Woman decides to take drug-free path in treating multiple sclerosis



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Posted on May 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Updated Monday, May 14 at 6:01 PM

The whirring of a food processor is the sound of healing for Clairissa Cooper.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2009, but against doctor's orders, chose to skip the drugs. Instead, she found a gluten-free, plant-based diet, that she calls her medicine.

"Literally within five minutes of drinking one of these, I can feel the difference," Cooper said. "It's incredible."

From kale to beets and spinach, mostly grown in her backyard, Clarissa juices daily.

And her body took notice. Between diet and exercise, she dropped 20 pounds right away.

She admits adapting the diet is a process - a total change in lifestyle - so she blogs about it, from recipes to inspirational thoughts.

All of this, a choice she said she has to make.

"Is it worth the sacrifice of feeling healthy, versus having the possibility of ending up in a wheelchair one day?" she said. "It keeps me going, keeps me motivated."

And her MRIs are showing improvement.

The lesions on her brain are shrinking, if not gone. Doctors say she may simply be in the relapsing phase of the disease.

But Cooper said the true proof is in how she feels.

"I know that it is working, no matter what studies or scientific evidence has shown," she said. "I feel it. I feel the change, the differences inside me."

And ever since the diet change, she hasn't had any MS episodes, like losing eyesight, or the feeling in her legs, as she has in the past.

"I used to have really bad emotional and physical fatigue," Cooper said. "All of the sudden, I felt like my  normal self again."

The juice concoctions are a bit salty, but for Cooper, the taste is irrelevant - it's the outcome that matters.

It gives the mother of three the hope of watching her children grow up.

"That decision was a personal one, that I did some soul searching with," Cooper said. "And when I came to the decision that drugs were not for me, I was at peace with that."

E-mail sslater@wfaa.com