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.
Vickie Hadge, Ambassador for Manchester, Connecticut, US
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