My diagnosis happened on May 25th, 2017 (National Wine Day in the United States) but my MS story goes back a further 12 years when I started to experience some walking difficulties. Over the course of a week some odd feelings in my right foot escalated to the point where I wasn’t able to lift my right foot.
After a number of doctor appointments and tests, including multiple MRIs, I was admitted into the hospital and started on I.V. steroids. I saw many doctors and had many tests including a lumbar puncture.
“You’re going to put that needle where? And do what now?”
The spinal fluid came back inconclusive. The steroids worked their magic and I was sent home with instructions to follow up with my neurologist. Although they saw a lesion on my spine in my neck, they weren't convinced it was MS and wanted to monitor me. I was more than happy to take a 'wait and see' approach as MS sounded very scary! I prefer to take a 'glass half full', of Prosecco or Carbernet, and refillable view!
After this wake up call I started paying a bit more attention to my health; to help get my balance back I started yoga, I added meditation and started eating more of a vegetarian diet.
Over the next two years I had MRIs and exams every six months with no new symptoms or lesions. My neurologist said it could have been a 'monophasic event' - a one time thing (my new favourite phrase) and sent me on my way with the advice to call him if anything changed.
“Hooray! Bye-bye doctor!”
Over the next few years I kept up with yoga, meditation, and committed to a vegetarian diet. Life moved merrily along and I was apparently healthy. I went back to living my life; running a virtual business from my home, spending time with my husband, two kids and grandson and having tons of fun with my girlfriends (my tribe). I even did a handstand to celebrate my 50th birthday!
"Then in late 2015 the numbness started. Slowly. Subtly."
First in my left foot, then my left hand and in a small area of my face. It wasn’t consistent. It sometimes came on during heavy exercise but like many MS patients I was in complete denial; “It’s nothing,” “I overdid it,” or “I must have pinched a nerve.”
This went on for several months until I started to get some pain in my heel when I walked too far or exercised too hard. I started tripping and I had some unexplained fatigue. It also seemed to take longer for me to recover from colds and viruses. I finally went to the doctor to get it checked out.
Over the course of the next year I saw five different doctors and specialists and endured many, many more medical tests before arriving at an MS diagnosis. I was sent home with a handful of glossy pamphlets of different drugs to consider. Apparently I would be able to ride horses, paint, and hike mountains according to the pretty pictures in the pamphlets!
My body was in a state of ‘dis-ease’. I needed to find ways to help it back into a state of ease. While looking for complementary therapies I came across the Overcoming MS website and promptly ordered the book. It made perfect sense to me! I had already been doing many of the 7 steps and I credit them with keeping me relapse free for 12 years.
I immediately started implementing more of the OMS program into my life and I am happy to report that my MRIs are still stable and I am feeling awesome!
I am grateful to have found OMS and credit the program and community with helping me manage my ‘dis-ease’. I know the combined approach of managing my diet, lifestyle, and medications will keep my ‘dis-ease’ at bay and my symptoms manageable.
I am still running my business, hanging with my family and having tons of fun with tribe. Every May 25th on my ‘diagnosiversary’ I raise a glass and toast to my good health.
To join your local OMS Circle visit our Circle pages or if you would like to find out more about becoming an Ambassador and starting a new circle to support others living nearby with following the OMS Program.