Faces of Multiple Sclerosis: Punxsutawney Native Doesn’t Let MS Get Her Down

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – Despite the constant battle with multiple sclerosis, a Punxsutawney native doesn’t let the condition bring her down.

Samantha Day grew up in Punxsutawney, graduated from Punxsutawney Area School District in the Class of 2002, and then went on to work in the medical field.

Day explained that her battle with multiple sclerosis began on New Year’s Day in 2016 when she woke up with her left leg feeling “asleep.”

“It just wouldn’t go away,” Day told exploreJeffersonPA.com. “I went out to breakfast that morning and kept realizing it was still there. Later that day I was getting concerned because I do worry a lot.”

With the numb feeling in her leg refusing to abate, Day decided to go to the emergency room. The doctors believed she may have pinched a nerve; however, the next day, her condition worsened as her right arm began to feel numb.

Seriously concerned, Day then returned to the emergency room where she was then treated for Lymes Disease and told she would need an MRI. Still, she wasn’t able to get one immediately because it was the weekend. Finally, after two more visits to the emergency room, a doctor on call decided to keep her overnight and scheduled an MRI of her brain and cervical spine the following morning. The doctors discovered the lesions on her brain and cervical spine, and she was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis, which affects 2.5 million people worldwide, including 400,000 in the United States alone, is a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system. It occurs when an individual’s immune system attacks the myelin, which is the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers, as well as the nerve fibers themselves.

“When I heard the news, I wasn’t scared but relieved that I knew what was wrong. All I asked was ‘What’s next?”

Following her diagnosis, Day took four months off work to recover from her first major flare-up. Since then, she has had other reoccurrences, as well, including one instance where she lost function in her right hand for about three weeks.

According to Day, what she’d really like more people to understand about multiple sclerosis is that while it is a treatable disease, it is also a constant battle.

“We may look normal on the outside, but inside we are fighting every day.”

While Day says she has to be careful – for instance, going out during warm weather causes her serious fatigue, and she still has occasional flare-ups – she also does her best to keep her MS from affecting her day to day life.

“I have my days where I’m fatigued, but my employers are very good about me missing days when I’m having a flare-up. I always say I don’t let it bother me. It’s just part of me now.”

(This is the first article of a series of articles in honor of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.)


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