23 years after diagnosis

Hello, My name is BarbieD. I was diagnosed in 1990 after several years of symptoms and testing.

I am a second generation person with MS. My younger sister has been diagnosed within the past three years.

Our mother was diagnosed in 1971 and was admitted to a Basic Care Facility in 1974 at the age of 48.

After several years of Steroid and Copaxone treatments, I am now receiving Tysabri Infusions. The Tysabri has been good so far. I go for Physical Therapy twice a week and am able to walk to their office as it is about 300 yards from my house.

I use a four wheel Rollator for stability.

I moved to Northeast Tennessee three years ago as the climate here is more favorable for me. It isn’t too cold in the Winter or too warm in the warm months. My body doesn’t like extremes in either hot or cool weather.

I have three sons and six grandchildren. Five girls and one boy. The oldest two girls are 21 this year and the youngest girl is 16 and the only boy is also 16. The other girls are 20 and 18. No great-grandchildren yet and the older girls are in no hurry. The oldest, Becca just married in August. Skylar works and is attending classes at a Community College. Rachel works at a “Call Center” owned by a large bank.

Harley graduated from High School last May and is planning on attending the same Community College Skylar is enrolled at.

Shannon and Colton are both Juniors in High School.

I am “retired” from a university in Southwest Michigan and was widowed eleven years ago.

Over the years since “retirement”, I have tried to stay busy by traveling when I could and making Afghans for my family. I also cook and like to share my cooking skills with others.

I try to walk as much as possible and try to stay busy. I do have enough “sense” to sit when I need to. I was “wearing” myself out by doing too much and taking on too much responsibility for too many people. It has been very difficult for me to learn how to take care of myself.

I do miss some things like driving but knew when it was time to stop and sold my last car, a 1984 Thunderbird, eight years ago. I was starting to scare myself.

I enjoy working with young people and love spending time with my grandchildren and doing little things for them and their friends. “Nana’s” house is a favorite gathering place for cookies, atmosphere and quiet conversation. We have found that this “Nana” will listen and then help work out things that seem so difficult but when thought through, are not so bad after all. Sometimes it is hard to listen without talking but patience is something that comes with experience. The “trick” is to let them come up with solutions on their own.

They do better when things are their own ideas instead of someone else’s. Their minds just have to be “primed” and the “kids” usually have more sense than adults give them credit for. It is just a matter of bringing it out of them.

That is enough for today.

I look forward to reading about other people.

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