I am a woman in my 60's who has had Primary Progressive MS for 20 years. I live with my husband of 46 years, and we have 2 adult sons and 3 young grandchildren. For 30 years my career was that of a counselor helping people having problems with stress, depression and relationships. During summers my husband, our sons and I took long vacations camping and hiking all over the U.S. and western Canada.
My first symptom of MS was in 1994, with a foot drop after long hikes. After 2 years of anxiety about what was happening in my body (which had been so reliable for the first 47 years of my life--allowing me to be a good dancer and hiker) I had an MRI in 1996, which led to a diagnosis of PPMS. i became quite depressed, and began taking anti-depressant medication which I continue to take a maintenance dose of as a 'safety net'. For the first 5 years of my MS I declined rapidly--losing most of my mobility; developing severe 'brain fog' and other cognitive symptoms; and having debilitating fatigue and muscle weakness. At one point my family and friends thought I was near death so we took a 'last family vacation' in Hawaii. My neurologists told me there was nothing they could do for besides prescribe medication for my spasticity. Being a very determined--even stubborn--person, I wasn't satisfied with this, so sought a second opinion. Testing showed me to have 3 serious co-infections which were treated consecutvely.. After 3 years of intensive treatment I had regained some of the functions I'd lost; eliminated my cognitive symptoms; and no longer requred long, daily naps in order to function. Although still very disabled and needing a wheelchair, my condition has been relatively stable for the past several years. My husband and I continue to love traveling (having acquired a taste for it while seeing much of Europe from a VW bus in the early 1970's). Six years ago we decided we still had some adventure left in us, so began spending winters at a beach town in Mexico. Last year we ended that chapter of our lives by taking a 6 month road trip. One of the most challenging issues for me in having MS has been going from being a 'fiercely independent'` person to one who can gracefully ask for and accept help from other people., Surprisingly to me, this has actually enriched and deepened my relationships with others. I believe I cope well with having MS by having a good sense of humor, a positive attitude, and a philosophy of life that serves me well. I would be honored to support you on your journey with MS.