Home Health Transitioning From RRMS to SPMS: One Lady’s Story

Transitioning From RRMS to SPMS: One Lady’s Story


By Joann Dickson-Smith, as instructed to Kara Mayer Robinson

I actually do not know once I transitioned from relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) to secondary progressive MS (SPMS). It was so gradual.

I used to be nonetheless strolling once I was recognized in 1994. Then I began utilizing a cane. I went from a cane to strolling with crutches over 3 or 4 years. By 2000, I used to be utilizing a wheelchair. Now I’m completely depending on the chair.

At first, I had a relapse each 3 months or so. I might inform when issues have been going to vary and I’d need to go to mattress. As time went on, I observed I wasn’t having relapses as a lot. I did not really feel like I used to be getting higher, however I did not assume that I used to be getting worse.

About 3 years after I used to be recognized, I used to be just a little bit slower. I had a two-story home, which was troublesome. It was exhausting to go upstairs, then wait till I felt higher to go downstairs, particularly for the reason that kitchen was there. However I actually wasn’t conscious that my MS was getting worse. I had a 3-year-old on the time, and I had a brand new baby, so I used to be busy.

However I did discover I wasn’t doing as a lot with out help. I used to be being cautious to not journey or fall as a result of I had already slipped and damaged my shoulder. I believed that was simply me getting older and clumsy. I actually didn’t join it to the MS. Now, wanting again, that most likely was the explanation.

I didn’t notice my MS had transitioning from RRMS to SPMS for a very long time. I believe it was 2007, when my two boys and I moved right into a single-level residence. By this time, I had a handicap-accessible van, and I used to be utilizing the ability chair extra. All the pieces was extra worrying for me. That’s when my physician instructed me it was secondary progressive MS.

Emotionally, I felt like my MS was going ahead and I had no method of stopping it. I requested my docs if there was something I might do or if there have been any drugs for my type of MS. However I by no means had any luck with the relapsing-remitting medication. All of them made me very sick. There’s nonetheless nothing that helps me.


Then I decided to bodily take cost of what I can do day-after-day. That has turn out to be my drugs.

I strive to participate in one thing day-after-day that can assist. I’m concerned with a wellness program that has exercise and social applications, in addition to lectures on issues like bladder and bowel issues, pain, meditation, and what you have to do to remain lively. I just about attend all of them.

I’ve tried adaptive yoga, swimming, core courses, and cardio courses, and even a sort of CrossFit. I take part in bicycle occasions, swimming occasions, and video games with the VA. I’ve snow skied and executed watersports.

I’ve additionally been a part of a assist group for the Georgia chapter of the Nationwide MS Society for nearly 20 years. It’s particularly for African Individuals as a result of as a bunch, generally they don’t settle for it at first. They do not need to inform anyone. Our group stresses way of life modifications and proudly owning it so you possibly can learn to reside with it.

I’m in my chair just about more often than not. I believe I’m getting slower. I’ve issues now with lymphedema, which is swelling, in my legs. I believe that’s due to the place I’m in more often than not, within the chair. However I am doing lively bodily and psychological issues to maintain me going.

For instance, I love to journey. Final yr once I turned 60, my sister and my son shocked me by giving me and my sister a visit to Paris. The entire 10 days, I used to be in a chair. However I used to be there. We went to the Eiffel Tower. We went to the Louvre. We went throughout.

If I’ve recommendation to share with others, it’s to embrace your MS as a result of it’s actually not going anyplace. It’s a matter of constructing modifications and asking your self, “How do I need to reside?”



Joann Dickson-Smith, Atlanta.

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