Mari Stack, diagnosed in June, 1980
Mari Stack calls herself as an old soul and enjoys sharing her wisdom of living with MS.
What do you remember most from the day you were diagnosed?
Looking back I knew I had it earlier. I had symptoms that I didn’t share with anyone because I thought people would think I’m crazy. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t really do anything. It was really scary. When I first got diagnosed I just remember throwing my keys as far as possible. I was just so furious, not even sad.
What have you learned from living with MS?
MS has taught me to be a much better human being. Before I was diagnosed I had the world in my hand and knew I was going places, but I don’t know if I was the nicest person. I like myself better now. I think of myself as a person of integrity, honesty and a lot of characteristics I’m not sure I would have attached as much before. So MS certainly made me grow up before my time and I believe it has made me an old soul.
What advice do you have for someone newly diagnosed?
Don’t give up on your life. Find out as much as you can about MS and connect with the MS Society. Get into a newly diagnosed group. Even though you’re really scared to hear any information, go anyway. I waited 15 to 20 years to go to MS Camp and I went this last year and LOVED it. I should have started my relationship with the MS Society earlier.
What are you doing to move us closer to a world free of MS?
I’ve been talking to people for a long time about my personal experience with MS and am a good resource for others with MS. I’ve found everybody knows somebody with the disease so I always refer people to the MS Society. I’ve found that once people visit the society they lose much of their fear. I’ve also donated a scooter to the chapter for other people with MS to use.
What do you enjoy most about your participation in the MS movement?
I feel useful when I’m helping people. Ever since I stopped working as a psychologist I’ve had a hard time feeling like I’m not helping people. I’ve come to a much better understanding of who I am now. People look up to me, introduce me to their daughters who have MS and see me as a person with energy who never gave up.