MEET AMYLEIGH MYERS
1) I was diagnosed with MS in June of 2011 at the age of 24. I had been suffering from symptoms since 2008. I was in college when I lost feeling in my left foot. I was put in a cast and sidelined from marching in the marching band. Ultimately, I never got that feeling back and could never do Marching Band again. I turned to swimming when I couldn't march and I swam 2 miles every other day as a Master's Swimmer. In October of 2011 I lost feeling in both of my legs and was sidelined from anything active. I have not fully regained feeling, but I am trying to stay fit by doing low impact exercise. I go to Physical Therapy twice a week and pool therapy has been helping the most. If I could afford a gym membership, I would be in the pool everyday, but my medical bills and mortgage have completely eliminated that opportunity.
2) Unfortunately, I was laid off from my job in March of 2011. The stress of that is probably what ultimately got me diagnosed. I had to pay COBRA until 90 days into my next job which was July. I am glad I did, otherwise no one would insure me with a lapse in coverage like that. I ended up paying $944 a month for that, which in turn eliminated most of the money I had invested over the years and completely racked up my credit card debt.
3) In regards to the motto I live by, I have truly learned "to live every day like it's my last". With my most recent relapse and hospital visit, I got a lot of capabilities taken away from me overnight. MS has definitely taught me not to take my days for granted, my eyesight for granted or my ability to walk and exercise for granted. My body is now my Mercedes and I fuel it with good nutrition and as much activity it can take. It is my only vehicle and I have to take care of it. In the last 4 weeks, I have lost 13 inches and continue to lose and feel more in charge of my body and my future.
To share your story, email Alexis Davis, PR/Marketing Manager at the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National MS Society.