My diagnosis of MS was a catalyst for transformation, empowerment

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by BioNews Staff |

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Five photos showing individuals with multiple sclerosis, who are sharing their real-life stories during MS Awareness Month, are hung with clips on a string above the words 'MS Community Spotlight.'
Woman poses showing off the muscles in her arm.

Angie Gensler became a certified MS fitness specialist, personal trainer, and health coach in the past five years. She led the fitness training alongside her mentor and friend David Lyons at the 2023 MSFC Training Camp in Palm Springs, California. (Photos courtesy of Angie Gensler)

Day 19 of 31

This is Angie Gensler’s story:

My name is Angie Gensler, and in December 2004, just two days before Christmas, I was given life-altering news: I had multiple sclerosis (MS). At 32 years old, I was a mother of two lively daughters, a dedicated wife, and actively involved in our growing business. Little did I know, this diagnosis would become the catalyst for a remarkable transformation.

Mother and two daughters pose together in a sunny vineyard.

Gensler with her grown daughters at a vineyard on the East End of Long Island in New York.

Leading up to that fateful Christmas, I battled severe headaches, spotty vision, numbness on my left side, tingling extremities, and overwhelming fatigue that left me bedridden. After undergoing standard testing, including an MRI with contrast, the neurologist’s words hit me like a ton of bricks: “Your brain lit up like a Christmas tree with lesions related to multiple sclerosis.” Life as I knew it paused.

Returning for my follow-up visit, I was handed pamphlets on medications and grim predictions about wheelchairs. Devastated, I sat in my car, tears streaming down my face, feeling the weight of uncertainty crushing me. In a heart-wrenching conversation with my husband, I offered him an out, believing I was no longer the strong woman he married. His unwavering support became my lifeline.

But amid the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerged. A conversation with my chiropractor, who had been a constant in my life since I was 20, led me down a new path. She handed me a page from her textbook outlining an anti-inflammatory eating guide. With newfound determination, I embraced this dietary shift, stepping into the unknown with cautious optimism.

A woman jumps in the air with a sunrise over a body of water in the background.

Gensler promised herself eight years ago after losing her eyesight due to optic neuritis that, if it returned, she wouldn’t miss a sunrise. She kept that promise and greets the day at sunrise with prayer, meditation, and movement.

And so, the pivot began.

I committed to my nutrition, and within weeks, I felt the fog lifting. Ignoring the lack of support for self-care changes, I forged ahead alone, incorporating alternative therapies and holistic approaches. Despite setbacks and relapses during times of stress and inconsistency, I persevered for nearly 14 years, quietly carrying the weight of my diagnosis.

Then, a pivotal moment arrived six years ago. Inspired by Matthew Embry’s documentary, “Living Proof,” I realized the power of shared experiences. I found solace in his bold honesty and willingness to share his knowledge about nutrition and lifestyle, and I discovered a community where hope thrived. I met David Lyons, one of the MS patients depicted in the documentary, and through his training methods started my journey to a stronger mind and body.

These revelations marked a turning point in my journey, allowing for proper information, support, and connections with others around the world.

To those newly diagnosed, I offer this advice: Pause. Reflect on your life pre-diagnosis. Allow yourself to feel the fear, sadness, and heartbreak, but don’t linger there. Pivot toward self-care — nutrition, fitness, mindset, rest, supplements — and embrace the stories of those who boldly share their experiences. In unity, strength is found.

Today, I stand as living proof of the transformative power of embracing adversity with courage and resilience. My journey is a testament to the truth that even in our darkest moments, there is always a path forward, illuminated by hope and fueled by community.

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.