“I’m not going to let this beat me,” Mike of Denver says of his multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. “Instead, I’m staying active—going to the gym, getting out of the house. I’m just keeping a positive attitude and looking at what I’ve been blessed with—how lucky I really am. I’m just taking an inventory of life. That keeps me very positive.”
Mike was diagnosed with the disease in 2009, after years of contributing his symptoms to “growing older;” for instance, difficulty following the ball during night games in his softball league and having trouble jogging his usual five miles a day. At the gym, his regular weightlifting routine was suddenly becoming more challenging than usual.
“I figured I would just get used to it and adjust and that would be my norm,” he says of his condition. “I would just continue to move on.”
It’s hard to move on when you’re not properly diagnosed, though. His strength and balance didn’t improve, and his increasing series of doctor visits was not getting to the root of the problem. All the while, the sudden inability to function normally was a stunning drawback for this former Torrance, California jock. Yet his athletic training instilled in him a can-do attitude.
“90% of it is will,” he says of his coping and living strategies. “I keep that positive attitude and refuse to use a walker or a wheelchair. It’s extra work, but you don’t benefit if you don’t put the work in. I do physical therapy; my therapist has a background in MS, and knows exactly what to do to help my balance. I very seldom use a cane anymore, which I’m happy about.”
His battle plan was confirmed by the folks at the MS Center at Colorado University. Their advice: always stay active. Exercise.
“At first, I thought, I have enough trouble just walking down the hallway,” Mike says, “but, my gosh, I couldn’t believe the difference that it actually made. I’m usually at the gym six days a week. I ride the stationary bike, lift weights, and that really helps me move around better.”
Another life changer: Mike’s decision to bring his medical records to PicnicHealth.
The advantage of having all of your medical records in one digital Timeline:
- your information is collected and encrypted for easy access
- replaces endless, time-consuming paperwork with a simple press of a button
- keeps all of your information organized in a coherent timeline
- allows you to review and share your information on your own terms
- immediately ready for all of your doctors to review, regardless of their location
- see your X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans directly on your browser. No wild goose chases for imaging that isn’t usually found in electronic medical records
- keeps you, your doctors and your loved ones constantly in the loop and always updated.
Thanks to Mike’s information being centralized, he saved time, money and hassle. Here’s just one example:
“The last time I had my infusion,” he says, “they needed to run some extra blood tests because they didn’t have copies of my previous tests. But I was able to bring up my previous tests online. We just avoided having more tests done. Having everything at your fingertips is amazing.”
Here’s yet another benefit: “If I live here in Denver but get sick in Florida, there would be no way of getting my records,” Mike says of life without PicnicHealth.
Another advantage may help more people than yourself. If you give formal consent, PicnicHealth can allow your information to be shared—anonymously with researchers who are working on cures and treatments for your particular ailment. Your information always remains private, under the highest HIPAA compliance standards set by law. Of course, none of this happens without your explicit permission.
“Hopefully, all of this data will help others transition to the proper care in a much shorter timeline,” Mike says. And he speaks from experience. “It will be less frustrating. Adding information like this can help doctors diagnose folks quicker and offer treatments that are more aligned to their issues.”
In the meantime, Mike continues his exercise regiment, and to that add his commitment to gratitude.
“I have MS, which is not deadly,” he says. “I’m better off than a lot of folks. I have a roof over my head. I’m able to put food on the table. I have a great family and friends. I’m able to still get around. I’m not using a walker or a wheelchair. When I look at the bigger picture, being grateful for what you have makes a world of difference.”
For more information on MS, visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
For more information on how you can gather your medical records for easier and secure transport and sharing, click here.