Beginning a blog is a daunting prospect, especially since I don’t have faith in my writing skills. After struggling with my words for years I was surprised to hear from my clients that I need to go public with my story.
At times, my train of thought can be described as a crop dusting of brain farts. I was diagnosed with a learning disability at a young age and when you combine that with the distractions of motherhood, screen time and my most recent MS diagnosis, let’s just say this experiment could be a train wreck. I will do my best to find some clarity in my calamity.
In 2000, I was living with Lupus and switched my career to fitness because I had seen the benefits it had on my health. For 10 years I had a good run. I completed multiple marathons, an Olympic distance triathlon, and a 200ish mile relay race. In addition, I survived three high-risk pregnancies. I was teaching spin, yoga, Pilates and training. I was in a rush to live this life and did not want to waste a day.
In 2010, my Lupus appeared to be in remission and I celebrated by bragging to all my fitness classes. I was a walking advertisement for the benefits of exercise. I had grown accustomed to living in constant pain but I was thriving.
A few months later I was out running and felt weakness in one side of my body with discomfort lasting 2 miles into the run. At rest, I had tingling in one arm and vibrations down both of my arms. I was exhausted all day and every day. The final straw came when I was in Lenscrafters getting my eyes checked without any successful results. It only seemed appropriate that such a life altering moment should happen at the Burlington Mall.
My doctor scheduled an MRI immediately and that was when they discovered the first lesion on my cervical spine. My diagnosis was transverse myelitis and eventually MS.
MS is not an easy diagnosis and the MRI was just the beginning of my journey with this disease. It’s a club that you would prefer not getting an invitation to, but I got the official invite after years of testing. The process for a diagnosis is time-consuming and easily took over my life. First opinions, second opinions, and excessive tests. Waiting rooms, needles, lab technicians, nurses and doctors became my social outlet. I slept during my scans and blamed it on my morning runs sandwiched between teaching two spin classes. I discovered the best place to get a scan with warm blankets and good music.
I became the Roger Ebert of medical procedures. I was lucky to have a 5-star neurologist perform my first lumbar puncture. He was a true artist with a needle. He was delicate but efficient. He played his role with the unique charm of a true veteran in his craft. I cried and laughed before it was over and knew that he was the only neurologist I would trust with my spinal fluid.
I used to tease my husband that I thought my neurologist was just into me and that’s why he kept asking me to come back. After all, how many almost 40-year-old hotties did this guy get to see on a regular basis?
During this time I was trying to be a good mother to three girls; two in high school and one in middle school. I vividly remember my OBGYN, after my third daughter was born, warning my husband about the impending hormonal craziness of the teenage years. Just like any good oracle priestess, her enigmatic prophecy became a reality at the most stressful time in our life. I can still remember one dinner where we watched PMS get passed around the table like a bad cold.
The worst of the high school drama was happening while I was losing my dad and coming to grips with MS. My plan to move forward was unconventional and some would say crazy. There was no manual for this life, so I had to write my own.
Along the way I have shocked my doctors and friends. I am strong and fit because of lifestyle choices, nutrition, fitness and NO pills. I even gave up my daily ibuprofen for pain(2400 MG a day). In addition, I have lost 36 pounds and transformed my life. Some people talk about all the amazing things they are going to do in this life and quit when things get tough… I used to be less inspired than those people. I used to be afraid of announcing a goal or aspiration. It took me a long time to be different.
Committing to and completing my goals is something I have learned in this crazy life. I know if I eat a donut I will wake up in pain… so I don’t do donuts. I know I could be in a wheelchair or using a cane in ten years if I don’t workout every day… so I get off the couch. I force myself out of bed at 5:30 AM even when my body screams “no”.
My next goal is to provide a weekly blog post. I will share how I handle stress and what motivates me to keep moving forward. Subscribe to my blog by adding your email address to the form on the right. You’ll be the first to hear about how I have shocked my doctors and friends!