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“I feel lucky to have found the right balance” – Jaime Angelini

MS: One Woman’s Experience

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By Samantha E. Gill with Jaime Angelini

t age 38, Jaime Angelini began noticing vision problems, which she attributed to getting older. During an exam with her family Eye Doctor, she was referred for an MRI of the brain. The physician wanted to look for something called “optic neuritis.” During the weeks she’d been waiting for her next appointment, she spent time online researching and reading up on optic neuritis. She had an idea of what it could mean. Her mind was awhirl with “what if’s” and “what could be’s.” Once the results of her MRI came in, she was told to see a specialist, a Neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania. It was at that life-altering appointment, she received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Optic neuritis is oftenlinked to the disease. Jaime said she was “overwhelmed” by the news. She asked questions based on what she had read online. To her comfort and surprise, the University of Penn doctor treated her “where she was.” By that, Jaime explained, she means he felt that it was important to ask the person – the patient - how they were that day -- before pulling out the results and getting to the “nitty gritty” with the patient. There are different approaches to treatment; not everyone picks the same treatment and not everyone at their first appointment decides how they want to progress with treatment. After consulting with her doctor, she decided to take a multi-prong approach by addressing the emotional aspect, taking medication and making dietary changes. As a long-time professional who works in the field of mental health, Jaime talks 10 | March 2017

Jaime Angelini

openly and easily about the subject. She says well-supported by family and friends, including a great husband, Steve, whom she says is her “rock.” Together they decided to tell their children about her diagnosis in an age appropriate way. Both children, now age 8 and 11, also have traveled to Penn to see the facility. Jaime and Steve continue to answer questions as they come up. Jaime also searched for a local support group, when she couldn’t find one, she started her own. As a board member for a Center for Independent Living(CIL) in Atlantic County, Jaime was able to start the group; it’s casual, confidential and open to the public. Jaime said she uses *Disease Modifying Drugs that she and her neurologist have mutually agreed upon for her treatment and management of her illness. She says she occasionally experiences problems with her vision, but for the most part is doing well. Moreover, Jaime decided to see a *Chiropractor and an expert in *Nutrition Response Testing, through this she has adopted a “food as medicine” approach.

Today, her diet is gluten and dairy free, which, she says, has positively affected her health*. I asked Jaime what advice she had for others who have MS. She said, "networking with those who have been touched by MS, attending a support group, or going to an educational event have been helpful." Support groups are a safe place to listen and/or speak your mind about your experience. "Support is key", she said. Two years have passed since her diagnosis. Jaime is now 40 years old. She works full time at The Mental Health Association in Atlantic County in addition to being a wife, mother, and an advocate for MS. *Note: please talk to your doctor or nutritionist before making any/these modifications to your diet, as everyone responds differently. The MS Support Group is held at the Artemis Center, 4 East Jimmie Leeds Rd Suite #7 Galloway, NJ 08205. The meetings are the first Tuesday of each month at 6 pm. You can call 609.748.ABLE for more information. *Note: Information was received from Occupational Therapist's Dr. Jean A Ayres. I am not a Dr. or a practitioner. I realize everyone has different schools of thoughts. This is information to share and read only, not to practice. For more information on SPD or Dr. Ayres work please go online to: http://www. huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/children-sensory-issues_n_1506341.html or http://childmind.org/article/ treating-sensory-processing-issues Samantha E Gill, is a full time Mom to Audrey 7, Addie 6, and Addie's service dog Golden Doodle, Data 3. Super-Addie has special needs; she is currently in a full day mainstream Kindergarten classroom with Data and a successful IEP in Northfield. Samantha is a full time social worker and sometimes writer. Audrey is in 2nd grade and ready to continue to play hockey and karate. Sam and her tribe loudly exist in Northfield where she hopes to take a nap someday. www.southjerseymom.com

March 2017 issue final  

Moms Family Friendly

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