When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents’ home to live with my non-English speaking uncle, who had recently been diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. Shortly after his diagnosis, my uncle lost his job, his wife divorced him, he could no longer walk without a walker, and he was left feeling weak and hopeless.

By being his primary translator at doctor visits, teaching him how to self-administer Copaxone injections, taking him to the ER after adverse reactions to treatment, explaining how one treatment compares to another, and emotionally supporting and encouraging him to never quit fighting, I witnessed firsthand what an individual with MS struggles with daily.

Fast forward to today, I am a fourth-year medical student at Pacific Northwest University pursuing a profession in neurology. Although we are now separated by a long distance, I continue to support my uncle, and I stay up to date on the latest MS research. Every so often, my uncle calls to tell me about the new medications he has tried, and he asks about the outlooks of the different clinical trials. I encourage him by saying that science is on the verge of finding a cure – that there is hope.

I got into medicine because I would like to be a part of that hope.

Having spent a month at Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research, I worked side by side with a well-respected group of physicians specialized in taking care of patients with MS. It allowed me to see the substantial progress that has been made in treatment and management of MS.

Twenty-five years ago when doctors and researchers were just learning about MS, limited therapies were available in slowing the disease from progressing. Today, there are a wide range of disease modifying therapies aimed at slowing progression, preventing number of new relapses, improved management of MS related symptoms, and physical therapy and rehabilitation programs specifically designed for MS patients. Research has allowed earlier diagnosis with opportunity to initiate early treatment to catch the disease in its most active stage and delay onset of marked disability.

Multiple sclerosis is very unpredictable and affects every individual differently. In observing a wide group of patients with MS, there was a large variation in response to therapy. A treatment that may have failed one patient is the driving hope of another patient in keeping them relapse free.

Physicians are working aggressively in finding the optimal treatment for their patients to prevent relapses. With the recent breakthrough treatment for the most severe form of MS, it further gives us reassurance and hope in future development and advancement in treatment and ultimate cure.

The dedication of scientists and physicians motivates me to pursue medicine in caring for patients with MS. I hope to one day be a part of the generation of physicians that can promise a patient with MS hope of reversing the disease.

There is no cure yet. There is no one, singular giant leap that has miraculously stopped relapses or reversed their damages. But each day that I work with patients, I can feel bigger and bigger breakthroughs around the corner. I’ve seen firsthand the progress we’ve made, and I am nowhere near giving up. I hope to one day see my uncle in the park, playing soccer with his son and strolling hand in hand with his new caring and loving wife. 
Tags Research, Treatment      3 Appreciate this
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Lyudmila Rudneva

Lyudmila was born in Ukraine and raised in Spokane, WA. She graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2013 with BS in biology and a minor in chemistry. She later graduated from Heritage University in 2014, where she received MA in Medical Sciences. Lyudmila is currently a fourth year medical student at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences pursuing the field of neurology with plans of specializing in multiple sclerosis-neuroimmunology. 

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  • David Maskalick   Dec 21, 2017 3:18 PM
    Dear Lyudmila Rudneva,

    I was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis in 1987. I had completed my PhD in protein chemistry at Indianan University in 1984 and had been employed by Eli Lilly & Co. for three years developing protein purification processes in their biotechnology division. At the time there were no treatments for multiple sclerosis so the neurologist I saw prescribed an amphetamine for me to take to keep myself going throughout the day. Sometime in the 1990’s I started taking Copaxone which helped a bit. I continued to progressively loose my ability to remember and to quickly solve complex problems. This was clearly evident to management at my 2000 performance review seminar when I couldn’t answer some questions at which point I had to admit I had been dealing with effects of progressive MS on my capabilities since 1987. Then I was politely asked to take long term disability leave. So my wife and I moved back to our home town, Pittsburgh , PA, to help care for her aging parents where I found another neurologist who eventually prescribed Tysabri infusions for me which have helped slow the progression somewhat. So I too believe, in the not too far distant future, discoveries and inventions made in the field of multiple sclerosis-immunology will generate treatments to halt the relapses and progression that people with multiple sclerosis experience.

    Best regards and wishes for your success,

    David G. Maskalick, Ph.D.
  • Colleen Burt   Dec 21, 2017 7:57 PM
    Thank you for sharing your story! Your Uncle is lucky to have you on his team!! I've struggled with MS for 20 years... I too have hope!!
  • Travis   Dec 22, 2017 2:57 AM
    Ive had ms for 6 years it gets better and your not alone message if ya neep help spinningblades instigram
  • Harley Rodriguez   Jan 17, 2018 4:33 AM
    I'm probably going to sound rude but could you tell what pushed you to make this move? Why couldn't your parents invite your uncle to live with them (and you, so you didn't have to take care of how to bypass turnitin in 2017 and everything alone <a> http://ratedbystudents.com/tips/5-ways-to-trick-turnitin-for-students/ </a>)? Or find him an appartment next house something?
  • Gary   Feb 15, 2018 8:41 PM

    I have lived with MS for 23 years. What has driven me throughout those 23 years is hope. It is the most important word we have. One year after diagnosis I held our first born child in my arms - I promised her that would walk into her high school graduation without any assistance. I made her brother the same promise 2 years later. It is the hope of fulfilling those promises which has kept me compliant with medication, reminded me to always eat a healthy diet, required me to exercise frequently. I have fulfilled both promises. Anything is possible with hope. Your words of confidence that your generation will reverse MS is such an important message. Keep saying it. Keep saying if often.