A New Year! 22 years with Multiple Sclerosis - 22 years after diagnosis

It’s 2023 and it’s a new year! 

In February, 2001, I lost the ability to walk or see unassisted.  The MS hit hard and fast while I was traveling across Guatemala with friends.  That was a long time ago as much as it was yesterday.  

Over these past 22 years, who I knew as myself as a person had changed.  A once reliable, active, energetic and hardworking person was no longer. The intention was there but the actions proved differently.  

My career changed from a corporate executive to nothing then to a life coach, health journalist, blogger and advocate.  Challenges with driving automobiles encouraged me to find otherwise for independence.  Life changed.  Friendship and family became even more important.  So did taking advantage of every opportunity.  

After losing my career and feeling frustrated, it took a little gumption to get back up and going.  But I found a way through this blog, my MS advocacy and keeping one foot in front of the other.  The thought of not going into an office, or what felt like, having a purpose, seem daunting. But I created an outdoor space to work and a whole world opened up to me. If I can work around the clock, then the flexibility is endless as long as the MS obeys.  Wahoo!  I’ll take that!  

This shift in attitude is what is helping me to re-center my life. Look at it a new, find what makes me whole, then do it. Today this means, I can fish, hike, walk, stroll, take photographs, learn to draw, learn to paint, spend quality time with friends and family.  Sometimes even I need to remind myself as to the life I have lived these past 22 years.  It’s too easy to get into a slump but you know?  We’ve got this!  All of us. By working and helping and supporting each other, we’ve got this!   

After diagnosed with MS, I became certified in holistic nutrition. The importance of food and gut health for those with MS is essential to our quality of life.   I am a big fan of farmers market, local agriculture and sprouts. 

Then, I became a certified life coach which led me to some incredible projects around the country.  

One project happened to be in Orlando, Florida, so I went fly fishing on Lake Kissimmee. 

One day I had the opportunity to join NASA/JPL on a tour.  Couldn’t have done that if I was was working in an office all day. The fact JPL is ten minutes away from me and I had never seen the inside, I was ecstatic. 

As an MS advocate, Girl with MS and Life Coach, the opportunities to share my story has helped me understand that there is still much to live for and enjoy. This MS may get us down, but then a the light seems to brighten.

This is also where I got to meet so many other incredible MS advocates: Carolyn Kaufman, Jodi Dwyer, Crystal Perry, Cathy Chester, Tanya Miller. 

Many of you join me on Belong - Thank you!  
My Girl with MS Channel on the Belong.lifeMS app continues to grow. 
We are a safe, like-minded support group. 

 Anyone with MS can join Belong and find tons of support, friendship, expert advise and even clinical trials. Once the Belong app is downloaded and you have registered (click here for app), then you can scroll down and see the different support groups.  

I also was blessed to be on several amazing trips with my family including Galapagos, Ecuador, Kenya, and Tanzania.

My one take away:  Build awareness throughout your life.  Really look at what is nearby.  Something’s are quite obvious, but others take a little more attention.

And, I survived covid…so far.  

 Thank you all for being here for me. For being part of my journey with MS.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  Xo, Caroline