My MS Diagnosis (How I Got Here)
Elissa Holzman is an MS Health Coach who specializes in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle for supporting those with the disease. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005, which led her to pay closer attention to how she treats her body. In her new column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Elissa explores various topics about living with the disease, and how healthy eating and other lifestyle alterations can make a big difference in how people cope with MS.
One day in 2005, I noticed that the right side of my face was numb — my cheek, half my nose, and part of my tongue. I was surprised, but given the fact that I had two young children ages 5 and 1 who kept me busy, made me tired, and sprinkled everything with a little worry, I chalked my symptoms up to stress. I didn’t mention it to anyone for a few days, but when it began to bother me, I told my husband, who was concerned. I decided to “wait and see.”
My symptoms continued, so a few days later I called my physician. It was a holiday week, so the kids and I packed up and went to see him. He poked and prodded, asked a few questions, and then he told me to see a neurologist immediately. I was frustrated — did he not see my two kids? I didn’t have time for this! But he was insistent, so I agreed to see his recommended doctor the following day. After arranging for childcare, I went to see the neurologist, who also poked and prodded. He then told me I needed an MRI, which I had never had before.
A few days later I was at the hospital having my first MRI, with my husband in the waiting room. I was scared and confused, and quickly realized that I’m a bit claustrophobic. When I left I told my husband Jason, “Thank god I never have to do THAT again!”
The following day I received a call from the doctor’s office saying that I needed to repeat the MRI, this time with contrast — my insurance company had refused to allow it the first time. When I questioned the receptionist and asked what the doctor was looking for, she said, “The doctor spoke with you about MS, right?” And that was the first time I heard about multiple sclerosis.
In the days and weeks following my diagnosis of Relapsing Remitting MS, I experienced terror, depression, frustration and anger. Once I pulled myself together — thanks in large part to a loving husband and steadfast friends — I started asking questions. I wanted to know how I could help myself, since the doctors could only offer me medication, with no guarantees.
Eventually I decided to go back to school to become a Health Coach, focusing on wellness and nutrition. Today, I see clients who live with MS and help them make meaningful changes in their lives and strategize about how to adopt new habits. I also run workshops on stress, the doctor-patient relationship, and the impact of sugar on our bodies.
Food won’t cure MS — it’s only one piece of the puzzle — but it’s important to keep your body as healthy as possible. Because holistic wellness means taking care of your whole body. And that’s where I can help.
This column will be a place to explore the issues and ideas facing those of us living with MS. Sometimes it’s called an “invisible” disease, but together we can bring multiple sclerosis into the open — and grow stronger in the process.
I look forward to connecting with you here at MS News Today!
Are you looking to make meaningful changes in your life? Ready to look and feel better? Elissa can work with you to reach your goals, improve your diet, increase energy and kick your sugar addiction. Find out more by scheduling a FREE breakthrough session at 917-941-9170 or at http://www.healthelissa.com.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.