The Home T is committed to raising money for multiple sclerosis research, but we also find it very important to raise awareness about the disease.
We first met Victoria when she messaged us on Facebook to tell us about the MuckFest Mud Run that raises money for MS! She is an newly diagnosed MS'er who is already getting involved with fighting to raise money and awareness for the disease. We had to hear more about here story!
What state do you call home?
Although I had a great childhood growing up in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, I call California my home state. California is where my childhood ended and my adulthood started. It’s where I had my first job, it’s where I met my husband, and it’s where I raise my beautiful family!
When did you learn you had MS?
I was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on May 24, 2016. However, since 2012 I’ve had a decline in my health and an overall feeling of not feeling “well”. It wasn’t until March 28th, 2016 when things took a turn for the worse. I thought I was suffering from a stroke when I had woke up that morning. My vision was blurred, my handwriting looked like chicken-scratch, the right side of my face was drooped, I was drooling, confused, my speech was slurred and my right hand was numb. The ER gave me a clean bill of health and sent me on my way.
My family and I knew this was not something to sweep under the rug so my husband rushed me to see my primary care physician who ordered a MRI with and without contrast along with a neurological consult. My MRI came back with several white matter lesions and plaques which represented the classic sign of multiple sclerosis. I was not too certain of this diagnosis so I requested for a more definitive answer. I ended up having a spinal tap as well as biomarker blood testing to rule out other diseases that mimic MS. Every test came back Negative except for the MS panel which was positive.
Do you have Relapsing Remitting or Progressive?
At this time I am considered to have Relapsing Remitting MS. The first neurologist I saw said based on my lesions, she believed I’ve had MS for well over a decade. Since my diagnosis, I have switched to a MS Specialist instead of having a general neurologist. It isn’t quite clear yet whether I will be considered Secondary Progressive yet. My “symptoms” have not ever gone away and have progressively grown worse over this short amount of time.
Although a lot of my symptoms from my ER visit back in March have greatly diminished, my numb hand has now spread up my arm past my elbow and my right leg and foot are also numb. At the end of September I had yet another new symptom. My left calf felt as if a rubber band was squeezing tightly around. My new MS specialist ordered a 5 day IV steroid treatment to help “put out the fire”. And thankfully it did just that! The steroids did help relieve a lot of the other symptoms I have but unfortunately it is just a “temporary” bandaid.
How did you hear about the MUD RUN?
I was browsing online and came across the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website! It’s a 5K mud run full of obstacles along the route, to benefit the NMMS! I thought to myself, “If I am still able to walk, I can do this!” The more I looked at the event, the more excited I was to participate. Let’s be honest here, LOL, I am not in shape and I’ve never done anything like this but I want to make an effort to do something that will be a memorable experience and a chance to make a difference in the MS community!
What inspired you to start a team? Are you excited?
My husband helped create my team name, the MirelurkS. By creating a team for this epic event, it has brought my family closer and we are all looking forward to getting muddy for such a great cause!! This mud run is a lot like how life is with MS. It’s going to be dirty. It’s going to be messy. There’s going to be obstacles I probably will not want to do. But it’s going to be about the journey and who is going to be there with me the whole way through!
What has multiple sclerosis helped you learn about yourself?
It was not easy hearing that I have MS and so with that I went through stages of denial, grief and anger. Although I am still fairly new with my diagnosis I have learned that I am such a strong woman. It’s hard to give compliments to myself knowing I am unable to do things I was once able to do. I have moments when I sit down, clear my head and think, “Wow, I’m one tough chick.” And often times I laugh when I can’t open jars and have to ask my husband for help and sometimes I drop a full cup of water. I cannot keep up with my 2 year old daughter when she runs around but she understands when mommy needs to take a break. I ask for help when I need it. I’m learning to let the small things go. Laughter has become a great coping mechanism!!
What’s one thing that people who don’t have MS should know about it?
You will see it everywhere, “Multiple sclerosis is like a snowflake, no two are the same.” Yes, some of us have very similar situations and some of us are able to work and carry on a fairly “normal” lifestyle. What a lot of people don’t know about MS is that it can affect any part of your body, not just your limbs. Some of us (and this applies to me!) have cognition decline and extreme fatigue.
Do you have any advice for those living with MS?
I don’t think I would have such a positive outlook having multiple sclerosis if I wasn’t part of support groups and if my family wasn’t So supportive. I love that when I am feeling emotional I can ask the MS community questions or vent and they will understand because they are living it as well. If you are living with MS and you are feeling alone or discouraged, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website www.nationalmssociety.org for a full list of resources available just for us! The MuckFest MudRun is just one of Many events to help spread awareness and help generate funding to find a cure for MS!
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In 2011, Beth Donaldson, mother of two and wife of a police SWAT officer, was busy with work and the day-to-day life of raising two children. But when she was diagnosed with MS at 40, she dedicated herself to making a difference. Now she and her husband Mike run Living MS and are launching a charity bike ride to benefit MS awareness and research.