Jennifer Perry is simply extraordinary and was so instrumental to me when I first found out I had MS. I remember being so terrified after my diagnoses and she was the first person to actually calm me down with her inspirational words and tips and tricks for managing MS.
Jennifer has had MS for quite some time and uses natural remedies to help manage her symptoms. While I’ve chosen to go on a medication, I use her wellness strategies to combat symptoms as well. She was such a valuable resource to me and I hope others will benefit from her experiences as well.
Name: Jennifer Perry
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio and have lived in Chicago for almost 20 years. I have 1 sister who also has MS, which is an anomaly, we’re told. I work in Enterprise Software Sales as a Client Exec and have been in the Technology Industry for over 15 years.
I enjoy fitness, cooking, design, traveling, trying new restaurants and film! I’m inspired every day and am forever inquisitive to learn more!
How old were you when you were diagnosed?
I was diagnosed at 21 years old, while a student at The Ohio State University.
Tell us a little about your first symptoms and how you were diagnosed. Looking back, my first symptoms were tingling/numbness from my waist down. I was originally told I had a virus in my spinal chord by the first neurologist in Cleveland to whom I was referred. MS was never even mentioned. 3 months later, I lost my vision in my right eye completely over the course of 1 week. It was an Opthamologist who diagnosed me with MS, upon seeing my Optic Neuritis. I then found my way to the Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center, where they have a world renown MS Specialty Practice. My diagnosis of Relapsing Remissive MS was confirmed.
If you had to attest you living Well and Strong to one thing, what would it be?
For me, it’s living a clean lifestyle and having a positive mental attitude. After much struggle with disease modifying meds and steroids, I chose a more natural approach to managing my MS. This disease is very different in everyone. I just found what did work for me. I did not tolerate any of the harsh Pharma meds and decided to pursue an alternative treatment plan.
What are some of the strategies you use to keep MS under control?
There are many different things I do that keep my MS in remission. Understanding how your body responds to certain foods and exercise is the most important lesson I’ve learned. The strategies I employ most consistently are:
- Clean Diet (Paleo as much as possible)
- Exercise (3 days a week strength training/Power Plates & 2 days a week Pilates)
- Massage, Acupuncture & Colon Therapy
- Antioxidants, Vitamin D, B Complex and Magnesium Theronate Supplements
- Transcendental Meditation (helps manage stress…my greatest trigger)
- Moderation is Key
What advice would you give someone who’s recently been diagnosed?
Take this disease one day at a time. It’s a hopeful journey. What I’ve learned is that it’s not about “fighting” the disease, but learning to co-exist with it and manage it to a point where it has little impact on your day to day life, as well as your dreams! Lean in to your Support System (friends, family & significant others). While it is difficult and scary for many people to understand exactly how you are feeling, they want to be there for you. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to cancel plans at the last minute because suddenly your fatigue decides to kick in. Learn to better understand your body and how it responds to different environments. Do not compromise who you are or what you want from this life. You can still have it all! Embrace your good days, but allow yourself to have bad days too. This diagnosis is best described as learning to surf. You have to ride the waves every day! Continue to challenge yourself every day and absolutely do not give in to fear! There is a lot the Medical community still does not understand about this disease. In the meantime, use this opportunity to learn more about yourself and most importantly love yourself! Life is beautiful and be sure to enjoy it!!
“Faces of MS” is series that shows other people with MS that share their experiences and success strategies for living Well and Strong to help the larger community.