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MS Diagnosis Turns into Ways to Help Others

By |2024-05-24T10:20:40-04:00April 12th, 2024|Categories: Health A-Z|Tags: , |

When Cynthia James was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) – a chronic, debilitating disease of the central nervous system – she could’ve scaled back her commitments while processing her new reality. Instead, she found ways to help others with the disease.

Six years ago, with a career she loved, a vibrant social life and numerous volunteer commitments, Cynthia and her husband, Charles, were looking forward to becoming grandparents. But she also had been suffering for many years with an array of health problems, such as balance issues and difficulty walking.

Searching for answers, Cynthia had seen several providers. She was diagnosed with nerve issues and spine issues, severe migraines and several other ailments, but was never tested for MS. The disease progressed, causing pain, numbness and tingling in Cynthia’s arms and hands, vision issues, insomnia and slurred speech. Finally, in 2018, a brain MRI showed active lesions, a sign of MS.

Stopping the Progression of MS

Cynthia was diagnosed with severe relapsing-remitting MS and referred to neurologist Amos Katz, MD, medical director of the Linda E. Cardinale MS Center at CentraState. The center’s interdisciplinary team helps people with MS slow the progression of the disease and live their best lives through advanced diagnostics, comprehensive treatment strategies and supportive care.

For several years, Cynthia responded well to monthly infusions to treat her MS. She
also completed CentraState’s 12-week MS Wellness Program, which provides education and strategies to minimize and cope with MS symptoms that affect daily life.

When testing revealed a new concern, Cynthia spoke with Dr. Katz about a new infusion that would soon be available in the U.S. Remarkably, just a few months later, Cynthia became the first patient at CentraState to receive the medication, which has performed well in clinical studies.

Neurologist Jasmin Patel, MD, a member of Cynthia’s care team and a lead specialist at the Linda E. Cardinale MS Center, notes, “Our focus is to help patients like Cynthia lead long, active and healthy lives by linking them to the treatments and resources they need.”

Cynthia’s multifaceted care also includes physical therapy at the CentraState Health Pavilion at Jackson to help keep her mobile. While the disease presents day-to-day challenges, she enjoys spending time with her grandsons, going to church and volunteering when she can.

In addition, Cynthia founded African American Resources for Multiple Sclerosis, which raises awareness about MS and how it impacts African Americans while providing resources to help anyone living with the disease. She’s also active in the National MS Society and serves on the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America’s New Directions Advisory Board for African American Initiatives.

“When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and wait for MS to take me,” Cynthia shares. “Now I see countless blessings in what seemed like a curse. CentraState saved my life, and I’ve made it my mission to help others.”

MS CARE AT CENTRASTATE

To learn more about MS care at CentraState, visit the page here.

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