At 8:30 pm on New Year’s Eve I was diagnosed with MS.
Yep, we’re getting real-real, real-fast. You in?
Because here’s the deal: I realized that from the outside, my life has looked like a series of half truths. And now I’m ready to get a little uncomfortable and share with you the whole truth. Not simply for the sake of transparency, but because the whole story matters… to me, to my new business, and to thousands of people who live with this unpredictable, many-faced, MS-understood (see what I did there?) disease.
And, hopefully it matters to you too.
So let’s back up real quick:
While my life lately has been filled with some incredible moments…
- Like working in one of the most glamorous health clubs alongside the most talented fitness professionals who became a family to me,
- Like completing a mission trip to Haiti,
- Like getting air time for nutrition segments on Fox29 News and even an unexpected cameo on ESPN via a Carson’s Wentz interview on our Haiti trip,
- Like checking the Broad Street Run off my bucket list…
It’s also been filled with a lot of not so incredible moments…
When I spoke to my neurologist on New Year’s Eve it was simply for excursion headaches that I was getting while working out. I assumed it was prompted by stress (my mom being sick, life being life, etc.). The radiologist gave my routine MRI an MS read and came to an MS conclusion—although neither the doctor nor I agreed with the read. In fact, I hung up after that call on New Year’s Eve and tried to forget about it, pop some bubbly, and ring in the new year. I went through a series of follow-up tests in January all of which came back inconclusive. At that point, my mom was very sick, so I chose to spend the remaining months with her, versus in doctor’s appointments.
The week after she passed, I returned to the doctor, scheduled the spinal tap and on July 7, 2016 at University of Pennsylvania I heard the words…
“Relapsing Remitting MS.”
In some ways, the diagnosis was a validation of the random ailments I’d had over the years—overwhelming fatigue. Brain fog. Heat intolerance. Finally an explanation as to why I would be nauseous and weak for weeks after a hot yoga class. And most distinctly, the facial stabs that would come completely out of the blue and bring me to instant tears, then go just as quickly as it came.
But MS? ME? It seemed inconceivable.
Not only was I dealing with a new norm after my mom’s passing, but now I was faced with finding a new normal for my own health. True to character, though, I approached this life challenge like I would anything: head on.
I went to the best physicians,
Took the best medicine,
And of course discovered the best nutrition path.
This is really where my aha moments began. I discovered nutrition trainings and protocols (the Wahls Protocol was a large source of inspiration) as well as a deeper sense of faith that brought life-changing hope, support, and healing
Hope, support, healing.
These are things that so many people with MS struggle to find. I realized very quickly that I wanted to share what I was learning and create a haven of ‘chronic inspiration.’ I decided to be the coach that I craved when I was diagnosed; to help those with MS jump right into action. I also knew it was time to create a community for people ready to take back their lives from this disease; ready to find freedom; ready to become MS Independent (yes, that’s the name of our new community!)
I spent a lot of time not telling anyone about my diagnosis, but now?
I am ready to heal out loud.
And I know that there are thousands of people diagnosed with MS that have remained quiet because of stigma, because of fear, because of discrimination. And I get it—when you have no outward symptoms, it’s easy to keep it to yourself. But the result? Isolation, loneliness.
So this is for those who are ready to find their voices (and find healing in the process).
I’m dedicating my coaching practice to empower the MS community to feed themselves resilient. Through deliciously healing food, lifestyle habits, and many other healing elements that I’ve been incorporating in my practice for years.
My diagnosis lit a fire in me, and I honestly believe I was diagnosed with MS to help change the conversation around this MS-understood disease, share my experience and be a fierce support to others along the way.
I by no means have this all figured out—but then again neither do the best doctors and researchers. I share this not because I’m looking for pity or sympathy—honestly the opposite.
I share this to invite you along on my journey to stand up to MS and tell it who is boss (with class of course). So this is my new adventure. Rallying my new MS Independent community, and offering ‘chronic inspiration’ and coaching.
Bonus? The foods I’ll be sharing are designed to heal the body from MS and other autoimmune diseases, but they can improve anyone’s health. My theory is Less Pharm, More Table™ 😉
So follow along, cheer along, and see what MS looks like (hint: it looks different for every single one of us.)