My Story: Terry Flood

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

The steps leading to my diagnosis were pretty deliberate. It all began one day when I realized that my feet and legs we're losing sensation. I tried to remedy this by running more, thinking that it may be some kind of circulation issue.

Over the next few weeks the tingling and numbness begin to rise higher and higher. About the time that it reached my pelvic region is when I decided to go have it checked out at a local ER.

I had a battery of tests run on me, from CT scan, to MRI, to lumbar puncture, along with going over detailed information about my lifestyle and health history. After all the results are in and about two months of waiting, my doctor told me that it was most likely MS, but since it was the first instance he was calling it “clinically isolated.”

I was in denial. This was 2010 — I was a 27-year-old man, a combat veteran and leader, and I had the world to conquer.

My doctor prescribed me Avonex — I administered one dose to myself and threw it out. I was not going to be dependent on anything or anyone for my wellbeing and livelihood.

Fast forward six years — this month I told my nurse practitioner that I had been previously diagnosed and the tingling sensation in my hands and feet are still present. She quickly ordered me to undergo another MRI and requested my medical records from the previous stint in the hospital.

This was enough to confirm the diagnosis, with signs of slight progression. I have relapsing-remitting MS. I have accepted it and will begin medication in two weeks.

I am no longer in denial and I have to think about my quality of life 20, 30, 40 years from now. Therefore I'm going to do everything that I can to defy the odds while also following my doctor's advice.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

As of right now I haven't had much help because I haven't told anyone. It isn't really a significant emotional event for me.

When I do tell people they don't believe me because I look healthy and fit and they don't understand the disease. I hope to begin integrating and socializing with others who have the same condition, but I do not want a pity party. To me this is just another obstacle to overcome.

What's your advice to someone else living with Multiple Sclerosis?

My advice is to keep everything in perspective. One thing about life is you never make it out alive — therefore you should live every day as if it is your last because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

It's not about the quantity of life but the quality of life also. We all can make a difference and affect people every day.

Terry Flood

MS does not define me. It is only an obstacle that you have to learn how to adapt and overcome. Nothing in life is easy, but anything can be accomplished through optimism.

Live, laugh, love, cherish and respect. Learn to fight when necessary and when to go with the flow.

Learn to fight when necessary and when to go with the flow.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Since 2010 I have deployed to Afghanistan twice, gotten promoted three times, increased my vertical leap to a height of 54 inches, began working on a book about PTSD and have started the path of completing my bachelor's degree by next year.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Since 2010 I have deployed to Afghanistan twice, gotten promoted three times, increased my vertical leap to a height of 54 inches, began working on a book about PTSD and have started the path of completing my bachelor's degree by next year.

I do not want a pity party.

I do not want a pity party.

Is there anything else we should know?

I am a father, husband, soldier, brother and the list goes on. I am my own toughest critic and expect greatness from myself no matter the circumstances.

MS does not define me.

About Terry Flood

My Story: Terry Flood

I am 34-year-old chief warrant officer in the army. I have no idea what MS means for my career in the future — that is out of my hands.

I have been in for almost 15 years. I have been to Afghanistan three times for a total of 36 months.

I am a father of four children ages eight to 17. I plan on becoming a law enforcement officer and running for public office upon leaving the military.

I am ambitious and will not let MS define me. I am looking forward to learning, sharing and communicating with this community.

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