Athlete Finds a Team to Help Her Beat Multiple Sclerosis

In 2009, when Jessica March was 29 years old, she began experiencing tingling in her toes and blurry vision.  She was an athlete, and thought she was training too much for a 100-mile bike ride.

“You find all these excuses,” she said. “I remember waking up one morning, I opened my eyes, and I was completely paralyzed.”  Mrs. March was terrified.  “I felt like my body was in a straitjacket,” she said.  She panicked and was screaming while pulling herself along the ground.  “I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I was crying for days,” she said.

The first doctor she saw was a general neurologist who told her she had fibromyalgia.  However, when she got her test results from the hospital, she started doing her own research and suspected multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition she had never heard of prior.

Jessica found a specialist for multiple sclerosis who started treating her for MS. This specialist referred her to Stephen Krieger, MD, Professor of Neurology, at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai.  “It’s been over 10 years, and I have never looked back,” she said.

Her diagnosis and treatment started with an MRI and medications.  But with Dr. Krieger and the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center, her treatment also emphasized the overall wellness of her life and how to thrive while living with this condition.

“He introduced me to the MS support group, and I was exposed to studies and data showing that people with MS can thrive,” Mrs. March said.  In addition to her medications, her treatment includes nutrition, exercise, stress management, and mental health.

“Working with this team, I feel more confident talking to others and helping them,” she said. “I started in this dark place. Ten years ago I thought my life was over.  I did not think I could find the right partner or even have children.  Being a part of the MS Center has helped me and my family so much.” She is married and has two children.

Why should patients with multiple sclerosis choose Mount Sinai?  “This faculty is the best in the world for researching and treating MS,” said Mrs. March, who credits Dr. Krieger, clinical neuropsychologist James Sumowski, PhD, and Ilana Katz-Sand, MD, along with the nurses and fellows, and the entire office staff at the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai.

“Their life mission is to support patients and caregivers,” she says. “It’s not just about a prescription on a prescription pad, it’s about your whole life. This group really cares.”