightened. I thought I would soon be confined
to a wheelchair and that my life would be over. I tried my best to get on with my
life but the MS was always there, progressing, and whispering to me, 'You are living
on borrowed time you know! By 24 my mobility began to visibly deteriorate. I could
no longer hide the MS, so I decided to tell the world by jumping out of an airplane
at 13 000 ft!
Photo of Sylvie Skydiving!
My tandem skydive for MS made front page news and raised £2000 for MS Charities.
Everyone said I was really brave but to me brave was getting up in the morning and
facing the world with MS! Looking back I see my tandem skydive as a turning point.
I response I got from the people of Sheffield gave me the hope and courage to fight
on. Six months after my jump however, finding myself wheelchair bound and in free-fall
decline I knew that I had to start trying to Take Control of MS myself.
I logged onto the Internet and talked with MSers from all over the world. It was
wonderful, suddenly I was no longer alone! Immediately I started changing my life!
I went to see a good Nutrition Consultant, and he started me on the MS Diet, based
on white meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and vitamin supplements, in particular
D3, to try to stabilise my progressive condition. I felt like I had nothing to lose
by trying and only my life to gain.
Since this time 5 and a half years a go there have been good times and bad times
with the MS but overall the MS has not progressed at all. I am gaining in strength
and can even walk short distances. After a relapse I bounce back and recover naturally
so although I still have MS, it is a lot more stable and I no longer live with the
fear of MS.
As times goes by I am improving in my health, energy levels and functionality and
though it is a long road to Recovery I am gradually achieving more and more and reclaiming
more and more independance and reclaiming control over different aspects of my life
again, hey I'm even planning my way back to work, through various opportunities working
from home. Now that will be another real leap of faith! My tandem skydive has even
lead me to finding my Mr. Right, well Mr wRight actually.
Through the skydive publicity I made friends with former pop-star from ABC, Stephen
Singleton! Stephen really helped me get my life back on track by taking me swimming
every week ever since! When I decided I wanted to purchase a mobility scooter he
introduced me to his Uncle, Steve Wright, who runs 'Fair Price Mobility', and this
lead to romance!
Stephen Singleton (left) with Sylvie & Steve Wright (right), the Scooterman
Yes, I bought the scooter and got the scooter man too! We are a good team and I am
really proud of Steve because he is a genuine, honest man who makes sure disabled
people get a fair deal by refusing to make huge profits on the scooters he sells.
He really looks after his Customers!
The icing on the cake have been out trips out to the sunny Florida Keys with Steve,
swimming with dolphins and this year I plan to try scuba diving, after all LIFE IS
FOR LIVING! The sunshine is the best medicine for MS in the world!
Steve & Sylvie in the Everglades, Florida
Steve is a real man. He is also rather a nutter. He has three classic Cars, a 1959
Thunderbird, a 1958 Edsel and a 1960 Buick Electra Convertible, soon to be shipped
to the UK. It is mad and great fun driving around in these cars and we can't wait
for the Buick to arrive from the States
Without the MS Diet I dread to think what my life would have been like, had MS continued
to progress at such a rate. There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence to show that
your diet plays a crucial role in MS. Many people with MS like me, who radically
change their diet see results. Your condition gradually improves. Many doctors have
seen this for themselves.
When you study the epidemiology of MS it all adds up and even the scientific theory
behind it is frighteningly plausible. I simply cannot believe that all this evidence
can be so blatantly ignored. This Research Avenue has been neglected far too long
and it is people like myself with MS who are paying the price! Doctors don't recommend
diet for their MS patients because there is not enough scientific proof.
Nearly all the research on MS has been on expensive drugs that could net a good profit
for the drug companies. There is no money to be made from research on diet So the
MS Diet Group has launched a campaign to urge the government to take control of research
into diet and MS. We see diet as a realistic, cheap and effective treatment for MS.
It's our best hope for MS.
Details of the diet and research on which it is based can be found on the Group's
website (http://www.ms-diet.org). You can also read Dr. Ashton Embry's extensive
and fascinating work in this field at www.direct-ms.org. I have also set up a petition
in support of the Campaign to get vital Research carried out in the field of 'MS
and Diet', which already has well over 500 signatures: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/747307120
My message to people with MS is there really is so much you can do to change your
life and Help Yourself. The supplemented MS Diet is crucial, by changing your diet,
alongside exercising, avoiding stress, laughing, loving or even leaping out of airplanes!
I am living proof! You just have to be prepared to search and search, discover what
works for you and make whatever lifestyle changes are necessary. Do whatever it takes
and above all Never Give Up!
----------------------------------------------------------------- Another mad Venture
I recently achieved another ambition! I did an Abseil off the Bristol Hotel in Sheffield
on the 21st of July 2002. It was Awesome and my disability didn't stop me. I raised
£1300 and the other five in the "Great Sheffield Abseil" Team raised at least another
£500. The event was organised through Skyline.
Update: In 2003 I managed to complete my real-life Abseil! This was accomplishing
my Goal of working for a living! This has been a massive leap of faith, and a goal
I've been striving for for quite some time! I knew that I'd make it I just wasn't
sure how or when!
Choosing to do this is certainly not the easy path. That would have been to stay
on income support in the security of my little bungalow! But I wanted to move forward
with my life in spite of the risks to my security and health. And when the time was
right I knew I had to follow my heart and go for it!
But life was pushing me in that direction anyway. I'd put my partner Steve on the
Internet selling mobility scooters and the business had really taken off, surpassing
all our expectations! I ended up doubling his sales. Now there is a lesson in the
importance in not judging a book by it's cover! Many people think it is wonderful
the way Steve has 'taken me on', and yet it in reality it is pretty wonderful for
the both of us! Steve has never looked at our relationship in this way anyway and
now he is reaping the rewards.
I've learnt html from scratch and gained various web design qualifications over the
last few years, and now here I am now running two Internet businesses and have a
part-time job! I have successfully rented Steve's Unit in the Florida Keys out for
him through the Internet for most of the year. This year (2004). I have now launched
a third business, a webpage selling Stairlifts: http://www.discount-stairlifts.co.uk,
(Update: Site discontinued, new stairlift I made at www.fairprice-mobility-scooters.co.uk/starlift)
However, what finally enabled me to take this leap of faith was moving into a lovely
house, which Steve and I have bought together. We have set up the house so that I
can manage independently (stairlift, grab rails, scooter etc) and I am so happy here.
The house is in the ideal location for me (just down the road from my bungalow) and
we even have a palm tree in the garden (our mini Florida!). Although it was a risk
my heart told me that this way the right thing to do! And because we don't have a
mortgage the goal of earning enough money to live off became achievable.
So that is why, with the move I came off benefits. I am now self-employed and have
a part-time job working on this webpage for the MSRC! My greatest problem is overdoing
things. I tend to work too long on the computer and that does take it toll! But it
is all so worthwhile.
When I look back it is sometimes hard to believe just how far I have come. I have
gone from 20 hours care a week on income support for incapacity to total independence
both physically and financially! It has taken me 6 years and fate has played a big
role in how it all developed and became possible but at the end of the day I'm the
one who made it all happen!
The crazy thing is I'm doing all this in spite of the fact that I do not have my
full health. I do get very tired, have limited mobility and have to dash to the toilet
a lot, but I'm not letting any of that stop me. My greatest lesson yet though is
to really learn how to pace myself!
Thankfully though our Winter vacations in the Florida Keys keep getting longer and
longer! This year we were over in the States for a full 8 weeks! The break, sunshine
and daily swimming did me a power of good, and getting away gives you a good perspective
This year we even went on a two week trip starting in Las Vegas and travelling 2
000 miles around the Grande Canyon and all it's neighbouring canyons in a Campervan!
Although a challenge I wasn't nervous about this Venture at all and it turned out
to be the trip of a lifetime! Now that was what I'd call living life to the full!
I really am a very lucky lady!
This page was originally posted on the health diaries site, it is still there but
also been posted here in case that site disappears, below are the comments that are
posted there in response to my diary blog.
Dear Sylvie: I just wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your posts. You
have such a positive attitude and great inner strength. I applaud you. I also wanted
to let you know that I signed the petition for the Campaign for Research into 'Diet
and Multiple Sclerosis'. I shall encourage my contacts to visit the petition site
and ask for their contributions as well. I am new to the Health Diaries and just
published my first post under Auto-Immune (Lupus) but I don't think my page link
is yet published on the home page of the Health Diaries. But, if you like, you can
take a look at: http://www.healthdiaries.com/living-with-lupus.htm I am sure the
page will soon be available from the home page. Thanks, again, for your inspirational
1. Posted by Carleene on July 9, 2004
Hi Sylvie,I love your posts :-)Laura
2. Posted by Anonymous on July 19, 2004
Hi Sylvie - I found your story to be amazing and incredibly inspiring. You are certainly
an example for us all. What amazing courage, spirit, positivity you have in your
life and give to others. I literally found your site under the oddest of circumstances.
I am a writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles and have recently been inspired by Cabaret
Voltaire collage videos. Anyway, I went online this evening doing a Google search
to find more videos that I may not own, and one thing led to another and I came to
this site. I mean, really, can you believe it? I'm a student of Kabbalah and everything
happens for a reason. That being said, I wish all the best for a continued wonderful
and inspiring life. Take care. Mo Abersheid.