The View From Here
Since my diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS, people sometimes ask me why I don't slow down. That's just not in my nature. I think a big part of how I deal with RRMS is my personality and outlook on life. I've always been a proactive person, and I've taken on a lot of challenges in my life, from climbing mountains to dancing on national TV. I was shocked and scared when I was first diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, but then my type-A personality kicked in and I started learning everything I could about the disease, and the more I learned, the more I realized that maybe my diagnosis wasn't so terrifying after all.
That's not to say that I'm naïve about my condition. I know that this can be a progressive disease, so I don't take anything for granted. At the same time, I'm not going to stop doing the things I love to do, whether it's cooking for my friends or going on a hike. I'm also not going to stop seeking out new challenges and experiences. If you ever caught me on the show Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie, you know that I'm the type of person who likes to push the envelope and test my limits, but I also make sure I take breaks and manage stress. Whether it's doing yoga for the first time or trying something like competitive dancing, I like giving new things a go.
When it comes to managing my RRMS, I like to approach it with the same can-do attitude. I think when you have MS, it's important to stay positive and keep active, making sure to work with your doctor to find the types of exercise that are right for you. I realize not everyone with MS can or should do what I'm doing now. However, I want to show those living with MS that you can still challenge yourself to reach for your goals and enjoy the things you did before you were diagnosed, to whatever extent is possible for you.
There are so many misconceptions out there about MS, and one is that everyone who has it experiences severe disability or winds up in a wheelchair. I want to help crush those myths and show people that, while relapsing-remitting MS is a big part of my life, it doesn't control my life. If I can get people to talk about MS in a new way and help raise awareness about the disease, that's half the battle right there. MS is different for everyone. I believe you should set your own goals, consult your doctor, and then go for it!