Running to the Finish Line: Veronica’s MS Story
For as long as I could remember, I knew something wasn’t quite right with my physical and mental development. From my teenage years well into adulthood, my body and my mind seemed to operate a bit differently than those around me.
I began experiencing allodynia, an unusual symptom of a nerve-related condition where people experience pain from a non-painful stimulation of the skin – a light touch, for example, or putting on a t-shirt, would cause severe pain. I also suffered from spasticity in my calves, commonly referred to as a charley horse, which my mother attributed to wearing high heels. But I knew it was something much worse.
After a few years, things took a turn for the better. I was training for a promising career as a fashion designer, with a dream of moving to New York and working amongst some of the top designers in the industry. Soon, I was living that dream – I had moved to New York and had broken into the highly-competitive world of fashion.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until symptoms I now know were related to my multiple sclerosis (MS), began to intensify. I experienced vertigo, all-over spasticity and muscle weakness, numbness, cognitive problems, breathing difficulties, gait disturbance, vision problems – the list went on and on. Believing I had a brain tumour, my doctor sent me to a neurologist for further evaluation.
After several hospital visits and MRI scans, the neurologist informed me that I could have MS. Keyword – could. That was perhaps the most frustrating. With the amount of testing I had gone through, the fact the doctor was unable to diagnose me with 100 per cent certainty was upsetting. I was 37 years-old by this time and had been suffering for over two decades with these life altering symptoms. I wanted answers and ideally, a pathway to recovery.
As the symptoms worsened, I had to leave my job and move closer to family, where I took odd jobs in administration and banking. I even started my own business as a professional organizer, but while working with my clients, I would misjudge distances, lose my balance and bang myself on inanimate objects. Perhaps worst of all, I could no longer run.
Eager to get ahead of these intensifying symptoms, I began doing some research on MS treatment options and stumbled on PoNS Treatment™. The 14-week program combined in-clinic and in-home use of the PoNS™ device guided by a Certified PoNS™ Trainer, focusing on walking and gait exercises. When the stimulation is combined with therapeutic activities, changes could occur in the neural network.
After a few consultations with the PoNS™ team at the Surrey Neuroplasticity Clinic, I decided to commit to the 14-week program. Within the first two weeks, I started to notice improvements in my walking ability. I have to admit, I was shocked. I felt like I had regained control of my body. In time, I resumed my normal exercise regimens, which included five mile runs along the beach strip. My gait, and subsequently my balance, continued to improve over the course of the program.
My original goal was if PoNS Treatment™ could just result in a small improvement, I would be happy. I did not anticipate after 14 weeks I would return to running. I truly believe this treatment is the future for not only MS patients, but also for those who suffer from mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injuries.
- Veronica, MS Patient*
*This name has been changed to protect the privacy of the patient.