Life With MS

MS affects each patient differently.  In my case, I have many symptoms that would invade my life and relationships if I let them.  I have vision disturbances that are sometimes painful, pins-and-needles sensations in my hands and feet, muscle weakness, extreme lethargy and fatigue, clumsiness and poor coordination, muscle spasms, electric-shock-like sensations, and incontinence.  My symptoms tend to flare up if I am overheated or stressed.

My attitude has a lot to do with how well (or not well) I feel.  Many MS symptoms are invisible, so I’ve learned to play the role of an educator in order to help people understand what I am going through.  I used to immerse myself in my work.  I had a pep in my step and enjoyed supporting all my colleagues in their tasks.  I still have the pep but have learned to use relaxation techniques and take naps if I need to.  I do feel like I struggle at work to stay focused with my extreme fatigue.  I had to find ways of managing my body to deal with my symptoms.

When I wake up in the morning, I do self checks.  I ask, “How do I feel today?” and I address situations instead of ignoring them.  For example, if my feet are stiff, I ask my son to squeeze mommy’s feet.  He thinks he’s playing a game, but he’s helping to stimulate my nerves.

It’s important to find someone that you can speak to about your MS when you are ready.  In my case, I have two very dear friends named Bianca and Lisa.  I know that I can call them at any time or ask to meet up for a coffee. Everyone needs a “Bianca and Lisa.”  It’s good to talk to someone.  In addition to friends and family, you can also find support from your local MS Society and your doctor.

-Gabriella Mammone, MS Ambassador and Entrepreneur


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