Living an Interesting Life While Battling MS
Yes, MS is challenging and alters your life in ways most people can’t even begin to imagine or understand. Our past life was routine - no thought or planning was needed to get through the week. Then MS arrives, changing the normal day thoughts to 'what’s next?' or 'how can I accomplish that task?'.
I’ll admit, it does change how we take on almost everything day-to-day and how we approach a challenge or task. However, even though life has changed, we can still accomplish anything we set our minds to, and far exceed expectations.
Inspirational people living with MS
Let’s look at a few individuals who are living with MS, who have risen above their challenges and are now examples of how we can achieve our goals.
Atom St. George
One individual who has risen above several life challenges is Atom St. George. During his teenage years, Atom enjoyed creating funny drawings to bring a smile and laughter to his high school friends. He didn’t realize art would become a passion until a close friend passed away when he was 21.
At that time in his life, art took on the role of helping him deal with the loss of his friend. It was a coping mechanism to deal with each day. As several years passed, Atom dealt with health changes and at the age of 24, he was diagnosed with MS.
Art became Atom’s way to deal with the challenges of life. As his MS continued to progress over the years, he became wheelchair-bound by the age of 36. All the challenges he faced became the source that inspired his vision to create his life story through paintings.
As Atom’s MS progressed, his painting techniques had to be adapted. As an example, hand control is critical for an artist. Now, due to hand numbness, Atom holds his right hand with his left to reduce the chances of the brush falling out of his hand. Atom is located in Los Angeles and showcases his work at art shows across the country. You can visit his Etsy page here and his Instagram page at @atomstgeorge.
Another person I look towards as an example of overcoming what MS tosses in life’s way is Jenna Green. Jenna was enjoying life and working in the marketing consultant industry as a small business owner, working about 80-hour weeks. At the age of 28, she was involved in a car accident, after which began several issues causing daily pain. After an unrelated and routine gallbladder removal, she started to experience what an ER doctor originally assumed was vertigo. When it didn’t dissipate, she went to see a neurologist who recognized it as optic neuritis.
As she explained what she was feeling to her neurologist, the look on their face indicated something else health-wise was present. An MRI was ordered, and after the report was complete, Jenna met with her neurologist and heard the shocking news - she had MS. Not knowing what type of impact it would have on her health, she researched MS.
During her research, she learned about what causes MS, the associated symptoms, complications that may arise, and the impact on life expectancy. To her surprise, she also learned that not everyone is impacted the same when it comes to mobility challenges and the need for aids like crutches, canes, walkers, or scooters. She also learned there are several disease modifying treatments (DMTs) to choose from to help control progression and some symptoms.
Jenna, always being proactive, took on her battle with MS by reaching out to others on Instagram as an MS advocate, and currently has over 9,000 followers. She also volunteers with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and has helped with policy work and representing the impact of MS in meetings for the Massachusetts State Senate. She is very active in advocating for the needs of people with MS. You can visit her Instagram at @thejennagreen or her Facebook.
The one individual that has had the biggest impact on the direction of my goals is Trevis Gleason, who I’m sure most of you have heard of. Trevis was a well-known chef in Seattle, Washington, and a Culinary Instructor at Cornell University, New England Culinary University, and California Culinary Academy.
In 2001 Trevis experienced a stroke-like episode and was diagnosed with MS. After several years, he realized being a chef might not be physically possible in the long run. Trevis decided it was time for him to live his dream and he moved to a small town in Ireland and reinvented his career. He is now a well-known MS blogger, writer, and recently published a book titled Chef Interrupted, Discovering Life’s Second Course in Ireland with Multiple Sclerosis. Trevis' newest book, Living Well With Multiple Sclerosis, is due out in March 2024. You can visit Trevis' Facebook page, Trevis L. Gleason's Life With MS.
As you can see, it is possible to live life to its fullest with MS. It all depends on how you view and shape the future, which is in our own hands. I encourage you to look within, determine what you truly desire to accomplish, and move toward your dreams.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read my article. Please share your thoughts and how you take on MS and its challenges. Until the next time, take care, be safe, tackle MS, and enjoy each minute of every day.
Were you misdiagnosed with something else before receiving a MS diagnosis?