31 Days of MS: Inspiring and supporting others with MS

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by BioNews Staff |

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An photo illustration for 31 Days of MS, where people share their stories of life with this disease.

Jessica (left) with her daughter, Jaleece. Photo courtesy of Jessica Lovato.

Day 3 of 31

This is Jessica Lovato’s story:

My name is Jessica, and I’m from Utah. In mid-February 2020, I was nine months into owning and operating a full-service salon and barbershop. As I was finishing a busy day at the salon, I felt completely exhausted, more so than usual.

The following day, I woke up to what felt like a punch in the face. The vision in my right eye was halfway gone, and I felt pins and needles all over my body. Within days, my vision was gone. In the following weeks, I experienced difficulty walking, extreme vertigo, and a heap of neurological symptoms I’d never had before.

I had an MRI and spinal tap that would lead to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). I was 32 years old, at the prime of my career. I felt as though my world had come to an end, and I spiraled into stages of grief.

MS is insidious, and my symptoms at the time were relentless and aggressive. I tried extreme dieting, and exercise, only to learn the hard way that it could be just as harmful to the body as the disease itself. By the end of my second year living with MS, I was underweight and malnourished, and my symptoms had me convinced I was progressing in the disease. I truly had no hope.

Then, something in me shifted. They say it takes two years to adjust to living with MS and at the time, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could live a good quality of life. I began to research functional medicine and became my own advocate with my medical team. Together, we found a treatment that was right for me that involves a disease-modifying drug along with a holistic approach to keep my symptoms manageable.

I had found a new purpose and started a support group for those newly diagnosed. I also completed training to become a certified yoga instructor. It has always been my passion to help others, and I will continue to do so, supporting my fellow warriors with MS to live their best lives.

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.