I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 1992, at the age of 33. I was taking college classes to complete my bachelor's degree in business. This diagnosis took 6 years, at minimum, to achieve, as I was always fatigued and depressed in my college years. Facial neuralgia presented in winter 1986 following having my first child, and was explained as a "cold", because the doctor was mystified.
Bilateral leg, and foot, numbness occurred in summer 1991, explained as walking too much around a golf course, by another physician. The symptoms, which brought the order for the MRI which diagnosed MS in 1992, was a loss of grip in my right hand, along with speaking difficulty caused by weak muscles in my throat.
MS has to be one of the loneliest and life-limiting diseases!! Talk about DIMINISHMENT!
For more than 20 years, MS stole my abilities to walk, run, skate, play tennis, hold a child, dance, play my piano, climb steps, be gainfully employed, etc. Some I have overcome, as I dance and play the piano today, and some will probably remain forever, as I can not play tennis, climb steps, run or hold a full time job with an employer; so typical of MS-the diminished life.
Between 1992 and 1995, I suffered with seizures, fatigue, bladder issues and attacks at
6-month intervals, which affected my walking and standing ability. There was a Seasonal Pattern to attacks that I am only now aware of; every December I was sicker.
In December 1995, I began a 7-month long, unsuccessful, attempt at Betaseron therapy; the result was severe migraine headaches.
In November 1997, I began Copaxone Therapy. I have had disfiguring lipo-atrophy from the shots. I have been off of all medication since March 2013, and I am doing well, even in heat and humidity my legs do not buckle.
I did go into a wheelchair in 1995, following Betaseron treatment. I came out of a wheelchair in 1997 and only used a cane about 6 months after Copaxone began. I journeyed to Spain with my family, without the chair in the hot, dry, summer of 1998, and walked miles around Chicago from 2010-2012, when the conditions of air was optimal. When air quality was not (heat and humidity), I suffered with incontinence and fatigue. I currently am located in a section of Florida to enjoy as unadulterated sunshine, and air quality, as I keep searching for.
My favorite medicine has become Sailing!! Since it appears Oxygen, and pure, vital, air intake is a must, it makes logical sense. I began in 2004, and hope to never stop. I can not say enough how positive an experience an adaptive sailing program can be to any person with MS. It is not only great for self-esteem, but I have learned in my mind writing this book what my heart knew: SAILING AND BEING ON THE WATER IS BENEFICIAL FOR THE COURSE OF THIS CONDITION! I, like many who developed MS, was always participating, and thrived on, physical activity and sports. I was very depressed to experience MS not allowing me to move. My idea of self-worth did not mean being relegated by a Rehab counselor to emptying the dishwasher from a wheelchair. That was not OK with me!! Unacceptable! Now each and every day, I strive to do just one thing physically that shows I have beat this condition, because I now know the enemies. I sat accepting the fate of not dancing, and that is behind me I trust, for I never want to stop dancing!
I attribute recovery to a lifestyle choice I was told to avoid by Physicians from day of my diagnosis. I never gave up motion!! I was forced to give up high intensity aerobics for yoga, and never gave up hand-weight workouts even if I had to do them on the floor. I was proactive to avoid man-made chemicals in all food I purchased beginning over 15 years ago. I absorbed sunlight during seasons that provided healthy UVB rays for vitamin D3 formation. During my August visits with my neurologist, I was chastised for being tanned, despite being fine on walk tests, part of my exam. The absorption of proper sunlight was not bad. No, it was a good thing for MS - it meant my blood levels of D3 were optimum. Now I am an expert on D3 and try to educate others.
My doctors view my stability, and betterment, as all about drug therapy, but now because I am drug-less, it cannot even be said.
I trust it was not completely about the daily injections with a needle, or that I was lucky to have the" right type of MS". I now understand, I did not fit, literally and figuratively, into MS's paradigm of progression. My gut instinct took the right path towards healing.
My disease has been influenced simultaneously by my nutrition, exercise and constantly having the body and mind in motion. It is about being outdoors when it invigorates, even if it hurts or takes enormous effort, because of fatigue and pain, like fighting against a strong tide.
Since I had so much faith in my understanding that reducing unhealthy preservatives (chemicals), consuming the proper antioxidants, and absorbing vitamin D3, which was beneficial to MS, I pursued and received my Master's in Human Nutrition in 2003 from the University of Bridgeport.
I wrote a master's thesis as is mentioned below, about a cluster of Multiple Sclerosis I was part of in East Boston, MA, home to Logan Airport, and other industry.
I was invited to present a poster synopsis of my thesis work by
Harvard Medical School in 2004 at Harvard's Biomedical Science Career Fair in Boston held annually in the spring.
The authoring of this book, is mostly about a book that was just waiting in my heart to write; the journey was long, but the result, I state with all humbleness, is remarkable. God was my muse, I held the pen.
Charlotte Harbor, FL