It wasn’t always this way. Lisa Krzywosinski played with her son, she’d run, and she gardened. Despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis since age 18, it was controllable with typical MS medications and she could routinely participate in the activities she loved.
While the diagnosis at such a young age was devastating, she was able to maintain a fairly active lifestyle. Around the time she gave birth to her daughter, nearly ten years ago, symptoms started advancing and became resistant to traditional therapies. She recalls how many of the things she was able to do with her son were no longer possible with her daughter. She describes feeling like there was a belt around her stomach becoming tighter and tighter. Her legs would fall asleep and become tingly. Her vision wavered, and she would see double. She had to quit driving. She had to leave her secretary job, as twitchy fingers made typing arduous and constantly getting up and down grew too demanding.
“It started going downhill fast,” she says.
The life-altering disease began to grab hold, but Lisa sought hope. She saw a couple doctors, but met dead end after dead end. However, that hope she desired really started to take shape when she attended a seminar conducted by Memorial Healthcare’s Dr. Rany Aburashed.
“Right away I knew he was the doctor for me,” she says.
She understood him and a connection developed. Before long, Dr. Aburashed, or Dr. Rany as he’s known by to his patients, recommended Lemtrada™as treatment, which at the time had just become FDA approved. Lisa would be the first patient in Michigan to receive this disease-modifying therapy.
In 2015, Lisa underwent five consecutive days of the 8-hour infusion treatment and completed treatment in 2016 with three consecutive days of infusion. Now, she says she has her attitude back. She knows the treatment isn’t a flick of the switch to get her back to doing the activities she enjoys – but she feels stronger.
Last summer, she and her husband went camping. She recalls the stairs that stood between her and reaching the beach.
“I went down those stairs by myself,” she fondly says. “I held on for dear life but I made it down. And made it up back up. I was really proud. I took a picture of the stairs from the beach and showed Dr. Rany.”
It was a monumental step, and one of the little goals Dr. Rany made for her. Another goal she completed was getting back in the garden. At her father-in-law’s farm this year she got in the dirt and picked green beans.
“There’s something about being out there all by yourself,” she says. “Even if it’s raining. I’m just enjoying my space. Being out there just makes me forget about all of what is going on.”
Despite not having a relapse she’s accustomed to since undergoing Lemtrada™, every day remains a challenge. But with the help of her family and Dr. Rany, she’s incredibly hopeful.
“I want people to know to never give up hope,” she says. “That’s basically what I’m going for all the time. I just know things will get better.” I don’t know where I’m headed but I see everything as positive.”
Through time, Lisa has learned to live with what she has and to not feel like a burden to her family. They are her team, they are her support. She’ll continue her fight for herself and for them. She trusts Dr. Rany to direct her through the experience.
“I feel the results,” she says. “Dr. Rany says it takes time. It could take up to four years. I’m willing to try. It goes right back to having hope.”