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Meet - Mary Virgi

Ohio, USA

When were you diagnosed with MS? November 2022

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 had Bell’s Palsy when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my son back in March of 2021. It took me about a month to recover with a lot of intentional healing practices and medications. Fast forward to a year and a half later, I was about 11 months postpartum. I had Bell’s Palsy again and double-vision this time. It was very painful and scary. During that time, I had two different brain MRIs. Everything came back unremarkable except, for one tiny lesion on my brain. My primary care doctor told me to follow up with a neurologist in 6 months.


It took me about a month to recover from this attack too. I made an effort to do everything I could to improve my condition, as rapidly as possible. I was all about HEALING in every way. Even though I started to feel better after a few weeks, I wanted to figure out the root cause, as quickly as possible. I met with a neurologist, who recommended a spinal tap and more bloodwork. This was around early September' 2022. After a week of ruling out every possible disease under the sun, I got a call from my neurologist. He told me the most possible and probable cause of this was MS. I was completely devastated.

I met with an MS specialist in October'2022 and she advised me to get another brain and spine MRI in November. I spent 1.5 hours in the MRI. A few hours after, I met with her to discuss the results and I was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS. This is defined as “a type of MS where you have relapses (symptoms getting worse) followed by recovery (that's when it's “remitting)".

It has only been 5 months since my official diagnosis. I feel like, I took the time, I needed to process the grief of this new diagnosis. Now, I am to the point of accepting it and making the absolute BEST out of it. It has already given me so much such as...a positive perspective change, I no longer take anything for granted, I appreciate the days I feel good (which is often), I now slow down to enjoy the little things in life, and I am intentional about self-care! By taking care of myself, I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, and person. When I had Bell’s Palsy, my prayer every day was to be able to smile again. And every day, I am thankful to be able to do that. It may be crazy to say, but I really feel like MS has changed my life for the better. It is a blessing in disguise and if you look for the good, you will find it. As my sister said, “God makes no mistakes.” I believe that to be true! I’ll take the cards I’ve been dealt and try my best to make a positive change from them. Hopefully, I can inspire others in the process.


#2: What MS symptoms do you have and how do you manage them on a daily basis?


I experience tingling in my fingers. I also take a supplement called Nervive that helps it!


#3: Who/What has been your most important support system?


My family, friends, MS Neurologist & MS community have been my greatest sources of support.


#4: Do you use any accessories like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to manage daily activities?


No.



#5: How do you stay positive and motivated in your daily life? What do you do for self-care?


I stay motivated by meditating daily and living fully in the present. I also practice self-care, exercise and I try my best to eat healthy daily. I lean on my support system too. I am a big advocate for mental health I and nurture mine in every way I can. I also try to practice what I preach, every day! Read my Instagram page for ideas. More to come!


#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?



Lean on your support! Talk to others with MS and know that everyone is different. But you’re in this together. Trust that you will be okay. Let your faith be bigger than your fear and find the positive in this diagnosis. You’ve got this! Having a chronic illness is a life-changing diagnosis and it has made me so appreciative of all of the love and support in my life. I am forever grateful for my family, friends, and my MS community. I’ve already talked to and met some truly amazing people with stories of inspiration and hope and this is only the beginning. I pray I can bring some light and hope to your life and help you feel a little less alone. Even though there will be hard times, we WILL get through them together.


#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 haven't yet. Hopefully, one day I will. However, I started an MS Instagram page about a month ago @dontmswithmindfulmary. Because, I wanted to share my MS story with my new followers, so they could learn a little bit about my MS experiences. My goal also for this page is to share with you the things that help me de-stress. These are simple yet powerful habits, techniques, and strategies that have helped me heal during my hardest times. I hope some of these might help you too. Remember, we’re in this together! I also want to educate people about MS and bring awareness. Hopefully, there will be a cure in our lifetime! Thanks for listening to my story and for joining me on my journey.


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