Kessler Research Participant Describes Life with MS
Multiple Sclerosis Research Participant, Meg Balter, describes living with the often-disabling nervous system disease, and how she began participating in research at Kessler Foundation.
"Hi Steve Adubato here at Kessler Foundation. There's a very compelling and important forum on MS research that I'm going to be honored to moderate, and one of the participants... I'm thrilled to be talking to right now, she is Meg Balter. She's an MS research participant at the Foundation and a registered nurse by profession, but a little less than 40 years ago you were diagnosed with MS, correct? Yes 40 years ago. Talk about what you experienced and what made you first think that something was happening, and your reaction. Okay, I was a nurse in a med-surg unit at the hospital, and I was walking downstairs, and one foot was not going in front of the other anymore, I'm like, it should be something you just run down the stairs and not think about. But I had to think about walking down the stairs. And then I was playing tennis with my future husband, and my left leg went numb, and I started thinking that it was something that I did with my back, moving patients, and I went to see an orthopedist, and he said, "now you need to see... go see a neurologist". And that's when I was diagnosed, but 40 years ago, being diagnosed was a little bit more difficult than it is today. It was a little bit more medieval. [laughter] So let me... ask you this, because we've been talking to a lot of folks about how it's impacted their lives, and so you had this career as a nurse, did you continue working? I did. For as long as I could. But my legs pretty much gave out on me. I was on crutches sleeping in leg splints, the more I worked, the harder I tried, the weaker I got. So my husband and I did some research and we... I backed off, and I did rest exercise and diet. And those three things helped me get more equalized, and I stayed with that, and I do... I did some private duty nursing, I tried to stay in it but then I was signing my name backwards a little bit, numbers were getting mixed up. So giving meds, that's not such a good idea. [laughter] So that was that. Meg, when did you decide that you were going to participate in research? Okay. we were living in Essex County, and my youngest was about eight years old, and I was looking. I was interested in research, and I was looking for something to do with my nursing background. So I found Kessler, and I started doing that 17 years ago, and came up through the ranks. I've done many studies with them, and I've learned so much from them. So that benefits me. Talk about that. Sorry..."