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Thursday

 

Locals learn to cope with MS: VIDEO






















What if you felt like something wasn't right and the doctors couldn't figure it out?

This is a familiar situation for people living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Things happen and you don't know why.

"I fell down a bank and broke my back in 5 places," said Betty Calkins.

"I literally thought my right side numbed right up.  I thought I was having a stroke," said Julianna Culvert.

"I was diagnosed in 1994 but started having symptoms in 1978," said Steve Yeager.

"The first diagnosis back then was I had lost my vision in one eye," said Rick Fiori.

MS affects the central nervous system.

The body's own immune cells attack nerves causing them to break down.

After years of deterioration, signals are not properly sent or received from the brain to the rest of the nerves in the body.

Betty Calkins of Vestal was diagnosed in 1979, over ten years before the first medications to treat MS were released.

"From my shoulders down, I was a vegetable. I couldn't walk, I couldn't hold a pencil, nothing," she said.

Juliann Culvert was an avid runner and she knew something wasn't right when she couldn't keep up during a physical for work.

After suffering five years with symptoms, doctors were still skeptical.

"They really have to make sure because a lot of people fake this. Who in the world would fake MS?" said Culvert.

There are only 12 treatments for MS ranging from oral medications to infusions.

While Culvert takes pills for her diagnosis, Calkins has never received any treatment.

"I don't take any drugs because my body has learned how to fight," said Calkins.

She says she uses determination as her medicine.

"I'd a running start in my home, get a running start  and get that wheelchair going as fast as it could go and I'd stand up and say 'look, I can stand.' Then, I'd fall all the way to the floor," she said.

Despite their struggles, both Culvert and Calkins say they keep on moving forward.

"I can still do everything that I used to do.  It might take me a little longer, but I'm still doing everything that I used to do," said Culvert.

One doctor said I wouldn't live out of my 20s. I made  it out of my 20s, 30s, 40s, now I'm in my seventies now," said Calkins.

On Tuesday, we'll show you what resources around our area are available for people suffering from MS.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by BINGHAMTONHOMEPAGE
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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