Faces of MS: Deanna Tysdal

Friends, meet Deanna, a fellow MSer, former colleague and new friend who is an inspiration to the MS community. You’ll never believe what’s she’s up to all in support of finding a cure for this disease!

I met Deanna through a former work colleague a few months ago and we instantly connected over our shared experience with MS. Even though Deanna lives in Omaha, I recently met her at my Athleta fundraiser when she came to Chicago for a work event. It was so amazing to receive her support and to meet her face to face. She’s warm, kind and a kick-ass athlete who’s now raising funds for multiple sclerosis research in the MS the US Relay – a 166 mile run! I’ve just donated and I hope you’ll consider supporting her and this great cause too.

Name:  Deanna Tysdal

Age:   39

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from Omaha, NE and I have a husband and two small children, Luke who’s 5 and Piper who is 3.5… don’t forget the half, she’ll remind you.  I’ve worked in hospitality since I graduated from college and through work, have lived and traveled all over since then.  My husband and I moved back to Omaha 5 ½ years ago and it is great being near family again.  I’m an avid runner and triathlete who also loves to eat. That is why I must run!

How old were you when you were diagnosed?

I was 28 when I was diagnosed

Tell us a little about your first symptoms and how you were diagnosed. 

My thumb would go numb for a couple of weeks at a time and then go away.  I was playing a lot of volleyball, so I just assumed I hit the nerve or something.  Then, the numbness slowly spread across my whole hand.  At my first appointment, I asked the doctor if it was MS as this is exactly how my brother’s started.  He said no and sent me for a carpal tunnel test.  A negative carpal tunnel test, 2 MRI’s and a spinal tap later, I was diagnosed.

If you had to attest you living Well and Strong to one thing, what would it be? 

Staying active and a good sense of humor have been key for me.  My brother also has MS, but is one of the worst case scenarios (wheelchair, catheter, feeding tube, trouble talking, etc…).  After I received my diagnosis, I decided I could sit and wait to be like him or fight for every step every day! I began running more and more, I began doing triathlons, and in May 2017, I’ll be running 166 miles in 6 days as part of the MS Run the US relay. Part of the relay is to raise $10,000 towards MS research and awareness.  That aspect is scarier than the running part!

(If you’d like to contribute and support Deanna and her 166 mile run for MS, you can donate here)

I try to look at my disease with a sense of humor.  I don’t have symptoms, I have “party tricks”.  Just watch how fast my fingers move on their own.  As an added bonus, you should see them after I’m hot from running… they really fly!  We all have bad days, but having a positive mindset and a sense of humor allows me to be a positive, involved presence in my children’s lives on a daily basis.  THAT is what keeps me moving and doing what I’m doing.

What are some of the strategies you use to keep MS under control? 

I use disease modifying medication, vitamin D and daily exercise/stretching.  If I stop exercising for a few days, I notice a significant change in my energy levels and numbness.  I also try to keep a fairly clean diet, except for my ice cream weakness which is my reason to run.

What are some of the things you’ve done despite having MS… Any accomplishments?

I have completed:

I am training to run from Vernal, UT to Steamboat Springs, CO within 6 days in May of 2017.  By chance, my segment starts on my 40th birthday, so I’ve decided I’m not just going over the hill, but I’m RUNNING over that hill!

What advice would you give someone who’s recently been diagnosed? So many things….  The mind is a powerful thing, do not waste it.  If you want something bad enough, a strong mind will allow you to accomplish it.   Do your own research, be your own advocate, and do not be afraid to say no.  MS can be a very manageable disease, but learn what YOU need to do to manage it as everyone is different.

Want to help Deanna make a difference? You can contribute to her 166-mile run for MS here.

Faces of MS Shayla Rosen

“Faces of MS” showcases other people with MS share their experiences and success strategies for living Well and Strong to help the larger community.

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