Mission Stadiums for Multiple Sclerosis

I’m not a fighter, I’m a warrior

My MS Story by Lauren Florio

My name is Lauren and I’m 31 years old. I have been very active my entire life. I was an athlete, a dancer and I just loved doing anything involving sports or the outdoors.

I decided that what I wanted to do with my life was to help other people. So I’ve been working in pediatric psych for years. My career is not only very physically demanding but also emotionally and psychologically exhausting. I love my job and I would do anything for the children that I work with.

Fast forward a few years later, my entire body from my hips down to my feet went completely numb. It came on without any reason or any warning. I assumed I must have pinched a nerve in my back from work. After a week or so of numbness and pain, I finally looked at my husband and said I know my body and something is wrong. I went to so many doctors trying to figure out the reason for the numbness and pain. A few months later, I still had no answers. On the morning of my 31st birthday my phone rang, I quickly answered expecting well wishes from my friends and family. Much to my surprise, my doctor was on the other line telling me that 16 lesions were found on my brain and 1 on my spine. He officially diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis.

Working in healthcare during a pandemic was the most stressful thing I’ve ever been a part of. It was so stressful on my body and mind that it actually sent me into my first flare which showed me symptoms I have never seen before. My legs were numb but my feet felt like they were on fire and no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to regain my balance. I had a pain in my left eye and I wasn’t sure why and my speech almost sounded as if I was intoxicated for some reason. I assumed it was just the stress of working in healthcare during this crazy time and also maybe injuring myself while I was on the job.

Weeks before, I told my brother and my husband that maybe I had MS and they kept saying to stop thinking of the worst-case scenario. But sometimes you just know. After my diagnosis, I went on a slight downward spiral. My anxiety and depression crept up faster than I’ve ever seen before. The fear of the unknown and the fear of not knowing if I’d be able to live the life that I worked so hard to provide for myself and my family was very difficult for me. The stress of my diagnosis and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding my spinal tap left me unable to walk on my own. It was the scariest time in my life and I didn’t know how to move past it.

I took a week or so to wallow in self-pity but told myself that it was time to get up and fight back. I started advocating for myself and also decided to seek out another doctor for a second opinion. This disease is all new to me and has taught me so many things already. It taught me my self-worth, it taught me that I shouldn’t let work run me into the ground because if I’m not in a good place physically or emotionally what good am I to help others. I decided to make my health a priority by not only advocating for myself but to take control of everything I can. I’m proud to say that taking control of my health has led me to start a keto journey and I’ve officially lost 57 pounds.

For the first time in my life, something has forced me to take care of myself before others. I’m still getting used to this but one step at a time. It helps that I have the support of my amazing husband who has stuck by my side through thick and thin as well as my phenomenal family and close friends being there for me every step of the way as best as they can.

My goal with this is to educate myself as much as I can and become an advocate to provide the support for others that they might need it during their journey. I still have plenty of dreams and aspirations for my life, I am only 31. I want to start a family, I want to continue my weight loss and health journey, I want to be more present for my family and friends but most importantly I want to learn to accept and love myself in all aspects of life.

This disease has taught me that I’m so much stronger than I ever could’ve thought I was. I know I can overcome so much more, I just have to let myself do it. Anyone reading this should know that no matter how bad it gets there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It may be something small like getting a phone call from someone you really miss or something big like advocating for yourself or getting yourself in a healthy headspace. No matter what it is, you can do it. I’ve always been a fighter my entire life but then I finally realized something…I’m not a fighter, I’m a warrior.

My MS Story by Lauren Florio

My name is Lauren and I’m 31 years old. I have been very active my entire life. I was an athlete, a dancer and I just loved doing anything involving sports or the outdoors. I decided that what I wanted to do with my life was to help other people. So I’ve been working in pediatric psych for years. My career is not only very physically demanding but also emotionally and psychologically exhausting. I love my job and I would do anything for the children that I work with.

Fast forward a few years later, my entire body from my hips down to my feet went completely numb. It came on without any reason or any warning. I assumed I must have pinched a nerve in my back from work. After a week or so of numbness and pain, I finally looked at my husband and said I know my body and something is wrong. I went to so many doctors trying to figure out the reason for the numbness and pain. A few months later, I still had no answers. On the morning of my 31st birthday my phone rang, I quickly answered expecting well wishes from my friends and family. Much to my surprise, my doctor was on the other line telling me that 16 lesions were found on my brain and 1 on my spine. He officially diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis.

Working in healthcare during a pandemic was the most stressful thing I’ve ever been a part of. It was so stressful on my body and mind that it actually sent me into my first flare which showed me symptoms I have never seen before. My legs were numb but my feet felt like they were on fire and no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to regain my balance. I had a pain in my left eye and I wasn’t sure why and my speech almost sounded as if I was intoxicated for some reason. I assumed it was just the stress of working in healthcare during this crazy time and also maybe injuring myself while I was on the job.

Weeks before, I told my brother and my husband that maybe I had MS and they kept saying to stop thinking of the worst-case scenario. But sometimes you just know. After my diagnosis, I went on a slight downward spiral. My anxiety and depression crept up faster than I’ve ever seen before. The fear of the unknown and the fear of not knowing if I’d be able to live the life that I worked so hard to provide for myself and my family was very difficult for me. The stress of my diagnosis and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding my spinal tap left me unable to walk on my own. It was the scariest time in my life and I didn’t know how to move past it.

I took a week or so to wallow in self-pity but told myself that it was time to get up and fight back. I started advocating for myself and also decided to seek out another doctor for a second opinion. This disease is all new to me and has taught me so many things already. It taught me my self-worth, it taught me that I shouldn’t let work run me into the ground because if I’m not in a good place physically or emotionally what good am I to help others. I decided to make my health a priority by not only advocating for myself but to take control of everything I can. I’m proud to say that taking control of my health has led me to start a keto journey and I’ve officially lost 57 pounds.

For the first time in my life, something has forced me to take care of myself before others. I’m still getting used to this but one step at a time. It helps that I have the support of my amazing husband who has stuck by my side through thick and thin as well as my phenomenal family and close friends being there for me every step of the way as best as they can.

My goal with this is to educate myself as much as I can and become an advocate to provide the support for others that they might need it during their journey. I still have plenty of dreams and aspirations for my life, I am only 31. I want to start a family, I want to continue my weight loss and health journey, I want to be more present for my family and friends but most importantly I want to learn to accept and love myself in all aspects of life.

This disease has taught me that I’m so much stronger than I ever could’ve thought I was. I know I can overcome so much more, I just have to let myself do it. Anyone reading this should know that no matter how bad it gets there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It may be something small like getting a phone call from someone you really miss or something big like advocating for yourself or getting yourself in a healthy headspace. No matter what it is, you can do it. I’ve always been a fighter my entire life but then I finally realized something…I’m not a fighter, I’m a warrior.

LaurenFollow

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.