‘How I beat MS’: 17 years after being diagnosed, this doctor is symptom-free, thanks to a simple 7-step plan other experts now hail
By JONATHAN GORNALL FOR THE DAILY MAIL
George Jelinek will never forget the day he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
‘It was Sunday, April 19, 1999, at about 4pm,’ he says. ‘In an instant I felt the bottom fall out of my world.
‘I knew exactly how bad MS could get and the news was utterly devastating.’
He was 45, a father of three and a professor of emergency medicine at the peak of his career.
Eighteen years earlier, his wheelchair-bound mother, Eva, worn down by a 16-year losing battle with the same disease, had taken her own life at the age of 58.
Professor Jelinek and his four siblings had only been able to look on helplessly as their mother, in constant pain, had become totally dependent upon others.
His own symptoms first occurred just six days before his diagnosis. He noticed ‘an unusual sensation in the big toe of my left foot’ while at work.
Over the next couple of days, he grew increasingly concerned as the strange numbness spread quickly to his foot and then up his leg.
Even though there was no pain, he assumed he had some kind of back injury, such as a slipped disc.
Looking back, he says: ‘My very first thought should have been “I’ve got MS”. It’s known to run in families, I was the right age and the symptoms were typical. But denial is a wonderful thing.’
By the Sunday, when he finally managed to see a neurologist, the numbness had spread to his waist and he was ‘in a bit of a panic’. But Professor Jelinek was still puzzled when the specialist started talking about MS and his mother.
‘I can recall very clearly the second the penny dropped because it was a massive penny that suddenly fell from the clouds and smashed on the table.’