I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in the fall of 1998. Since then, I have devoted a great deal of time to raising awareness about the disease and am devoted to making a difference in the lives of people who suffer from MS.
As I travel the country campaigning with and on behalf of Mitt, I am continually amazed by the number of people who approach me to offer support and relay their struggles and successes with MS.
When I was first diagnosed, it was probably the most difficult time for me. I was having difficulty with my physical balance, but I would soon realize I was having just as much difficulty with my emotional balance. I was overwhelmed and had so many questions. I had always been an independent person, strong and able. I saw the disease as an invading pac man - eating away at the myelin that was protecting my nerves. It was chewing me up, but I didn't know when or how it would spit me out.
As I learned more about the disease, I learned this is a very common feeling and have made an effort to reach out to newly diagnosed friends, family members and people I meet on the road to simply talk to them about their concerns and fears. I don't think anyone can prepare for a diagnosis such as this, but I was very fortunate to have the love and support of my husband, my family and my friends and if by making a phone call to a newly diagnosed patient, I can ease a few of those fears, it is worth it. If you, or someone you know, has recently been diagnosed, please click here.
I have also been very fortunate to have had access to wonderful healthcare. Access to affordable and quality health care is crucial when facing a major medical problem, and I am very pleased that my husband is working hard to provide this for the American people, a priority that we both share.
My personal treatment has consisted of both traditional and alternative practices such as equine therapy, reflexology and chiropractic treatment. Equine therapy has been particularly successful for me. The rhythm of a horse's gait closely assimilates a human's and moves the rider's body in a fashion that enhances muscle strength, balance and flexibility. The connection both physical and emotional among horse and human is powerful beyond explanation. The demands of campaign travel do not allow me to ride as often as I would like, but I make time each week to get on a horse.
This treatment program has worked for me and I am very fortunate to be in remission, but the same treatment may not work for others and everyone should follow the recommendations of his/her personal physician.
For more information on Multiple Sclerosis, please contact the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at www.nationalmssociety.org.
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