MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - During this Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, a Meridian woman shared her story with KBOI 2News. Laurel Lewis has MS, but getting diagnosed was a process that took years.
She first noticed strange symptoms in 2009, like problems with numbness and her ankles giving out, but doctors couldn't tell Lewis what was wrong.
"My cognitive memory is going, my short memory, it's affecting everything in my life, and yea, I want to find something out," Lewis said. "There had to be some answer, and every test she did was nothing."
A real estate agent, Lewis said 2012 was a big year for her with $5 million in sales, but it was also a difficult year. Her mental health was deteriorating. Fed up after four doctors and no diagnosis, a neurologist in Seattle finally told her what she already knew, that she had multiple sclerosis.
"By the time I found out, that initial response was just so relieving," Lewis said. "A couple months later, couple weeks later, it wasn't relieving anymore. It kind of set in, that that was forever. It's a pretty big deal, you know, not knowing what's going to happen next week or next month. Every day, I can wake up and have some plans for the day and that's not happening anymore because I can't really think anymore or I'm too exhausted to do it."
Lewis now takes eight medications and just as many vitamins, which relieve her symptoms individually but don't cure the disease. She says researchers are closer to a cure for MS than they are to curing cancer.
"The money that it takes to do those studies, I believe the money we're raising right now is going to make that happen," Lewis said.
The 43-year-old said her husband and two kids have been supportive throughout.
"I have relentless positivity," Lewis said. "I think that that is the thing that saves you in any disease or any situation to me. There's always a different way to look at it."
The Lewis family plans to build a new home, one with doors wide enough for a wheelchair in case she needs one in the future. Even as she plans for that scenario, Lewis remains optimistic.