I’m coping with MS the best way I can

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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.'

Kelly Earley teaches family and consumer sciences at a middle school. (Photos courtesy of Kelly Earley)

Day 28 of 31

This is Kelly Earley’s story:

I have been living with multiple sclerosis (MS) since I was 17 years old but was only officially diagnosed when I was 24 after years of being misdiagnosed. After living with pain and self-medicating to make my daily life easier, it wasn’t until I lost my vision in my left eye that I ultimately got answers.

Meeting with doctor after doctor, I was finally told I had optic neuritis (when the optic nerve is inflamed), and I should be tested for MS. After many tests, I eventually received a correct diagnosis. My doctor was ready to console me, but I was excited, because I finally had an answer for what was going on in my body.

Kelly Earley enjoys hiking with her husband, Duane.

My journey started with six different medications and two different doctors. I am giving a shout-out to my boss for finding the clinic I attended. She had to go with her daughter for something unrelated and stumbled on to the MS floor. She was blown away by the expertise of the clinic and told me I MUST GO.

I was unhappy with the doctor I was seeing, so I called and got in that week. I took the three-and-a-half-hour drive to my new clinic and immediately fell in love.

We decided to stop medications and let my body get back to a neutral level and try a disease-modifying therapy. This therapy has been my best friend ever since. I have been able to continue living my life to the fullest.

Some of my accomplishments I love to share because my life could have been completely different: traveling across the country with my husband for our anniversary honeymoon, practicing yoga, teaching family and consumer sciences at a middle school, going to the gym and exercising in the mornings, gardening in the summer, bartending on the weekends, hiking, biking, swimming, and overall living a happy life.

Finally, I want to share that I still suffer from symptoms, such as pain and fatigue, but have not let them define me. I am me. I learned to cope, I know my triggers, and I continue to do the best I can with my disABILITY.

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.