When were you diagnosed with MS? 2020
What type of MS do you have? Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
#1: Can you tell us a little about your journey with MS. How did you feel about your initial diagnosis and how it has affected your life?
I felt a sense of relief when I was diagnosed with MS, as it provided an explanation for what had been affecting me for several years. My immediate response was to seek more knowledge, connect with others who were also fighting MS, and gather as much information as possible about this chronic condition.
#2: What MS symptoms do you have and how do you manage them on a daily basis?
I experienced a range of symptoms such as pain, occasional blurred vision and other vision-related problems, numbness, and tingling in my limbs. Additionally, I frequently suffer from the MS hug, which has recently been affecting my head, as well as my core. Despite not having started an MS medication yet, I manage these symptoms through practices such as prayer and meditation, as well as by staying in touch with other MS patients and remaining compliant with other prescribed medications.
#3: Who/What has been your most important support system?
When I was diagnosed with MS, an elder at my church who uses a wheelchair offered invaluable support. His life story is remarkable, and as a storyteller, I value the experience, strength, and hope that can be gained from other people. His deep commitment to God and his family also make him an authentic and inspiring figure. Because, I lacked positive male role models in my life, he has been a crucial influence. Additionally, my family has been an unwavering source of support, and I am fortunate to have four close friends Harry, Jannet, Courtney, and Dave. Who are always there for me. Finally, my children, Marlee Jo and Joseph, who are 8 and 9, are also a vital part of my support system.
#4: Do you use any accessories like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to manage daily activities?
Not at the moment, however, I keep my eyes out for these all the time. Because, I know that there is a possibility that I may need to use one in the future. After reading a book by Meg Lewellyn following my diagnosis, in which she shared her journey of using a Segway for mobility, I have been inspired by her unconventional approach. I admire individuals who think creatively and find innovative solutions, and she has achieved remarkable success with her unique approach.
#5: How do you stay positive and motivated in your daily life? What do you do for self-care?
I look at MS with a glass-half-full perspective. I was CHOSEN for this particular illness; as well as, for Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HoCM), and I am going to face them with as much courage, strength, and KNOWLEDGE as possible. I don't like taking medications; however, I realize some are necessary for health management. I read the Bible. I pray. I attend church and share my testimony as often as I can.
#6: Your story and experiences with MS are incredibly valuable and can provide encouragement and motivation to others in the community. What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with MS or going through a challenging time right now?
Educate yourselves. ADVOCATE for yourself as a patient. If you don't agree with something the doctor says, get a second opinion. Be gracious! Have faith and lean on God. He is there for YOU and is rooting for YOU! Stay active and embrace your mobility. Find others who have a positive perspective on this awful, unfair, confusing illness. Staying positive is essential!
#7: Have you started a business or mission related to MS? Can you tell us about it and what inspired you to take this step?
I have not yet, but that's a good idea! Despite having degrees in journalism and nursing, I am currently working as a retail assistant manager and looking for other job opportunities. I've received a lot of encouragement from people to write a fictional autobiography about my life, which includes my experiences with MS, parental alienation, and addiction, the latter of which has made me apprehensive about taking medication. Interestingly, my journey has revolved around healthcare, and I now find myself on the receiving end of healthcare services.
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