March is MS Awareness Month. Modern Day MS is bringing awareness to what multiple sclerosis really looks like by introducing you to a real person living with MS each day of the month.
Meet Cheryl. Cheryl, the founder of Sugar Beet Co-Op, was the first real person with multiple sclerosis that I spoke to after my diagnosis when we were introduced by a mutual friend. She answered my many random questions and reflected a positive glow on the ugly disease.
How many years have you lived with MS?
“It was 7 years ago this May. That time is unforgettable to me as I was a new mom, recently married and very happy… until BOOM! Out of nowhere I was in a hospital dealing with something that I could not understand. I thought it was the beginning of the “end” for me and my little family. Mothers’ Day has positive meaning for me now because I am still here and well and have two beautiful kids to celebrate with.”
What medication and/or natural treatments do you use?
“I have taken a lot of medication including Avonex and Copaxone, but I went off all medication five years ago to have my second baby. I felt so much better without those medications in my body and it has been hard for me to commit to using them consistently since then.”
“Instead, I am careful to manage my stress, cuddle with my kids and husband, find joy in my work, eat lots of greens and sleep a lot. I meditate to reduce stress and calm myself. I ride my bike to feel strong and alive. I laugh a lot with my very funny friends, family and cats.”
How has MS made you stronger?
“I feel a sense of urgency that I did not feel before I was diagnosed. Identifying as a person living with a chronic and unpredictable disease has changed my perspective about time and opportunity. I don’t want to waste time sitting idle or weighing consequences any more. I want to dig in and live a satisfying and productive life! Since my diagnosis, I have experienced several setbacks as well as depression, insomnia and chronic pain. Rather than feel victimized, I find strength in working through hard times.”
What do you think is the future of MS?
“I feel that MS is just one of the many ways that the human body reacts to our increasingly toxic environment. Most diseases, including MS, are inflammatory responses and we have to ask ourselves what our bodies are reacting so adversely to. While I appreciate the research that pharmaceutical companies are doing to “cure” MS. I think we can all do our part in preventing chronic inflammatory disease by living a life that is aligned with the health of our planet, each other and our own bodies.”
What quote inspires you?
Please share Cheryl’s story to teach others that MS does not look a specific way. You might interact with people silently suffering every day. We would love to share your real MS story in March for MS Awareness Month. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Stay connected with Modern Day MS on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.