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Avera Medical Minute: Sioux Falls women plans for future with MS

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Five years ago, Michele Snyders experienced symptoms that were concerning.

“I was bowling and I couldn’t get my footwork to go the right way and then it got to the point where I felt like I was walking through quicksand,” said Snyders.

She had another sensation.

“I would get zingers when I bet my head forward it was my neck and down my arms, I would, it would feel like an electrical pulse, and I knew something wasn’t right,” said Snyders.

A neurologist ordered an MRI, which confirmed that Michele had MS. Avera Neurologist Andrew Ridder describes what’s happening inside Michele’s body.

“Your immune system attacks the covering of the nerves in the brain or the spinal cord. It can kind of flare-up and down where there’s a burst of inflammation then it kind of calms down,” said Dr. Ridder.

Symptoms can vary.

“It can cause weakness or numbness on one side of the body or the other in one limb. Sometimes it causes tingling, it can cause vision changes. So decreases in color vision or visual acuity sometimes usually worse than one eye. And sometimes if over time some cognitive slowing as well,” said Dr. Ridder.

Michele knew it was important to surround herself with support.

“My team started with my neurologist, and then the clinic nurse who you get to know very well because you have stay in constant communication,” said Snyders.

“It’s very important to be closely in contact with your neurologist if you’ve been diagnosed with MS. They can help you to decide the best choice of medication to be on the one that has the good risk and benefits for your specific type of MS,” said Dr. Ridder.

The support from a team she’s gathered helps her with all aspects: mind, body, and soul.

“Stairs are a little more challenging, I’m able to do them but my motto these days is: smile more, walk slower,” said Snyders.

Inspiration from others with MS is invaluable.

“Some are in wheelchairs and some are using walkers and some are using canes, but they’re traveling they’re doing all those things that I didn’t want to lose, and being around those people inspired me to be the best person I can be with Ms,” said Snyders.

Michele says the local chapter of the MS Society has been a valuable resource of information and connecting with others. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are three times more likely to be diagnosed. MS Awareness Week is March 7-13, 2021.

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