What to do after being diagnosed with MS
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that may not be familiar to many people, but the diagnosis impacts the whole family.
Tara Morgan from Sinclair Broadcasting station WKRC in Cincinnati, Ohio finds out how one mother of five is not letting the disease take over her life.
Michele Bowers said, “For me I was living life just as everyone does enjoying every given second."
But sometimes life takes you in a direction you've never dreamed.
"I had lost vision in my right eye,” said Michele, whose health threw her a curveball.
She went to see a neurologist after being diagnosed with optic neuritis. "I had no clue that it was to have an MRI and be evaluated for MS," said Michele.
Multiple sclerosis at age 40. "I was in complete and utter denial," said Michele.
Most people with MS are diagnosed in their 20s to 30s with optic neuritis and numbness in the legs being common symptoms.
Dr. Aaron Boster said, "Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the holiest of holies, the brain, and the superhighway, the spinal cord, that takes all that information up and down.”
Dr. Boster, a Neuroimmunologist at OhioHealth, says if not treated early and aggressively, your quality of life takes a big hit. "The natural history of MS neurological disability that accrues over years. Often times culminating in cane, walker, wheelchair,” said Dr. Boster.
Michele’s holistic approach to treatment at home was not working. "The final straw was literally calling Dr. Boster and saying, ‘Dr. Boster my leg is working, but I do not feel any sensation from the tip of my toe all the way up my thigh.’”
Dr. Boster said, “If we see certain patterns on the MRI, we can diagnose you before your second attack.”
The quicker the diagnosis the faster you can begin medication. "In the modern era with treatment, our expectation is a normal life expectancy, and if we play our cards right, a normal life quality,” said Dr. Boster.
Dr. Boster says coming to terms with a diagnosis -- and treatment is a process that involves your family for understanding and support. "You don't get to have MS by yourself. You have MS with your village, right? And I want you to have as big a village as possible,” said Dr. Boster.
Michele said "Here I am today and I feel as if I did pre-MS."
By stepping into the spotlight, Michele hopes others will find strength to fight just as hard against MS. "I want people to know that when you're dancing with MS when it is your monster that you're bearing the burden of inside you have to be aggressive,” said Michele.