My Story: Denisse

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was suffering intense pain and cramps in my legs for almost eight years. Then the pain was on my lower back. The pain didn't let me sleep at night because it gets worse when I lay down, so I started to sleep in a sitting position on the sofa.

After visiting a lot of doctors, I was told I didn't have anything several times. That made me depressed. One last doctor asked me to do an MRI on my back to see how my nervous system was working because I'm a type 1 diabetic. I got my results back, and there was a tumor at the spinal marrow. It turns out I had a hemorrhage and needed an emergency surgery.

It was very successful. The pain nearly disappeared. While in the hospital, doctors told me there was something in my brain. Some white spots that were typical of MS. They referred me to a neurologist.

I needed to do many more studies, and I still have some more left but I live in Puerto Rico, and we got hit by the strongest hurricane in history. We still don't have electricity, and it's been nearly two months now.

It has been challenging to finish my tests. Meanwhile, the neurologist told me that my MS hadn't had any visible effects on my body yet, but it has affected my optical nerve mildly in one eye and my cognitive skills. I've been noticing I have trouble finding words when I'm speaking and some memory issues.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I have to do some more tests to determine which treatment will be better for me. However, in the meantime, I've been doing some changes.

First of all, I eliminated a few things from my diet. I'm taking supplements that my neurologist prescribed for me, including vitamin D.

I've been reading a lot. I get really sad because of being tired most of the time, but now I know why, so I rest when I have to. I have to listen to my body more. I tried my best to go out for walks with my daughter.

I have good and bad days. When I need help, I ask for it. I've been looking for tools that make the housework easier.

Who has been there for you? How?

I have a precious teenage daughter that is my strength. My parents have been there for me. My husband is giving me the time I need because I'm out of work right now.

I also looked for a psychiatrist because I was in a state of panic. He's been really helpful. My dog is also a therapeutic tool for me. I hang out a lot with him, and he takes all the naps I want. It helps me a lot to have friendly reunions and long conversations.

I often go to the beach because it relaxes me. That's one of the advantages of living on a tropical island.

I give myself permission to take it easy. If I can't finish something today, I'll do it tomorrow.

While in the hospital, doctors told me there was something in my brain. Some white spots that were typical of MS. They referred me to a neurologist.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

First of all, I'm proud of is being able to talk about this. It took me a lot of time to be able just to pronounce it. At least now I don't feel like this is a death sentence.

I'm proud of not losing my sense of humor. I learned just to keep going. I'm looking for answers and a way not to let MS consume me.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

First of all, I'm proud of is being able to talk about this. It took me a lot of time to be able just to pronounce it. At least now I don't feel like this is a death sentence.

I'm proud of not losing my sense of humor. I learned just to keep going. I'm looking for answers and a way not to let MS consume me.

I'm looking for answers and a way not to let MS consume me.

I'm looking for answers and a way not to let MS consume me.

What's your advice to someone else living with MS?

Look for support. Ask for help if you need to.

Forget about everyone else. There's a lot of lack of sensibility from those who don't know. Don't pay attention to any of this.

Focus on yourself, read as much as you can, ask as many questions as you need. Do what make you feel better and love very much.

Don't feel worthless, your life is precious and there are so many blessings coming to you. God always has a plan; you cannot lose your faith. Be happy and enjoy every single moment. Don't feel bad if it's in slow motion.

Look for support. Ask for help if you need to.

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