31 Days of MS: I have taken, and learned, a lot

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After trying countless medications, Lacie Granstrom found some relief through diet, exercise, and letting go of “toxic relationships.” (Courtesy of Lacie Granstrom)

Day 27 of 31

This is Lacie Granstrom‘s story:

In January 2016, I was sitting on the floor playing with my puppy. When I stood up, what I thought was sciatic nerve pain shot down my leg. Afterward, it felt like my leg was asleep; when I touched it, my leg felt as if it had been injected with a numbing agent like lidocaine. This went on for a week, and at a friend’s advice, I went to the local hospital.

I was admitted after hours of tests, and the doctor confirmed that my symptoms suggested multiple sclerosis. Blood tests for anything they could think of found nothing, and another MRI scan showed only spinal lesions. The neurologist tested my reflexes, strength, gate, and mobility. Then a lumbar puncture found proteins in my spinal fluid that confirmed central nervous system inflammation. A week later, I left that hospital with an MS diagnosis, and numbness that had spread to my belly button.

I went through three neurologists before I found a good one.

I was terrified of what my life was going to look like. Numbness, now in both legs, turned into a constant, restless pain. I was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep, struggling to balance on two feet and using a cane, gaining weight because I was too tired and scared to exercise, and losing hand-eye coordination. I felt defeated. I couldn’t close my eyes in the shower without falling, I was experiencing extreme muscle spasms, I developed foot drop and sensory ataxia, MS hugs. I couldn’t feel the bottom of my feet, I was on the maximum dose of multiple meds.

Tons of steroids and meds, plasmapheresis and infusions. We finally found the right infusion medication for me, and I haven’t needed my cane in years.

I’m in pain all the time. I have memory issues, balance issues, extreme fatigue, muscle spasms, etc. But it’s manageable.

My physical and emotional diets have the most impact on my “new normal.” Stress is my biggest MS symptom trigger. Cutting out toxic relationships and inflammatory foods, and incorporating exercise into my life has helped more than any medication I’ve taken … and I’ve taken a lot.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for MS Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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