All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and should not take the place of health care or services you may need. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Janice Dean Interview, Part 1

Hi everyone. I want to thank everyone who’s been visiting my blog. I hope you find it interesting and I invite you to come back often to check it out since I’m always adding new things. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them in the comments section under each post or send me an e-mail at mghealthtalk@gmail.com.

Last week I posted at interview with Janice Dean of the Fox News Channel. That was actually the second interview I did with her. The first interview was very interesting, so I’m posting that one here for you.

What was the road to diagnosis like?

When I look back before diagnosis, there were signs throughout my life that told me things were a little “off” in terms of moods, fatigue, fainting spells, weakness etc., but it wasn’t until the 2005 hurricane season when I was working long hours that I really had the big flare-up. I literally woke up one morning and had no feeling at the bottom of my feet and parts of my thighs. I wanted to sleep for a week. I was in Canada visiting family, and went to a doctor there who told me straight up “you could have something as simple as a slipped disk, or you could have something as serious as MS – you need to get an MRI done. So, I had MRIs done when we got back to the U.S. which showed I had lesions on both my brain and spine. The doctor also performed a Spinal Tap to which I also showed the proteins that indicate the breakdown products of myelin. I was in denial for awhile, and went to 3 different doctors to confirm the diagnosis. I had a second flare up 2 years later which confirmed the diagnosis.

How did you take the news that you had MS? How did your husband take it?

I took the news horribly. I thought my life was over. I cried for days and could not believe it – until I educated myself a little more and found the right doctor to help sort through the clutter of information I was bombarding myself with over the internet. The internet is a great resource, but it can also freak you out. I told my workplace right away, and thankfully they were very supportive, and told me to take as much time as I needed off work, and that my job would still be there when I was ready to come back. Thankfully I got all the feeling in my feet back after steroid treatments, and went back to work a few weeks later.

Thank God for my husband. He was obviously worried about me, but stuck by me, and supported me through the diagnosis and still through the ongoing treatments. The best thing he ever said to me was “I am not afraid of this disease – we fight it together.” It was almost as good as “will you marry me?”

What did you know about MS before you were diagnosed?

Not much. I thought I was going to end up in a wheelchair and never be able to work again. Thankfully I had a role model already right here in the workplace – Neil Cavuto who I talked to for many hours after I was diagnosed. I cried in his office while he kept handing me tissues and telling me I would be ok, and would end up being a stronger better person because of the illness.

How has MS changed you?

It sounds corny, but I appreciate my life so much more – my family and friends have been incredibly supportive. I used to be a crazy career person. My career literally defined me. I was always searching for the next best thing – the next best challenge. Now I just appreciate my job and am thankful I can work and have fun at what I do…but it’s in a better perspective now – and I think I’m a little more easy-going – not as uptight or stressed out. Life is precious. It can be taken away in an instant. I appreciate that more. I also try to surround myself with positive people. A wise man once told me “negative people make positive people sick.” Those are words to live by.

Has MS caused you to make changes in your life to this point?

I have to get my sleep. I can’t function on 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night. It takes a tremendous toll on me. That is the most important. I’m trying to eat better – no diet sodas, more whole wheat, less sugar etc. And more exercise. I don’t smoke, and when I leave work, I try not to bring it home with me (this used to be a very hard task for me). I try as hard as I can to be a happy, upbeat and positive person.

What are you doing to treat your MS?

I take an injection. I don’t want to give away the brand name, because I don’t think one treatment is necessarily better than the other – I’m also frustrated that these drugs cost so much money. If I did not have insurance, I would not be able to afford the drugs I am on. That is unfair. Especially for people who don’t have insurance. How can they keep the illness at bay if they can’t afford the drugs? That’s my one big beef with the drug companies. I can’t wait til they can come up with a pill. My doctor says that’s not too far off.

Has your MS kept you from doing something you really wanted to do?

Nope. It has actually made me want to do more! Since I was diagnosed, I studied to become a meteorologist, I got married and hopefully someday have a family. Having an illness also makes me re-evaluate my priorities and to never take things for granted. Each day is a gift.

Since you have gone public with your MS, how have things changed for you?

Not much actually. At first it was a little weird after I went on television. I almost felt a little “naked” – showing such a private part of your life, but I did it for the next person who gets diagnosed and thinks their life is over. If I can be a positive person that continues to live life to the fullest, and someone who has MS sees this, then I can bring a bit of hope back into that person life. I know I needed to see people who had the illness and were doing ok despite the possible setbacks. Attitude is everything. The support has been overwhelming! Especially from complete strangers I’ve never met. I am humbled by it every day.

Are you part of any kind of support network/group where you can get encouragement and provide encouragement to others?

I haven’t yet joined a support group, but am certainly not ruling out being part of one. It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind just deciding to go public with my illness, but I did it with the right reasons in mind. I hope this is a first step to try and help others as well as bring awareness to the disease.

Do people treat you any differently knowing you have MS?

Interesting question. I think some have been a little shy to ask me how I am or are unsure how to approach their curiosity about the disease, but mostly it’s been incredible support, kindness and understanding.

Do you exercise more or less since you were diagnosed?

This is my one weak point. I need to exercise more. Sometimes I get so tired after work it’s hard not to lie on the couch for the rest of the evening…weekends are a little easier for me to get out and move. When my husband and I go on vacations, we always pick places where we can do outdoor activities like skiing, walking or hiking, so there is always a constant desire to exercise – I just have to find more ways to stay active.

Do you have a personal trainer, physical therapist or some other person guiding your exercise routine or did you come up with one on your own?

I would love a personal trainer, and aspire to have one maybe someday to help keep me motivated and on track. I try to walk as much as I can, and get to the gym when I have time (although you’re supposed to “MAKE TIME” for gym activities, so this is something I need to make a conscious effort to do. Living in Manhattan has been a great place to get out and exercise as most of us don’t have cars and do a lot of serious walking to get from point a to b.

How much exercise do you get and what kinds of exercises do you do?

A few times a week I walk home from work. It’s about a 40 block walk through Central Park. On the weekend my husband and I will try to get out and do something outdoors. I’m excited that warmer weather is here so I can get my legs moving more. I am a member of a gym here in NYC which I need to get to a little more often! Isn’t that always the way? I think I’m much more willing to do exercise when it’s outdoors and the weather is nice – And contrary to what you may have read, I don’t have much control over mother nature!

I see you dancing on Fox News every once in a while and I wonder if you go out dancing as part of your exercise routine?

HA! Yes, I do love to dance – much to my husband and friends embarrassment on occasion! If the mood and good music is happening, I will bust out the moves. I’ve been wondering why I haven’t been invited to more parties to show off my dance floor grooves!

Do you have any parting words of encouragement for someone who may be dealing with MS?

Just to keep on keeping on! It’s pretty big blow to be given news like “you have an incurable illness” like MS – but I think attitude is everything. If you have a positive attitude, and have positive people around you, you can overcome many obstacles in life. I think MS has actually made me a better person too – appreciating my friends and family more than ever, and trying not to “sweat the small stuff!” Life is short. Dark clouds may come, but the sunshine always comes out again after the storm pushes through.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful interview. Very inspiring words from Janice. Blessings always. Brent: USA