Father of Two Takes on MS
By David Lyons Published Nov 27, 2013
As we rapidly approach the holiday season, I start reflecting on all the wonderful and amazing people with MS that I have been blessed to meet through my charity the www.MSFitnessChallenge.org.
I am truly overwhelmed by the accomplishments of those with this disease and their determination to live their lives to the fullest. When I started on this journey I stood on an island alone, and now I stand in a crowd of achievers. I am honored to introduce you to one tough Canadian with MS, Sean Wingrave.
The following is Sean’s story in his own words:
I am Sean Wingrave a 37-year-old father of two children named Isabella and Jonah (ages 4 months and 2 years, respectively). I’ve been married since 2010 to my wife Andrea who stands by my side as I take MS head on. I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and I have a website where I express my feelings about MS and encourage others through my information: www.ownmultiplesclerosis.com.
On Remembrance Day of 2006, I was just 30 years old. I was at work at the restaurant I was a partner in when the entire right side of my body started to go numb. My day ended in the emergency room of a local hospital. I wouldn’t work again for seven months and my life would be forever changed.
‘My Future Looked Very Bleak’
The emergency doctors couldn’t tell me with certainty but they mentioned multiple sclerosis. Early the next spring the diagnosis was confirmed at the University of Alberta’s Multiple Sclerosis Research Department and I now was faced with a life I never imagined; a life where my future looked very bleak.
After speaking with the doctor, the nurse whisked me into another room where she began reviewing the medication I was prescribed. It wasn’t a cure but rather a vehicle to slow the leaking in a sinking ship. I remember sitting there stunned and numb to the world around me. I was so sunk into my own thoughts and emotions I didn’t even notice that the nurse never mentioned diet, exercise, or lifestyle.
I went to my car bewildered and wondered if there was any point to continuing on. It seemed as though I was beginning the new life of a permanent patient. On the drive home rather being filled with sadness I became really angry. How could my life have become a cruel waiting game of taking the medication and letting the disease take its’ course?
I wasn’t able to accept it. I had to take ownership of it and be the master of my own fate.
Master Your Fate
Since 2007 I have experimented with many different approaches to my disease and what I have found is far from simple. The approach recommended by my neurologist is a combination of diet and exercise. However, there is more. I have since realized that my own mental state was broken and fractured and that my mind as well as my body would need to be healed.
For me, beating MS is about taking ownership of every facet of my life. The longer this journey has gone, the more I have realized there was not just one or two areas that needed my attention. I have to fix the whole package, and it is about taking ownership of my treatment, mind, and body.
I actually have mixed feelings about being diagnosed with MS. In some ways the disease has helped give me the focus and clarity I needed to pursue goals. It has also forced me to look critically at myself and admit that my life and lifestyle were far from perfect, and I was headed down a path to nowhere. Don’t get me wrong – I hate the disease and its’ effects, but I have to try and find something positive in my evolving story.
I have to own what happened to me and own my actions moving forward.