Chelsey Chatman was an 18 year old student getting ready to graduate from high school in 2004. She had the average life of an HS Senior, photography editor for the school newspaper, she maintained good grades while doing the usual “prep” to transition from HS to college and she was also enrolled in a work-study program in which she would leave the campus to go to work for half of her day.
Chelsey never had a predisposition for sporting activities…she has never been a picture of grace or athletic ability, but that was something she had learned about herself over her 18 years of life. It was something she could acknowledge and maybe start to work on, considering that she now wanted to actually try after years of willing non-participation.
But then..Chelsey began to experience numbness in her right hand. It would come and go, a few days at a time. It caused her writing to suffer tremendously, and according to her “looked like a 4 yr. old wrote it.”
Chelsey says this time period is hazy, symptoms and dates swirling around in what she’d learn later was the infamous MS fog…but essentially right-hand numbness led to right leg numbness, which led to double vision, which led to fatigue and loss of coordination. When she was finally able to make an appointment to see a neurologist, she remembers her mom mentioning MS. Chelsey didn’t really give any thought to that at the time, just sort of dismissed it as “Oh, mom thinks she’s a doctor because she has Google lol” (this was 2005 btw). And while it was NOT an absolute worst case scenario, it definitely leaned toward that end of the spectrum and that just seemed impossible.
But a trip to a neurologist and subsequent lumbar puncture officially confirmed her mother’s fear and diagnosed her with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Suddenly the things Chelsey thought she had all the time in the world to try didn’t seem so simple or guaranteed anymore..
However, Chelsey continued to push on despite her diagnosis. She continued to work full time on top of keeping a full class schedule, all the while dealing with the right leg numbness that made it so difficult to travel across campus to make it to classes.
Today, Chelsey is on disability and preparing for her journey to Russia for her HSCT treatment. Until about 2 years ago, she continued to work full-time. Now, with the renewed hope of a life without MS, she plans to focus on recovery first and then getting back to life!!
In that plan is a healthier lifestyle, completing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and continuing her efforts in promoting Move, Live, Prosper and making the HSCT dream a reality for others.