The "Miserable Sucker"
Even with her admirable determination to prevent multiple sclerosis from changing her optimistic outlook and sunny disposition, Chris R. found that the disease presents a daunting catch-22 situation. Stress, as she points out, exacerbates the disease, but the expensive treatments required to combat the symptoms of MS are indeed stress-inducing.
Chris said the assistance she received from PAN has been a life-changing asset in dealing with MS (or, as she refers to the disease, the "Miserable Sucker").
Her MS diagnosis in 2004 was initially a major setback for a woman who had worked her entire life in the trucking business she and her husband owned and operated. That, and many hours spent volunteering in the Sacramento community, defined her very active, pre-disease lifestyle.
"In the beginning after my diagnosis, I tried to keep working full-time,” she said. “It was too hard to get the rest I needed. I am a Type A personality. Saying no to some activities and slowing down life was a complete change for me," she said.
"I learned to exercise, eat well and rest, work part-time and have som fun at the same time"
And yet, in her determination that she would not be defined by MS, she found a way to carve out a new, fulfilling approach to daily life.
"My husband and I decided that we would learn as much about MS and we could and live our lives so that everything worked for us,” Chris said. “It took me about one year to learn about the disease, how to manage it while working, and to adjust to my new body. I needed to learn how to balance my body differently when walking and that took some effort. I learned to exercise, eat well and rest, work part-time and have some fun at the same time."
Chris believes her ability to enjoy life would have been undermined if she had not found out about PAN at her local pharmacy.
" Without PAN’s financial assistance, our life at this stage would be very different,” Chris said. “I would be in a constant state of worry about trying to pay for the next item on the list. My symptoms are much better and less frequent due to the help from the Foundation."
With the assistance, Chris is maintaining the productive, positive outlook that MS could not suppress.
"I've had MS for 10 years and I am doing well thanks to healthy management of my life and, of course, my medication,” she said.