“Be prepared for the unknown and roll with it!” — Felicia E.
In honor of MS Awareness Month, HealthCentral is sharing the stories of community members living with MS in our new #RealMSProfiles series. If you are interested in sharing your story, please answer these questions.
HC: Felicia, when were you diagnosed with MS? What led to your diagnosis?
Felicia: I was diagnosed in 2015, the same year I turned 50 years old. My legs had gone numb and tingly. My diagnosis was based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and results of a spinal tap.
HC: How has MS impacted your life?
Felicia: MS has caused reduced physical activity and reduced cognitive function. Unfortunately, extreme fatigue keeps me from engaging in my previous level of activities.
HC: Have you made any conscious lifestyle changes due to MS? If so, has it affected your quality of life?
Felicia: I tried to go Paleo, but it wasn’t successful.
HC: What are your greatest fears with MS?
Felicia: I’m afraid of dependence on others, loss of ambulatory abilities, and bowel incontinence which has already begun.
HC: What are your greatest joys with MS?
Felicia: The sense of support and camaraderie of MS support groups.
HC: If your MS were an animal, what would it be and why?
Felicia: If my MS were an animal, it would be a cougar. It’s sneaky, quiet, and inflicts harm or pain.
HC: Have your goals changed since you’ve been living with MS? If so, how?
Felicia: My goals are very short term now.
HC: What words of advice do you have for others in managing day-to-day life with MS?
Felicia: I literally take it one day at a time. I suggest you find a good, understanding, knowledgeable support group.
HC: What words of advice do you have for others in managing the future with MS?
Felicia: Be prepared for the unknown and roll with it!
Lisa Emrich is a patient advocate, accomplished speaker, author of the award-winning blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA, and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers. Lisa uses her experience to educate patients, raise disease awareness, encourage self-advocacy, and support patient-centered research. Lisa frequently works with non-profit organizations and has brought the patient voice to health care conferences and meetings worldwide. Follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.