Stephanie Tinney – My MS Story

Varying degrees of numbness and tingling in my forearms-went away. Nonstop itching in my forearms with air conditioning blowing on them, intolerable-went away. Blurry vision in one eye three days after vaccines taken for trip to Africa-went away (trip postponed). MRI, lumbar puncture (spinal tap), looks like MS but will have to wait for more symptoms. Numbness and tingling down one leg and toes felt like plump sausages but visually no swelling-went away. Visual evoked potential, repeat MRI-Yep MS. All that took roughly 5 yrs. Since being diagnosed in 2000 with MS, my journey spiritually, mentally, physically and professionally has been redefined multiple times but generally for the good.

Because I had been in the healthcare industry for 9 years by the time I was diagnosed, I knew the lingo, the docs, the tests. What I didn’t know about was the treatments available. Was little ‘ol Anchorage AK up to speed on the latest and greatest? Having ties with friends at UCLA Medical Center (near my hometown), I found out that, yes, they were and are! So, no second opinion needed for diagnosis or treatment recommendations.

My first two years were still a whirlwind of gaining knowledge of the disease, treatments, how to give myself shots and how to cope. I was 34, never been married, no kids but hope to have both someday. I was in a lucrative career as an Occupational Therapist. My profession gave me more understanding of adaptations that MAY be needed over time. I wasn’t scared about the future because my symptoms were more annoying than disabling. There were also the ABC disease modifying drugs that had been out 3-5yrs so They had some weight there efficacy. My Mom (who lived in CA) and I participated in the Huega Center’s “Can Do” program. Wow, what a wonderful way to learn that MS is a part of my life but is not ALL my life!

With that new perspective, I continued to live my life as I had been, working in a career I loved, buying my first house, getting married, having a child. I didn’t realize until just a few months ago that I had done many physical challenges in those years more to prove to myself that MS didn’t change me even though I think it had. Some of those challenges were

 

  • 26 mile rugged marathon mountain trail (Crow Creek Pass) in 3 ½ days,
  • 50 mile, 3 day walk for the NMSS (National MS Society),
  • 2 sprint triathlons
  • A half marathon
  • An MS 150 bike event for NMSS

Being pregnant (’07) and the subsequent birth of my son (’08) limited me physically as I began experiencing unbelievable nerve pain in the right side of my head, face and neck. It became predictably unpredictable but I was able to keep working full time for the first year (it lasted two) then came the car accident (’09) which shattered my knee one week shy of my son’s first birthday.

The last few years have been quite a challenge for me physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually since the car crash. I have emerged a stronger, more compassionate, more insightful person by the grace of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Stairs and bike riding remain difficult, while running/jogging and kneeling are nearly impossible to do comfortably or safely. Having MS has slowed me a bit in my recovery but with the support of the National MS Society (NMSS) emotionally, mentally, even financially, I am more prepared to face whatever lies ahead.

That said, I am putting myself out on a limb to raise money for NMSS in a biking event the second weekend in Sept. 2011. It is set in our beautiful state of Alaska.

 

9 Comments:

  1. Hello Linda,

    All I can say is that I am humbled by your strength of character and personality. To think that some of us use every kind of excuse not to out for a walk each day and you have done all these things!
    It is quite incredible and I thank for putting things in perspective. We are only ever limited by our own mental shortcomings. You are an example to all.

    Keep the Smiles,

    Stevie

    • Thank you Stevie for visiting my blog. Stephanie is an awesome woman, and a wonderful leader of our local MS support group!
      Linda

  2. Linda,
    What a powerful web site and set of testimonials to the power of the human spirit. And to think, I have often limited what I thought was possible to do with just a few aches and pains that eventually go away.

    I would love to invite you to be interviewed on my Healthy Baby Boomers Network radio show. It is really important to share these inspirational stories with people who either have similar physical limitations, have a different type of physical limitation, have a partner with a limitation or will have one in the future as the aging process takes over.

    • Dr. Erica,
      You are so kind. I know you would rise to occasion if you were dealt the hand of a serious illness! I would be honored to be interviewed on your radio show!
      Linda

  3. Hi Linda

    You are a Example for a lot of people with MS and
    not just for people with MS but people out there
    that sit with problems or no problems that just complane all day.

    I love sport just like you and a know what it take what you do and did. WOW you set with a mind set that will keep MS away from you no matter what the Doctors say .

    Lind Do you know about EFT . google it, it will help you a lot , there is a person the was in a wheel chair because of MS , today he is back to work because of EFT go to You Tube also and look for Tappin f and Healing with EFT

    Regards
    Theuns

    • Theuns,
      Great to see you here! I haven’t seen you for quite a while! Thank you for taking time to comment on my blog! Yes, I’m an active EFTer! It seems incredibly silly yet it works, it’s wild!
      Have a great day!
      Linda

  4. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  5. Hi Linda,

    I didn’t know what MS was. I recently felt some tingling or burning sensation in my hands. When I read Stephanie’s story and searched some info about MS, I realized that the sensations could be symptoms of MS. Now I think I really need to see my doctor to consult about my condition. I’m really thankful I happen to read this post. 🙂

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