In 2004 when my son was 3 months and 4 days old, I woke up with both of my legs numb below the knees. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about 5 weeks later. I tried about six Copaxone injections, but after horrible site reactions, I opted to proceed on the MS path with no medication.
Making that choice meant that I had to control my diet, exercise, and stress. I started eating only whole foods, kicked my exercise up a notch, and reduced stress as much as possible. That original numbness took 8 weeks to resolve with no medication or steroids, and I was lucky enough to get back to 100%. I had another child 22 months after our first, and thankfully had no MS complications or issues during pregnancy or after delivery.
Fast forward to 2011 when we decided to move out west in hopes of reducing overall stress and improving everyone’s health. Nothing about the move went according to plan, so long story short, I ended up in Colorado with our two kids by myself for 4 months while my husband continued working in Atlanta. I was teaching at one school, trying to get both of my kids settled in another school, and keep all of our sanity in tact by myself in our brand new life. This is when I added running to my P90X routine. Nine months later I ran my first half marathon.
The summer of 2012 greeted me with facial numbness on the left side. It was like there was a line right down the middle of my face and the left half of my nose, lips, teeth, and tongue were numb. My neurologist suggested a DMD at that point, but I opted out since it was my first flare up in 8 years. About 6 weeks later, I was back to 100% again. In order to eliminate stress from my life, I decided to quit my teaching job in May, 2013.
Around July 1, 2014 I had some numbness in my left knee. It spread only slightly and thankfully stayed within my lower left leg. My neurologist would not order an MRI without a nerve conduction study first. This bout lasted roughly 8 weeks again, and once again, I recovered to 100%. I have been very fortunate to never have lost mobility before, during, or after any of my flare-ups, even those that originated in my legs. As of my last MRI in March, 2014, I have no new lesions, no active lesions, and the lesions I did have are smaller or completely gone.
I now spend my days running, making all of our meals and most of our snacks at home, volunteering at my kids’ school, and providing canine care at a local animal shelter.
Andrea is a former elementary school teacher turned stay at home mom. She has been diagnosed for ten years and has never taken any MS medications (minus a few Copaxone injections). She writes the blog MS Changed My Life.