- Posted August 16, 2012 by
Albuquerque, New Mexico
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Living with MS
Finding Joy Amidst the Trials of MS
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
Looking back now, I realize that I started feeling symptoms in May of 2011. I had recently started running again after a few months off due to injury. After some long runs, I would experience a tingling sensation throughout my lower legs. I described it as feeling like something was tickling my legs from the inside and just figured it was my muscles firing away from the exertion of the run.
Fast forward to fall of 2011, I started to feel an electric shock in my rib cage while doing certain yoga poses. Then, a week before Thanksgiving, I began to feel some strange tingling and slight numbness in my toes. It gradually kept moving up my legs. A trip to the ER, then a neurologist, 3 MRIs, various neurological exams, blood work, and a spinal tap later (yes, the spinal tap is really as awful as everyone says it is; I would never wish the horrific headaches on anyone) and I received the diagnosis of MS.
I have been a runner for many years and also enjoy biking and swimming, so I was immediately concerned that I would have to give up these activities. One of the first things I did was research athletes who have MS. I was relieved to find many runners and tri-athletes who have MS who continue to train and even do amazing things like run marathons and do Ironmans. I have been blessed to be able to continue my exercise routine so far and even completed my fifth marathon this summer, my first one post MS diagnosis, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon! I know that eventually this disease may prevent me from doing things like running marathons and I will have to accept that as it comes. For now I am incredibly grateful for each day I can get out of bed and head out the door for a run. I do not take any of this for granted.
One of the ways I am coping through the shock of this diagnosis is by reaching out to others online. I decided to start a blog (www.milesandtrials.com) to document my journey and encourage others who may be going through similar trials in life, whether it is with MS or something else. I pray that God will use me for His purpose and glory because "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
What’s next? Stay as healthy as possible, support others to live their version of a healthy life, fundraise and participate in the New Mexico Bike MS 150, run the New York City Marathon in November 2012 and the Boston Marathon in 2013, and someday, hopefully, do an Ironman!
My hope for people both with MS and without is that you cherish each day, because none of us knows what tomorrow holds. Live life in the moment, be fully present in whatever you are doing, breathe deeply, and be grateful for all the blessings in your life.