Adapting to change is a big part of my life with PPMS

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by BioNews Staff |

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Four photos showing individuals with multiple sclerosis who are sharing their real-life stories during MS Awareness Month this March are hung with clips on a string above the words 'MS Community Spotlight.'
A person walks with a cane outside on a sunny day.

Antonio Perez walks with his cane in the summer of 2022, saying his illness wasn’t that bad during that time. (Photos courtesy of Antonio Perez)

Day 7 of 31

This is Antonio Perez’s story:

A person holds a glass of wine while laughing.

Perez enjoys a glass of red wine.

Hello, my name is Antonio Perez and I was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) on Jan. 8, 2022. It has been a little over two years since I was diagnosed, and in that time, MS has completely changed my life for both the better and the worse.

Sadly, it impacted my old routine. Activities such as working out, drawing, writing, walking, and simply brushing my teeth — pretty much anything that required me to use my right hand — became challenging, as MS affects the right side of my body.

Driving has also become a lot more difficult. I can only drive for 15-20 minutes before I’m affected by foot drop.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve had to make some major life changes. One of the most important ones was transitioning to using a walker to make it easier for me to get around. I’ve also started using portable fans to stay cool, considering that heat isn’t the best for my MS symptoms, and I’ve incorporated a lot of nonslip socks into my wardrobe.

A man wearing a white sweater stands next to a wall, smiling.

Perez’s mom and sister visit him in Michigan in April 2023 where he was receiving a treatment infusion.

Luckily for me, I don’t have many bad days, but when I do, they’re very bad. It’s hard for me to walk, my brain fog is extreme, I can’t seem to function correctly, my words get all mixed up, and my fatigue is through the roof. I normally document these bad days on TikTok so everyone can see and understand what I go through.

Before MS, I was great at drawing. I liked sketching, specifically wedding dresses. I could spend the whole day doing that and listening to music. I still try, but it’s no longer the same due to the effects of MS. It makes me emotional because I was so passionate about drawing.

However, I have now gained a new passion for Photoshop. Editing photos — whether they’re of me, food, nature, or someone else — brings me joy!

Despite all the obstacles I’ve faced since my diagnosis, I still try my best at everything I do. I understand MS will never go away, but I am a fighter, and I will continue to live my best life.

In recognition of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March, the MS Community Spotlight campaign features a series of stories highlighting the real-life experiences of people affected by MS, written in their own words. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more stories like this, using the hashtag #MSSpotlight, or read the full series.