My journey with M.S. began 32 years ago. Over a six-week period, I collapsed. I temporarily lost sight as well as all motor function on the right side of my body. In comparison to the current diagnostic environment complete with 9 approved disease modifying agents, research and care were rudimentary.
Because I am a speech pathologist, I immediately began using rehabilitation strategies that I used with my neurology patients. First, awareness – I did a mental “body scan” of what worked, what didn’t, and attempted to use the working parts to augment the non-working areas. I worked with M.S. fatigue by charting change – using diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, and rest.
I became aware that my cognitive skills were impacted so I implemented attention, memory, and organization skills with a toolbox of strategies. Just when I thought I’d solved a problem, an exacerbation would change the landscape. This required flexibility, a good sense of humor, and use of my Viking background of “never give up” to ride the waves of inconsistency which is hallmark of M.S. A stable exacerbating-remitting diagnosis, in addition to a disease modifying agent, have enabled me to live well – although I continue to use my M.S. strategies.
Above all, I learned to always go with the joy that was and is given by my loving family, friends, and colleagues. Hope is on the near horizon for an M.S. cure. I am honored to be a part of an organization focused on that HOPE.
– Britta Schramm
In honor of National MS Awareness Week, our board member, Britta Schramm wrote a few words about Strategizing MS.