To see Carol today, you would never suspect that she has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She is an active, 72-year-old and she is a member of the YMCA of Southeast Texas.
Carol first showed symptoms of MS when she had four children under the age of six. She would have unexplained blindness, memory loss, and weakness. Finally, in 1980, after eight long years of not knowing, she was diagnosed. It took her another five years to accept this and even be able to speak of it.
Through this journey, Bob, her husband of 50 years, has been at her side pushing and motivating her. Her doctor told her to use it or lose it. Through it all, she has kept the scripture, Isaiah 41:10 in her heart. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
She began by walking at the mall, but after hurricane Rita devastated the area and took away her walking spot, she and Bob joined the YMCA of Southeast Texas. There, she found water aerobics and fellowship. Soon she needed more of a challenge! She tried the treadmill and she even tried the group cycling (at 70!), but found that the water offered her the best exercise. Gentle on her joints, it gave her the workout she needed and at 71 she began lap swimming.
Now, she swims six days a week for an hour at a time.
Carol says, “I may have MS, but MS doesn’t have me!” While she is swimming her laps, she prays, stretches, concentrates on her breathing and relaxes. It’s her “Me Time”. The results are increased mobility; Carol is fully functional after being dependent on a wheelchair for two years. The swimming relieves stress and has helped her beat depression. Her doctor says she is a miracle and he is very pleased with her progress, telling her “whatever you are doing, keep doing it”. At her last check up, her doctor told her he considers the status of her disease as benign.