Invisible illness comes with many ups and downs along the journey. When you’re first diagnosed and suddenly find yourself living in a hospital, it can come as a bit of a shock. You may have to have tests you’ve only ever seen on Grey’s Anatomy, or even start on a medication that involves something you’re not used to. For me it was my first injectable treatment—I just couldn’t get on with it. I remember having panic attack after panic attack.
When I was first diagnosed 6 years ago, I was petrified of needles. Blood tests, I found, were always really difficult for me. I’d be sitting in the waiting room, palms sweating, heart beating like crazy, I couldn't breathe. Constantly thinking to myself, “I can’t do this...”
From the moment of my diagnosis, I was determined not to let MS defeat me. Although I was terrified of what MS would mean for my future, I slowly gathered my armor; (information), made my battle plan (improved diet, exercise, sleep and stress management strategies) and planted my feet for a fight.
Lines were drawn between me and my immune system, both sides gaining and losing ground. While I hoped for a truce, I diligently worked on fortifying myself from the inside out, but MS was persistent. Through the years, I learned to acknowledge and trust in attributes that I never knew I had. I came to understand that these qualities were secret weapons to help me in my fight toward wellness.
Processed food came on the scene when I was in grade school. My mother was working full time when I was in fourth grade, plus another part time job when I was in high school. I had three sisters and a brother. I remember spending a lot of time home with my sisters and brother, but I don’t really remember my mom being there, so she must have been working many hours.
I remember sitting down for dinners and picking numbers (small numbers on yellow pieces of paper that were thrown into a hat), to allow you to pick the leftover of your choice. This was a great game. Would it be left over hamburger helper, casserole, mac and cheese? I remember the big gallon jugs of milk and cheese we always had and the bread we ate. Food was our gathering spot, where my brother and I got tested for spelling, where we fought over the leftovers from previous nights...
Hey multiple sclerosis family,
My name is Liz Walters, and I’m a little new to this tribe. But honestly, I’m changed for the better because of it. I’m a senior in college at a big southern state school, my major is psychology, I love to paint, and of course I have relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. I grew up in South Carolina, low-country sailing and spending every moment I could on the boat or in the water...
“I can’t do that I have MS”
“I would never manage it”
“I’d love to do it but I just couldn’t”
“I’m too tired to exercise”
This is what I used to say to myself for at least 5 years after my diagnosis...
It’s that time of year again: The time when lists of people’s proud accomplishments scroll past on your social media feed. I don’t mind it. This year, in fact, I considered joining in to mention my book deal, which still feels surreal all these months later.
But every time I thought about posting, I remembered this time last year when I was ending the year without reaching my writing goals – and with a disease that had recently progressed. I was adjusting to new multiple sclerosis medication, slammed with side effects and fatigue, and scared for the future...
It first started with a limp while carrying my one-year-old daughter on a hike to Calf Creek Falls in southern Utah in 2000. After years of searching for an answer as to why my walking and fatigue were getting steadily worse, in 2015, I received a diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Wow, finally I had an answer. Today, I am no longer able to walk on my own, and I utilize a wheelchair much of the time.
My progression is most likely very familiar to many with PPMS. It started with that limp, then went on to needing one cane, then two canes, then a walker, then a rollator, and finally, the wheelchair. Ah, the wheelchair. That’s what I most want to talk about. For years I resisted it even as my ability to enjoy the things I love to do and people I like to see faded into a past life. My wife would say, “Steve, use a wheelchair if you need to. It would make things so much easier.” But pride got in the way. Finally, I gave in. And what a difference it has made...
MS had really taken a toll on my new patient. Or so I thought…
She came to see me one afternoon in my family medicine clinic. Her son pushed her into my exam room, and I moved my stool to make way for her wheelchair. One of her arms was rigid, useless. Her speech was slurred, and she reported terrible back pain. As an MS patient myself, I was disturbed to see her, knowing that my fate could be similar...
Imagine whipping up a gourmet, cheeto-crusted turkey entrée dish in 30 minutes… in front of superstar chefs Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Murphy.
While most of us will only experience this scenario in our dreams, Chef Chris Holland found himself in this position once again when he returned to the Food Network’s Chopped kitchen and won for the third time...
I never saw it coming. Not in a million years.
Acupuncture? Needles all over my body? There was no amount of money you could pay me to do that...
I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS back in 2014 when the left side of my body lost all mobility, and I was experiencing consistent diplopia in both eyes. After a solid week of Solu Medrol steroids administered via IV, months of pushing forward, and the discovery of nutrition and exercise, I got most of my mobility back. Fast foward 4½ years later, I have been blessed to be relapse-free ever since… until now.
For the last month or so, I have been experiencing new symptoms; more consistent chronic pain, numbness in my hands I didn’t notice until I realized I was using boiling water to wash the dishes, and something a bit scarier. I haven’t been able to formulate complete sentences without tripping over my words for weeks. As someone who works in corporate professionally and just barely gets by thanks to my words, this has been earth shattering...