Hello my name is Michelle Walsh and I was diagnosed with MS 24 years ago. It all began when I was 18 years old, in my first semester of College, living an hour away from home when I started to notice something was not right with my body. I got very electric pins/needles in my arms and legs that were so painful it felt like they were plugged into the light socket. I went through 4 different emergency room visits only to be told by the doctors “it must be stress and go rest you will feel better”. As the weeks went on I didn’t feel better. Things got worse with an over whelming fatigue I could barely get out of bed in the mornings no matter how long I slept so I called my parents to say I know there’s something else going on with me. My mom is a nurse and she knew there was something not right either. I drove home to see my family doctor who then referred me to a Neurologist who specialized in MS. The Neurologist did several neurological physical tests and after he said “I am 90% sure you have Multiple Sclerosis” Over the next few months I had a spinal tap and MRI that confirmed this. I have never forgotten this day the bombshell was dropped.
I was initially very mad and sad. I thought what kind of life will I have now? Will I ever find anyone who will want to marry me because of this diagnosis? So many emotions went through my head for the first while sad, anger, disbelief, etc. I just couldn’t understand how I could run long distances before and be so active months ago to now being so tired that I can barely get out of bed. I was diagnosed with Relapsing-remitting MS so when I learned to pace myself, not over do it I could manage this MS monster.
I competed for Rodeo Queen Contests and won two titles to then advance to compete for Miss Rodeo Canada. Another one of my dreams was to be a Flight Attendant and I went on to do this too. I flew all over the world and saw so many amazing places and worked with many amazing colleagues. I also in this time of my life met the man of my dreams. Mutual friends of ours set us up and we hit it off instantly and have never looked back. We have been together for 13 years now, married for 10 and have three beautiful, healthy children. We live on a mixed farming operation in southwest Saskatchewan.
So after being diagnosed for over 24 years I have learnt a lot of things that I want to share with others who have MS
- To take this MS monster one day at a time. Be kind to yourself and stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. If it’s the kind of day where you are fatigued then prioritize what really needs to get done to get through the day and what can wait for another day.
- Accept the kindness and help of others if they are offering it. Trust me this is still a hard one for me to deal with because we want to try to be independent as long as we can. But if someone is offering to help you out when you are not feeling well this is out of kindness and concern for us and you should take it because you are no less of a person for accepting their help. You are just being smart in conserving your energy and realizing that others care and want to help.
- We lose a lot of dignity with this disease be it with our bladder, bowels, vision loss etc and if you set your pride aside and use the devices that are available to make your quality of life a little easier this will help your stress levels. Once I got past my pride and realized I needed the cane/walker/scooter to get around with it made my life so much easier with less falls.
- Try to talk to someone you trust be in a close friend, relative, your psychologist because keeping your emotions in will not do you any favours but it physically flares up your MS. Also doing whatever type of activities to help manage your stress such as yoga, meditation, massage therapy, listening to music you like whatever works for you helps to keep your stress levels down. This is so very crucial in regards to managing our illness. When I worry or get stressed too much this can bring on a relapse in a heartbeat for me.
I am so very honoured to be Blogging for Moms with MS now and hope I can connect with other MSkuteer moms and dads out there so we all feel connected and not alone. Living with MS as a Mom has its challenges for sure but it can be done.
Please connect with me on Twitter @exflygal
Until my next blog take care,
Board Member for Canadian Neurovascular Health Society
An amazing woman with a message, and a story to be told. Using her talent to advocate through her art, LydiaEmily. She currently has a crowdfunding campaign to share her story via film with an award winning producer, please support her!!
We will be watching this campaign/film as it progresses, it is SUCH an exciting project!!
“Art can do more than just hang, it can help.”
Our next featured local group is for New York Moms!! This group was created by a member and has a number of moms who are from all over the state of New York. To join this group is to connect with other moms who you might be able to meet up with and definitely exchange resources and recommendations.
Local groups on MomsWithMS.com are for moms to both get and provide peer support and recommendations to what is or isn’t working for them (doctors, pharmacies, etc.) and maybe even coordinate some events to get together locally or via phone/internet! So if you are a mom with MS in New York we hope that you will join! You can also promote your own local group that you might have established or maybe you want to start a new one from there.
Please note that to access the group you must be a member of our private MomsWithMS.com site. If you are not a member you will be prompted to create an account and will have to wait for it to be approved before accessing the site, so be sure to fill out all the questions! If we don’t have a site for your locality yet then you can Contact us.
So far this year we have raised $6,600 for the NMSS Walk MS events. To be exact when I checked it said $6,600.01, the extra penny being donated to the Wockin’ Wobins!
Here are the rankings as of this morning on 4/18/15…of course most of these teams are still fundraising so don’t be surprised it if has increased by the time you look at it!!
- Sisters of the Walk MS: Reno/Sparks event: $930
- Mom’s Monsters of the Walk MS: Lockport event: $855
- The Wockin’ Wobins! of the Walk MS 2015 (Cheshire) event: $685.01
- Anything is Possible of OHA 2015 Walk MS: Columbus event: $535
- JUAREZ of the Walk MS: Las Vegas event: $425
- Stacey’s loves of the Walk MS: Fort Lauderdale event: $405
- Paula of the Walk MS Fort Worth event $395
- You Are My Sunshine of the Walk MS: New Orleans event: $350
- Cami’s Crew of the Walk MS: Boise event: $335
- GLC of the Walk MS Greensburg event: $270
Fabulous job everybody!!! All of you and all of our other teams are helping to spread awareness and help the NMSS with their Vision (of) ad World Free of MS!!
If you had a team this year and you want it to be affiliated with the Moms With MS National Team next year you can create the team via our page HERE. You can probably change the affiliation of your team as well through your local Walk MS support and you can also just post a link to your team page here so we can see it!
More than anything I see these events as a way for us to meet and support each other, and also to enroll our family and friends to support us because “Together We Are Stronger!!“.
I went to Run MS this year with my husband. We both wanted to try out the challenge of running a 5k (something that I had never done and something he hasn’t done for more than 20 years). When I registered for the walk, I think the easiest question was “Why” to which my answer was “Because I can.”. I plan on staying in shape and as healthy as I can and it just makes sense to add this to the mix! I’m grateful that I am able to do this especially 14 years after receiving this diagnosis. I’m happy to say that we both made it!!
Lucky for us his mom was willing to come to our house early in the morning and watch the kids so that we could do it, and really it all went really smoothly! Even checking in which I remember from past walks as being complicated was easy, simply because there weren’t nearly as many people.
I didn’t fund raise as much as I have in years past, this is because my energy was absolutely sucked up with trying to update our national team pages and also to train so that I was ABLE to do the 5k. I’ll consider doing it bigger next year since the pages won’t need to be updated and also because it should be easier to do the 5k the second time since I will be training more consistently now. I’d like to have a team tent again which requires a $5k goal last time I looked it up. It would be great to be able to have a meeting place for folks affiliated with Moms with MS and also to meet more moms who have MS.
The run itself was definitely a challenge, especially since I think I was still recovering from a long day of flying two days earlier on Friday. I was able to jog most of the time and finished it in approximately 39min, and I did stop at one point to use an outhouse along the way. It was nice that they had tags that we clipped on to our shoes so we could see our personal time after the race, Geoff was able to finish in 31 minutes.
Today I am totally sore, so I am doing these things:
Drinking some Calm water
Rooibos tea and
Tulsi tea to try and rejuvenate a bit
Epsom salt bath too.
This post originally appeared on KristinBennett.com after the first year of Seattle Run MS 2015 and was republished here with permission.
Our next featured local group is for Colorado Moms!!
Our local groups on MomsWithMS.com are for moms to both get and provide peer support and recommendations to what is or isn’t working for them (doctors, pharmacies, etc.) and maybe even coordinate some events to get together locally or via phone/internet! So if you are a mom with MS in Colorado we hope that you will join!
Please note that to access the group you must be a member of our private MomsWithMS.com site. If you are not a member you will be prompted to create an account and will have to wait for it to be approved before accessing the site, so be sure to fill out all the questions! If we don’t have a site for your locality yet then you can either make or ask Kristin to do it.