Local woman shares daily challenges with multiple sclerosis, hope with newly approved treatment

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“Paralysis in the right side of my face, some brain fog, some confusion, slurred speech, numbness in my right arm, visual problems,” Rena Staats listed while talking about the last nearly decade of battling relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).

It was a normal day, nine-years-ago, she was watching tv and saw double vision.

“I was like, ‘okay somethings wrong here, somethings not right’.”

That’s when she went to the doctor and was diagnosed. Since she has relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, her symptoms of the disease will come and go.

“It was very devastating, to be honest,” Staats said. “It’s like getting diagnosed with cancer. You almost grieve for your health.”

But what exactly is MS?

It’s a disease of the central nervous system that gets in the way of communications between the brain and body. Causing some people to live life in a wheelchair.

“I said I don’t want to be there,” Staats said. “So I want to be as active as I can in my disease and always be pushing for the next medication out there that can help me be better.”

The new FDA approved an oral treatment called Mavenclad, which could help decrease the number of relapses and reduce the progression of disability. Something Staats says gives her hope, especially on the bad days.

“It’s a challenge every day not knowing if you’re going to wake up feeling great, or feeling totally sunken down,” she said. “And you do see more of the disability starting to happen in you.”

Staats said she finds comfort in online support groups, being her own advocate and doing research, and merely staying positive.

To read more about the newly approved treatment, click here.

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