Each month I want to highlight someone in the MS community who is doing amazing things for themselves and their MS diagnosis!
If you’d like to be interviewed and share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
When were you diagnosed with MS? What was it like for you?
I got my first symptoms in the summer of 2016. I experienced a tingling arm when I was lifeguarding and thought that I somehow injured my neck. After a confirmed case of Optic Neuritis and a couple of MRIs later I was officially diagnosed in January 2017. I was 27 years old.
What did you think was going to be the hardest part of MS? What was actually the hardest?
Not knowing what was going to happen! It’s different for everyone so I started to go down the dark rabbit hole of thinking I was going to be disabled before I hit 30. Well I’m 31 now so my mindset has definitely changed.
Have you or are you currently taking any MS medications?
I recently started Copaxone 3x/week after having my son. Prior to that I was trying to stay healthy with diet and lifestyle changes.
What is the symptom you struggle the most with?
In general, I would say tingling in my hands and feet. I don’t know for sure what causes it but I think it’s something I shouldn’t have eaten. During a relapse, it’s my Optic Neuritis, fatigue and delayed speech.
Have you made any diet changes that has helped?
Huge! I follow WW which has transformed my eating habits and helped me to lose 50 pounds. I would say my plate is vegetable-centered and I focus on getting in quality protein at every meal. My new ‘fast food’ is sweet kale salad with a honey garlic turkey sausage.
Have you made any lifestyle changes that has helped?
Yes! Being on Maternity leave during a pandemic is lonely so I needed to make significant change to my life. I was feeling sad a lot and was about to pick up a prescription to antidepressants when my husband recommended running. Ha! I couldn’t run. Long story short I used the app C25K and I trained over 8 weeks to run my first 5 K (I’m Canadian). 5 km is about 3 miles for those who are interested. Now I’m hooked. I run every other day it has greatly improved my mental health. I also meditate at least once a week.
Was your family/spouse/friends supportive of your decisions; if not did they change their minds afterwards?
I’m pretty sure I am an inspiration to my family and friends. They can’t believe I’m doing so well and they support the changes I’ve made to my life. I have to give a shout out to my husband Jason because he encourages me to try my best to live life to the fullest.
What is the most impactful thing you’ve done to help your MS symptoms?
It’s really hard to say what’s keeping me in remission. Is it the Copaxone? Fitness? Eating more whole foods? Taking a year off working full-time? Drinking less alcohol? WHO KNOWS?! All I know is that it’s working and I’m staying positive. I am choosing to believe that all of the effort I’m putting in is making a difference. MS is super unpredictable and nothing is a guarantee. So why should I believe I’m going downhill? We might as well try to remain optimistic since stress is our #1 nemesis. I want my son to have a healthy mom so I’m determined to do what it takes.
If you could tell someone newly diagnosed one thing, what would you say?
Do not worry about the future and what ‘could’ happen. Be present. What is making you feel good NOW? Listen to your body. Maybe you need to rest, and if that’s the case, meditate. If you have energy, find an activity you love and do it often! Ask yourself, how can I best take care of myself right now? ❤
Loved Ashley’s story!
Inspiring story!! So much that you read about MS is negative, it’s nice to read something positive.
That’s exactly why I do this!! glad you enjoyed it!