I’m Pam Cusano, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November 1997. Initially, I thought my diagnosis was the beginning of a slow and steady decline and that I’d need to take prescription medications for the rest of my life to manage the symptoms. I’d dealt with the side effects of Copaxone for 16 years. Followed by Rebif, Tecifidera and finally Gilenya. As you may know, the side effects of these medications are terrible. As I progressed through these medications, I slowly incorporated natural solutions for dealing with MS, nutritional supplements, healthy food choices, strength training, stress relief and more. Over time, I found that I was able to make actual improvements in my health in ways that I didn’t previously know were possible.
I’ve discovered that attitude is one of the most important things in managing and taking control of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. As I began to make changes for myself, I found that initially, it was hard and I’d get discouraged because I felt I either wasn’t doing enough, or doing it right, or putting myself first. I would find myself falling back into old habits and it often seemed too hard. To be honest, I often felt discouraged. Overtime, I began to understand that making changes is something that happens over time, not all at once.I realized that as hard as it was, and it did get easier over time, it didn’t need to be all or nothing. I decided to allow it to be a gradual process and each step I took in the right direction was another step towards improved health and a happier life.
Now, I often meet strangers, who in passing, happen to mention that one of their children or someone they’re close to has MS. I see that as an opportunity to share my story and to let them know what’s possible. Recently I met a woman at a fitness class who happened to share that her daughter has MS, my response was, “oh, me too.” She was surprised, especially since we were there to get a workout, and asked me how I keep so active. I shared my philosophy on what I do to manage my Multiple Sclerosis and that most people that make a commitment to making the changes I’ve made in how they take care of themselves have seen a marked improvement and a reduction if not an elimination of symptoms.
As of March 29, 2017, I have been off all medications. It takes time, it takes practice and it takes patience. But, these methods can change your MS life. I am living proof of it. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about what works and how to keep myself motivated. I decided that it is vital to share my story and to let people know that If I can do it, they can do it. I’ve been there and experienced my journey in getting off traditional medications and their side effects to have more health and vitality while living with MS.
Oh, one more thing… You’ll be happy to know that when I see my doctors, they now ask me what I am doing instead of telling me what to do.