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Meet - Vanessa Stil

Brussels, Belgium

When were you diagnosed with MS? 2000

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 was diagnosed with MS at age 25. I was going through a very stressful moment in my life; because, I was laid off suddenly. I was already experiencing a few symptoms that I passed off as stress-related and so I didn't worry about them too much. Then one day out of the blue, I had optic neuritis. That's when my doctors really got worried and scheduled me for an MRI. The results were obvious. The diagnosis was confirmed quickly after a neurological exam and some additional tests. So you can just imagine how I was feeling at the time. I lost my job, my relationship, partially due to the diagnosis that scared my partner, and as a result, I went into a heavy depression.

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

I mainly suffer from my initial symptoms which include optic neuritis, muscle stiffness, and numbness. Fatigue is also prevalent. I have created a series of habits that help me beat fatigue, most of the time. This way, I am able to work full time, I'm a single mom building a side hustle to be able to quit my 9 to 5 and be more present for my son. Overall, I am able to live a fulfilling life. I have changed my eating habits, I exercise almost daily and, most importantly I have learned to manage my stress levels. Mainly because this is one of the main triggers that cause my flare-ups.

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

Re-programming my mindset was a real game-changer for me. I followed one of Marisa Peer's Rapid Transformation Therapy training techniques. This enabled me to see past my current challenges. After that, I was able to build my life's vision. This helps me concentrate on what really matters to me. I know I have a wonderful goal to achieve. My own piece of paradise on earth. This motivates me every day to follow my healthy habits and accept my challenges for what they are... temporary hick-ups! However, I remain focused, no matter what.

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

I do not need any accessories at this time.

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

I journal every day. When I'm having a very good time, I make a mental note of it and I start my day with the things I'm grateful for daily. To remain positive for the long term, I read my past accomplishments and focus on my life's vision. I have printed images of where I want to live and how I want to live, to keep me motivated. I have a morning routine. I wake up, exercise, eat breakfast, and then I have a relaxing shower. After that, I'm pumped up for the day! If needed, I take a nap after lunch. This way I'm able to keep up with my day.

#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?

Being diagnosed is not the end of your life. It is the beginning of a new one. A better version of yourself lies ahead of you. Reach out to the MS community. Don't stay in your corner...

#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?

During the first lockdown, post-diagnosis, I took the time to reflect on my journey, especially on my values and priorities in life. By taking this step back, I realized how much value I could bring to people who are struggling with this disease. I launched a course with a holistic approach based on 3 pillars that matters the most, when it comes to fighting this disease. It encompasses the mind, body, and soul. In a sentence, you can anticipate a comprehensive guide consisting of practical tips, step-by-step instructions, and thought-provoking questions that will assist you in discovering your own individualized approach to implementing the advice and recommendations related to MS.

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