Tuesday, November 28, 2023

31 Days of MS: From putting my life on pause to taking…

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Photo courtesy of Angie Gensler

Day 20 of 31

This is Angie Gensler’s story:

As a mom, wife, and business owner, I have always prided myself on juggling my crazy life. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 18 years ago on Christmas Eve after suffering from blurred vision and numbness and being bedridden.

Life as I knew it paused.

For the first 13 years, I quietly navigated MS using alternative therapies and nutrition. (This approach wasn’t discussed as much back then). I’d witnessed my sister, who also had MS, struggle with the dosing and side effects of her disease-modifying therapies. It scared the crap out of me!

I removed artificial sweeteners and quick, to-go food from my diet, which helped to quell my symptoms. I also dabbled in different therapies, nutrition, supplements, and exercise. Over the years, I found that I’d have health issues when my diet was inconsistent. I’d experience setbacks when stress arose, and my cognitive function declined when I lacked sleep. When I didn’t exercise, I’d be more fatigued, and the excuses would creep in. My motto became personal accountability.

In February 2017, I was in a horrific car accident. The head trauma I sustained mimicked MS and resulted in a painful, yearlong recovery. My life involved occupational and physical therapy; appointments with neuropsychologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, orthopedists, and neurologists; and lying in a dark room with no TV or computer usage. I gained 40 pounds due to depression from inactivity.

Life was at an unbearable pause — until March 2018, the month my purpose and passion were ignited.

After watching “Living Proof,” a documentary by MS patient Matt Embry, I felt compelled to reach out to him and David Lyons, another patient featured in the film. I quickly learned that my inconsistencies, lack of knowledge, and lack of support were keeping me from my optimal function.

After five years of daily, disciplined self-care through both life challenges and a pandemic, I am living my greatest life as a 50-year-old newly certified personal trainer and health coach.

I believe personal accountability and support from people like Embry and Lyons can be life-changing. Both men have made it their mission to educate others about the profound impact that optimal nutrition, proper fitness, and faith can have in life with MS.

Personal accountability is my motto, faith is my foundation, and sharing my passion and knowledge with those who are newly diagnosed is my mission. Don’t go it alone!

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for MS Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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