Guest blog by Sarah Thomas Pilcher
Have you ever woken up with extreme fatigue and been unable to walk?
It’s been almost eight years since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Walking has been a daily battle for me since then – in fact, it took me a year just to walk somewhat normal again. MS is a disease of the central nervous system that causes nerve damage – symptoms include pain, fatigue, impaired coordination, muscle weakness and vision loss. An estimated 2.3 million worldwide are affected by MS. Organizations such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are working toward “a world free of MS” through innovative research + treatments.
In the meantime, I’m thankful for my amazing doctors, nurses, family and friends who have stood by me and pushed me to just keep moving! Debbie Broadway was one of the first people who also had Multiple Sclerosis to give me support. She was like a fairy godmother who walked in and said, “girl, you can do this – and I’m going to help you.” She has been an inspiration to me and many people with MS. The days I want to cry, she makes me laugh and remember we are all in this together.
To highlight National MS Awareness Week, I sat down with Debbie to talk a little about her journey.
Sarah Thomas Pilcher: How long have you lived with MS?
Debbie Broadway: I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in fall of 1989. Unlike today, there weren’t many doctors that treated MS back then.
STP: What is your day to day life like?
DB: My day to day is, honestly, day to day. I just try to do the most that I can in a day, but there are other days that a full day is just having the strength to take a shower. Having learned how to ‘save my strength’ and prioritize what needs to happen in my day, week and month helps keep me grounded to know that saying ‘no’ is not the end of the world, just as pushing myself too much isn’t either. MS isn’t something I’d wish upon anyone, but we are all fighters and determined to NOT let MS win!
STP: What do you to stay happy + healthy?
DB: I am involved with the Bryant Historical Society (past officer), I served three years on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bryant and I served as officer with the Saline County 4-H. I’m a proud parent of our ‘Beagle Band,’ which includes Skip and Brownie Broadway – both rescue dogs. I also enjoy going to Arkansas State Red Wolf football games and spending time on Lake Ouachita with family and friends.
Photography by Taylor Jacks with LOP Productions