Amy’s Story: A Battle With MS

tm 037-amyIn retrospect, multiple sclerosis had probably been stalking Amy for a long time. She had suffered from chronic headaches in high school, and her seasonal allergies had been over the top. Then, in her mid-30s, the busy wife and mother of two had just finished staining the deck when a peculiar numbness and fatigue rolled in like a heavy fog. “I thought, I am really overdoing it,” Amy recalls.

At the urging of her brother, she called her doctor, who summoned her to his office that day. MRI images hinted at MS, then a spinal tap confirmed it. Over the next seven months, taking steroids and other medications prescribed by a community neurologist, Amy gained 70 pounds while suffering sleeplessness and hot sweats. When the neurologist finally saw her for a follow-up, he told her she had gained so much weight that he didn’t recognize her. He referred her to an Ohio State specialist, who sent her back home to the Waddell Center. There, a holistic treatment program for Amy’s relapsing remitting MS included physical therapy and a psychologist to help her understand “how MS can make or break you.”

Her medications remained problematic, however, making her feel as if she had the flu. After a year without medications, Amy and her Waddell Center team faced a moment of reckoning. “The next exacerbation could be the one that puts you in a wheelchair,” they told her. “Are you willing to take that risk?” Amy agreed to try a newly approved oral medication, GilenyaTM, which reduces relapses in people with her type of MS. It was a life-changer. Today Amy is moving forward, her Waddell Center team by her side. “If I have a problem, if I have a question, if I ever need anything,” Amy says, “I know they are there for me.”

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