Before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I had it all figured out.
Legally trained and professionally thriving, I was working for the municipal government as a Director of Bylaw Enforcement. My personal life was going just as well with my loving husband by my side. The last thing I was expecting was to be diagnosed with a degenerative autoimmune disease. There was no medical history of multiple sclerosis in my family, and I was otherwise a healthy young woman.
At 27 years of age, I started noticing the symptoms. I was having difficulty walking up the stairs; my shoe would come off without me noticing; I started slipping for no reason. My family doctor sent me to a neurologist, who recommended an MRI. The results confirmed I had multiple sclerosis, a disease which at the time, the medical community knew very little about.
I was given virtually no advice on how to cope with this life-changing diagnosis, nor were there any preventative options available to help with symptom management. My team of doctors told me to try and have a good life – so I did.
It wasn’t until 2009 the symptoms really started to set in. The most noticeable change was my gait. People started to ask me if I had injured my hip or knee because of the way I was walking. Up until that point, I had not told my family or employer about my diagnosis. Fearing people might start to gossip about why I walked in an unusual manner, I chose to be proactive and disclose I had MS.
A few years later, unable to keep up with my high-paced work environment, I made the difficult decision to leave the job I loved and go on long-term disability. The gait deficit, coupled with the overwhelming fatigue I experienced, was too much to overcome.
With additional free time on my hands, I started researching MS symptom prevention measures. I joined Pilates and began taking aquacycle classes. I also tried hyperbaric oxygen therapy and participated in clinical drug trials for Gilenya, the first oral medication to treat MS.
While these activities were helpful in mitigating my symptoms, I did not feel optimistic until I started following the research of Dr. Norman Doidge, who wrote a book entitled, “The Brain’s Way of Healing.” In his book, Doidge explained new research was underway at the University of Wisconsin testing the PoNS™ – a non-surgical device used to encourage new neural connections to help improve balance and gait.
After hearing former TV personality Montel Williams, who also suffers from MS, discuss the success he experienced from the Treatment, I decided to give it a try.
To participate in PoNS Treatment™, I went to the A4A Therapy Clinic in Markham, Ontario. The PoNS™ device was easy to use and the exercise program designed by the practitioners was personalized based on my needs. With the device tracking my daily exercise and usage, my Certified PoNS™ Trainer could monitor my progress and ensure I was on the right track. Though the program was challenging for me, the encouragement from my Trainer pushed me to fight through the fatigue. By the end of 14 weeks, the Treatment proved to be incredibly helpful and has resulted in improvements in my gait.
After 32 years, while I know I am on a challenging path, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to PoNS™ and the A4A team for helping me to continue regain control of my life.
I am investing in me. This is my new job and I couldn’t be happier.
My advice to someone suffering from MS is to learn more about PoNS Treatment™. I was diagnosed in 1988, long before this treatment option was available and as a result, it has taken time and hard work to overcome the compensations I have developed. Again, my advice would be if you have the opportunity to pursue this treatment early in your diagnosis, do so.
- Elaine, MS patient