MAKING MEANING WITH MS
Featured in Healing MS Fall/Winter 2021
When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2003, as a 24-year-old, I had many concerns about how the diagnosis would affect my life. After going through 5 months of testing, MS was ruled out and I was diagnosed with Unknown Encephalitis that caused double vision and told to contact the doctor if I ever had any other symptoms in the future. Since I was told I did not have MS, I decided that I would live life to the fullest, and not let things hold me back. I graduated with a Master's in Social Work that year and went on to develop professionally as an LCSW, and personally, with my biggest accomplishments being my three children. I also ran two marathons in 2013 and 2014.
In 2020, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis and began treatment at the IMSMP. I am so thankful to all the doctors, researchers, nurses, admin staff, social workers, and fundraising team at Tisch MSRCNY, who I have been able to interact with in the past year and a half, and who, along with amazing friends and family, have supported me physically and emotionally through the hardest year of my life. I now know that for the past 18 years that I have had multiple relapses, the worst string being from November 2019 through my diagnosis in May of 2020, which included issues with mobility (having trouble walking at the end of 2019, which I thought was related to a pinched nerve, and later flu), visual issues (optic neuritis that led to ultimate diagnosis), mental health struggles, and various pain, numbness and spasticity.
When I was first diagnosed, I went through a period of grief, and had some pretty significant depressive moments. The care that I received at the IMSMP, plus increased meditation, journaling, and talking to my supports have helped me work through these emotions. I have also realized how much exercise, whether dancing or running, helps me.
Not knowing that I had MS in 2003 and the subsequent years never held me back, and I don’t plan in knowing that I have MS hold me back now or in the future. So, when I was talking with my uncle at lunch about how enrollment was down for the 2021 NYC marathon, I said “I’ll run it!,” and so here I am.
My mantras include Live Your Life, and It's not what happens to you, it is how you deal with what happens. And this is how I'm dealing. By fighting back. And the awesome thing is that my MS center, Tisch MS Research Center is one of the charities that you can run the NYC marathon to benefit. So I can raise money to help others have access to the amazing research that occurs every day at Tisch MSRCNY.