Family 411: The impact of multiple sclerosis

Family 411: The impact of multiple sclerosis (MGN Online)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an auto-immune disease taht may not be familiar to many people.

A diagnosis impacts the whole family.

Tara Morgan shows how a wife and mother of five isn't letting the disease take over her life in this week's Family 411 report.

"For me, I was living life just as everyone does enjoying every given second."

Sometimes life takes you in a direction you've never dreamed.

"I had lost vision in my right eye."

For Michele Bowers, it was her health that threw a curve ball.

She went to see a neurologist after being diagnosed with optic neuritis.

"I had no clue that it was to have an MRI and be evaluated for MS."

Multiple sclerosis at age 40.

"I was in complete and utter denial."

Most people with MS are diagnosed in their 20's to 30's with optic neuritis and numbness in the legs being common symptoms.

"Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the holiest of holies, the brain, and the superhighway, the spinal cord, that takes all that information up and down," said Neuroimmunologist Dr. Aaron Boster.

Dr. Boster says if not treated early and aggressively, your quality of life takes a big hit.

"The natural history of MS neurological disability that accrues over years often times culminating in cane, walker wheelchair."

Her holistic approach to treatment at home wasn't working.

"The final straw was literally calling Dr. Boster and saying, 'Dr. Boster, my leg is working.'"

"If we see certain patterns on the MRI," said Dr. Boster. "We can diagnose you before your second attack."

The quicker the diagnosis, the faster you can begin medication.

"In the modern era with treatment, our expectation is a normal life expectancy and if we play our cards right, a normal life quality."

Dr. Boster says coming to terms with a diagnosis and treatment is a process that involves your family for understanding and support.

"You don't get to have MS by yourself. You have MS with your village right and I want you to have as big a village as possible."

By stepping into the spotlight, Michele hopes others will find strength to fight just as hard against MS.

"I want people to know that when you're dancing with MS, when it is your monster, that you're bearing the burden of inside. You have to be aggressive."

Dr. Boster says while people diagnosed with MS are in their 20's to 30's, they have discovered the chronic condition in children and the elderly but only in rare cases.

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