Feature in Health Monitor Magazine
January 11, 2018 9 CommentsCategory: Activism, My Story
Tags: Health Monitor, MS, multiple sclerosis
Well, this is certainly not the type of magazine cover you ever want to be on but I am happy I can spread my message further that life with MS is far from over.
Check out the article below from Health Monitor Magazine – I hope it helps others see that living Well and Strong with MS is very possible and attitude is the first step that’ll get you there. You cannot control that you have MS but you can control your reaction to it.
As pulled from January’s edition of Health Monitor Magazine
“I’m living life to the fullest!”
Diagnosed with MS at age 29, Angie Rose Randall immediately vowed that she was going to thrive despite the disease. “Attitude is everything,” she insists. “With MS, there’s no room for negativity!”
Take a spin through Angie Rose Randall’s website, wellandstrongwithms.com, and one thing is clear: The woman is a force of nature! Whether it’s the extra care with which she sets her sparkling holiday table; the finishing touches on a reading nook she created for her toddler daughter, Chloe; or a photo record of her trip last year to Prague with husband Bill, it’s obvious: Here is someone who knows that life is in the details. Her MS? It doesn’t stop Angie from wringing every ounce of joy out of each and every day.
Yet just a couple of year ago, Angie, then a Chicago-based marketing exec for a global hotel chain, woke up, unable to see out of her right eye. Immediately, she made a doctor’s appointment, and when she reported the numbness and tingling she was feeling, an MRI was ordered. She was with her mother and Bill when she received a call with the results: “There were lesions all over my brain,” says Angie. “I fell to the floor and couldn’t stop crying.”
“I went into action mode”
For a moment, Angie anguished over how she could have developed MS…what the future held for her…and whether the life she had planned was still possible. But the following morning, she was looking for a doctor and researching the disease and her treatment options. “I had to figure out what to do next,” she says.
A course of IV steroids helped restore Angie’s vision, and once she connected with the neurologist who managed her care, things began falling into place, enabling her to make good on her vow. Monitored by her doctor, Angie held off on medication in order to start her family. But after giving birth to Chloe in March 2016, Angie learned she had new lesions on both sides of her brain. “I decided to take that day to be sad, and picked up the next day where I left off,” she writes on her blog. She received another course of steroids to help fight off a relapse while she nursed Chloe and, three months later, began treatment with a medication for relapsing-remitting MS (diagnosed when there is evidence of at least two separate areas of damage to the myelin, the tissue covering the brain’s nerve fibers, that have occurred at different times). Since that time, she’s also decorated a new home; started her own marketing business (SocialChowMarketing.com); traveled; dived headlong into fundraising for MS; and even created a site to connect with others in the MS community. “I want to scream it from the rooftops,” she says. “You can live a full and active life with MS!”
What perhaps helps make that possible is Angie’s steely determination. “I decided shortly after my diagnosis that I was going to take control of MS to my best ability. That means taking action: finding the right doctor and medication; educating myself about the disease; seeking out others who could offer tips and helpful suggestions; living a healthy lifestyle; making sure I get sleep and rest; and having the right attitude.”
Her words of wisdom for others with MS? “Know you’re going to be okay,” she urges. “That’s the first step in being okay.”
Taking control of your MS
Here are the strategies that work for Angie. See which ones might work for you, too
Find the right doctor. “With MS, you need to take charge of your health. That starts with finding the right doctor,” says Angie. “After my diagnosis, I looked up the best neurologists in the city. I knew after meeting my neurologist at Rush [University Medical Center] that he was the one. He made me feel like I’d be okay.”
Find the right med. When considering the options to treat her relapsing MS, Angie wanted an effective medication that wouldn’t interfere with her daily lifestyle. Her doctor recommended one that’s given by infusion every 28 days. “It has been fantastic!” says, Angie, who’s been on it about a year. “I’ve had minimal symptoms and no relapses.”
Make adjustments when necessary. “Between the stress of working and managing my life, I couldn’t think straight,” says Angie. She found the solution by leaving her corporate marketing job and starting a business she could run from home. “I needed the flexibility,” she says. “If I’m having a bad day or I feel exhausted, I get in bed and work from my laptop and phone.”
Get help! Angie found a great daycare for Chloe near home and outsourced some of her business tasks. And whenever she starts feeling overwhelmed, she might find someone to watch Chloe or order takeout instead of cooking. “You want to do things 100%, but sometimes you just can’t,” she says. “I’ve found that people understand. They’re more than willing to give you a pass when you need it.”
Monitor your symptoms. Since her diagnosis, Angie hasn’t had trouble with her vision. “I get numbness and tingling, but they’re usually stress-related,” she says. To keep herself healthy and as stress-free as possible, Angie recently created an “action plan”—which entails walks with Chloe to daycare, a 15-minute midday meditation break, a twice-a-week yoga or Pilates class and an early bedtime. “You need to know your limits and listen to your body,” she says. “It’s clear to me when I need to slow down or when I just need to take my dog [Oscar, a Shih Tzu] out for a walk.”
Enjoy your passions. MS hasn’t dampened Angie’s joy in whipping up a delicious meal or decorating her home. In fact, she regularly asks herself: “Am I doing things that make me happy? I’ve learned to manage my disease while also doing all of the things that make me me.”