MS taught me the importance of being kind to yourself

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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.'
A man in a black jacket and casual dress clothes stands next to a large pink flamingo doll, in front of a blue wall that says "Oriental Trading."

It took years for Gregory Sonn to receive an MS diagnosis. He first noticed symptoms while traveling in his 20s. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Sonn)

Day 31 of 31

This is Gregory Sonn’s story:

My name is Gregory and I’m currently living in the unincorporated area of Roseville, near Sacramento, California. I’m surrounded by horse and cattle farms and enjoying the peaceful existence of life.

I was fortunate to grow up in the San Francisco Bay Area during Silicon Valley’s technology boom. In my late 20s, I started traveling every six weeks to the Pacific Rim and the Far East. During those travels, I started having hand tremors and chronic migraines.

Two men hug each other as they pose for a photo in an outdoor garden. The older man, on the right, has a glass of white wine in is left hand.

Gregory Sonn, right, with friend Chris Delameter in June 2022. (Photo courtesy of Jenn Powell)

Although I had spent years with doctors and specialists trying to understand why I was enduring almost daily migraines, along with a bad tremor that made me look like I had a drinking problem, I wasn’t diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) until 2002, when I was in my late 30s. I welcomed my diagnosis like one welcomes poison ivy, but at least I finally had a name for this wacky disease.

Over the last couple years, my disease has continued to spread throughout my body. I now have secondary progressive MS, which entails issues with mobility. In response, I added a cane to my daily routine.

Keeping a positive attitude, along with being kind to myself both physically and mentally, has been one of the key challenges with MS. Navigating the mental and physical aspects of this disease is like riding an angry roller coaster. My Christian faith keeps me strong to endure this disease for the years to come.

Over the years, the pity parties I threw myself have become fewer and far between. Now, when I need something, I’ll ask friends and family for help.

Physical activities of not too long ago — such as when I could road cycle for 25 miles or more or enjoy a hike with friends or a day of water skiing — are a thing of the past. Exercise these days consists of a walk with my dog.

Like everyone, I keep up to date with the latest breakthroughs in MS research and disease-modifying therapies and other medications, and I know there is a brighter future ahead for those of us who struggle with MS.

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