Saturday, June 16, 2012

Active MSers Feature: Alain Virlouvet

In continuing with my fundraising efforts through Can Do Multiple Sclerosis , I have reached out to the ActiveMSers community to receive various stories of individuals who are living with, and staying active despite of, multiple sclerosis. I have received so many incredible stories of people who are deciding to take action to live the best life they possibly can; so thank you to all of you who have submitted your stories, I will continue to post them in the coming months.

Please check out my personal fundraising efforts through Can Do MS. My goal is $10K by October; we are almost halfway there, every little bit helps! Please spread the word.

Here is Alain Virlouvet's story. Alain happens to be a fellow Texan! He lives near Austin in the town of Brenham, which is the the hometown of Bluebell Ice Cream. I have to say, my husband and I definitely support the economy of his town through our ice cream consumption! A big thank you to Alain for allowing us to read his personal story, and best of luck to him with the MS 150 Bike San Antonio this October. In Alain's words:

"Thank you for helping the MS cause.  Here is my story that I hope will help in your fund raising efforts.

    In 2009 at the age of 62 and out of nowhere, I started experiencing extreme fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, balance issues and that tight constricting feeling in the mid-section of my body that is known as the “MS hug”.  Finally, after 4 months of seeing different doctors and all the tests, I was diagnosed with Relapsing/Remitting MS and started treatment on Betaseron.  One year on Betaseron resulted in elevated liver levels so my medication was changed in late 2010 to Copaxone, and I have done quite well on this medication.

    It took me about a year to accept and adjust to my new life.  I decided to help myself as much as possible to slow down this monster MS.  I had been doing yoga and meditation for some years and have continued both as I’m certain they are a big help.  I was walking every day, but that became laborious and not much fun, so a year ago I started riding my bike.  And to my surprise I found that I felt absolutely no handicap while riding my bike.  So I had found my new love!  I am now riding about 80-100 miles per week and last October I did my first MS 150 in San Antonio.  I plan to do it again this year and will try to do the 100 mile course.

    Since I’ve been riding I have seen an improvement with fatigue, cognition fog, dizziness and just overall wellness.  I feel that I’m lucky (if you can say that about an MS patient) in that my diagnosis came later in my life.  Each MS patient’s progression and symptoms are different, but I like to believe that with my Copaxone treatment in addition to the yoga, meditation, vitamin D, vegetarian diet and regular cycling have helped at the least to keep me stable and possibly may even be slowing down the progression.

I hope this has helped and again your support of MS patients is deeply appreciated.

I wish you all the best with your races.