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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12

This past Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of my first MS symptoms, leading to my diagnosis at the end of June 2010.

Up until this point I’d occasionally think back to “last year at this time” and how carefree my life was before this disease. I’d always wish I could go back to that place in time where (knowing what I know now) everything was perfect. Now when I think about “last year at this time” all I can think of is how scared I was and how I just wanted it all to go away. I don’t want to relive last summer and I’ve made it through the year without a relapse by being strict with my diet and conscious of the power of prayer.

Honestly, I almost forgot this anniversary, which was a milestone I set for myself to make it here healthy. Last year, June 2011 seemed so far away and I was frightful of what was in store for me over the next 365 days. The neurologist, hospital staff, online medical journals, websites all described MS the same way: a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. And then go on to say that the treatments available will only slow disease progress and will not prevent long-term disability.

And then to me specifically, my neurologist said about Avonex, “don’t worry, the shots will only make you feel sick for 24-48 hours for no longer than six months. Most people take the shot on Friday night, so by Sunday they are okay.”

I can’t write enough about how thankful I am for my uncle sharing his friend’s story, which led me to Roger McDougall’s story and diet, which led me to Dr. Swank’s diet.

After my horrible experience with steroids, I can only imagine my life over the last year if I would have relied on Avonex: fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches, and tiredness every weekend until Christmas.

Instead, in this last year I trained for and completed the Chicago Marathon, traveled to Times Square for New Year’s Eve and advanced my career by taking a job offer at one of the top Fortune 500 companies – all without having to worry about dealing with the “flu” every week.

To anyone who is experiencing symptoms for the first time – there IS hope and I believe your brain can heal. Do your research, educate yourself and find a doctor who is willing to work with you and not just there to patronize or give you pity. Be sad for a day or two, come to terms with your situation and then move on and live. One day turns to two, to four, to twenty-four… and before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your one-year anniversary and thinking about how far you’ve come.