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From Surviving to Thriving: Finding Balance with MS

By Patricia Daily | Since the mid 1800s we have known that multiple sclerosis is progressive neurological disease with an unpredictable course. Back in the day, when someone was diagnosed with MS, it was impossible to predict their future beyond saying that they would probably have ups and downs, and probably get worse, maybe sooner, maybe later, and unfortunately there were no treatments that could reliable change that.

Fortunately, the past 25 years have radically changed our understanding of MS and how we manage it. When someone is diagnosed today we can give them much better information and offer treatments that do change the disease course.   And that’s good news.

But the impact of MS isn’t just physical. It doesn’t limit its effects to the brain and spinal cord—MS also affects the quality of the life a person lives. Even though we can significantly slow the course of the disease, people still have to live with it and figure out ways to understand it and integrate it into their lives.  When someone new to MS looks at the long list of possible symptoms, the potential life impact of MS seems daunting indeed.  So it is useful and reassuring to note that despite all the grim possibilities, many people with MS manage to coexist reasonably well with the illness and live interesting, productive and happy enough lives. How do they do that?

This issue of InforMS will explore what we know about how people live successfully with MS over the long haul.

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Finding Support, a Companion, and So Much More

By Kerri Cechovic | “I knew the minute he walked up the sidewalk. He was the dog for me, the dog of my dreams.” That was Peri Abrahams’ reaction when she first met her service dog, Morgan, 7 years ago.

Peri, a retired social worker, lives with her husband, Rich, and Morgan in Denver.  She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 when she was 38 years old and experienced a loss of her center field of vision.  Several years later she began having trouble with her gait. Her MS became increasingly aggressive in the early 2000s.

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Getting Back to the Slopes

By Peter Broderick | Like many people living with MS, Patrick Tulley has experienced a variety of symptoms over the years. But the effect MS has had on his walking is what’s had the most direct impact on his life and his lifestyle.

“My first symptoms were numbness and a noticeable walking problem -- staggering like I was drunk,” says Tulley, who was originally diagnosed in 2001.

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Resilience Prevails on MS4MS Hikes

By Peter Broderick | “When the doctor said those two words – ‘multiple sclerosis’ – I just wanted to collapse.”

Elizabeth Persons has a story that’s familiar to many – an MS diagnosis came out of the blue, interrupting her life and filling her future with questions and unknowns.

“I came to Colorado for biking and running and hiking and all the outdoor things that people come here for,” says Persons. “I was living a Colorado lifestyle up until I heard those two words.”

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