When were you diagnosed with MS? September 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 received my official diagnosis in September 2020, just two months before my wedding. At that time, I was frightened and anxious that my fiancé would leave me. However, I consider myself fortunate to have married a man who is always there for me, supports me, and understands the difficulties, I go through.
My life has certainly changed for the better! Having MS has taught me to prioritize self-care and not to sweat the small things in life. Although I'm not perfect, I have become more conscious of what I eat, and I am more committed to exercising and taking better care of myself overall.
#2: What MS symptoms do you have and how do you manage them on a daily basis?
My main symptoms are fatigue, heat sensitivity, brain fog, and occasional numbness. I manage my fatigue and brain fog by eating small well-balanced meals throughout the day, working out, and ensuring I do the more difficult tasks earlier in the day. I manage heat sensitivity by carrying a portable fan and I use cooling packs. My favorite cooling packs are ReLeaf Packs. I also wear light weight clothing during the warmer months too.
#3: Who/What has been your most important support system?
I draw strength from my faith and my relationship with Jesus. My family is my driving force. They constantly motivate me to keep fighting, maintain good health, and find joy and laughter in life. I am fortunate to have an exceptional healthcare team, led by Dr. Kalina Sanders and her nurse practitioner Megan Weigel, who are associated with Baptist Beaches Neurology. Their exceptional talents, intelligence, optimism, and passion for the MS community make them outstanding caregivers who always take the time to listen to my concerns.
#4: Do you use any accessories like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to manage daily activities?
#5: How do you stay positive and motivated in your daily life? What do you do for self-care?
To stay positive, I surround myself with positive people, I laugh throughout the day, and I do the things that bring me joy.
As for selfcare...I work out, I cook more at home, I take time to go for massages and I get my nails done.
#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?
Oh gosh, where do I began! My words of advice would be to:
1. Have faith and laugh;
2. Give yourself grace. It's okay to say no to attending events;
3. It's okay to cry and be angry. Allow yourself to grieve;
4. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and brings you joy; and
5. Practice selfcare.
#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 started my Instagram page @thesouthernpeachmagnolia to connect with other MS Warriors and to let other people know that you thrive and have a great life while living with MS.
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