31 Days of MS: With small changes come big outcomes

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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.
A professional portrait shot of a middle-aged white women wearing black glasses and sitting before a white background. She is wearing a white blouse and black dress pants, has her hands folded on her lap, and is wearing a broad smile

Photo courtesy of Susan Payrovi

Day 6 of 31

This is Susan Payrovi’s story:

As a young person, physician, and new mom, I never expected to get sick. In fact, I considered myself to be the picture of health. What I failed to see were all of the factors brewing beneath the surface: the stress and intensity of medical training, a type A personality, and a lifelong commitment to people-pleasing, along with many years of eating convenience foods, not making time for exercise, and getting poor sleep. All of this was slowly bubbling up into a perfect storm called multiple sclerosis (MS).

Added to that was the stress of a new baby that finally triggered my MS symptoms, ending my career as an anesthesiologist, a profession I deeply loved. I was reminded of the book “When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection,” by Gabor Maté — my body had simply said, “No more.”

With time, I was able to dig myself out of the disappointment and sadness that had flooded me after this turn of events. What I didn’t expect was that MS would allow me to view my life with new clarity, and it became obvious to me that there were things I needed to let go of, and other things I needed more of, like rest, love, joy, and connection.

I’ve made a commitment to myself to be more intentional about bringing these things into my daily life, and while I don’t always get it right, I always circle back to my beliefs about what is possible if I continue to support my body.

While I can never know exactly what awaits my body in five, 10, or 20 years, I know that I have to keep trying each day to make the small changes that will hopefully amount to big outcomes. Even without guarantees, I believe this quest is 100% worth the effort, and my deepest hope is that I can convince others of this as well.

To share what I’ve learned both professionally and personally, I created an online wellness program called True Medicine, just for people with MS. It’s truly one of the biggest joys in my life to see people get fired up and implement the tools that improve health.

While we can’t cure MS, we can create a healing environment in our bodies with the small choices we make every day. It’s the best way I know how to live well with MS.

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.