July 9th 2011 my world that I knew changed. I received a call from my Dr. saying that it’s confirmed. I had MS. I knew this was bad but didn’t really understand what it meant.
I lost my vision in my left eye 6 years prior but had a very physical life, full of hikes and doing what I loved, like hiking with dogs. Eventually my vision came back, and although it was scary, it was back. In May 2011, with various stresses in life, I lost my vision again. A couple weeks later, standing in wet grass and playing with dogs, I realized I had no feeling in my left foot and leg standing in the wet grass. I couldn’t feel it! I am a fighter and thought: odd…but nothing could be wrong. I was then convinced by my husband to see an eye Dr. who convinced me that I really needed to see a neurologist quickly.
In July, my life changed because I was dx with MS. How could this happen to me? I was healthy and had a great lifestyle. I hiked for a living. This could not be right!
On July 9th, I started a new journey, learning and living with MS. I didn’t want to give up the thought of hiking and doing what I loved. I searched for some support online and found Outdoor Mindset’s Meetup Group. I didn’t feel that sitting in a support group in a restaurant (eating food that I didn’t normally eat) was the way to go. I was so inspired talking to Kyle, the founder of Outdoor Mindset - a support group for people like me, who thrive on being outside. Outdoor Mindset gave me hope that I could continue to thrive and enjoy doing what I loved - being outside and pushing my limits.
Two years later, after not being able to walk more than a block, meeting and getting together with others who have neurological challenges, I am hiking and doing everything possible. My first Meetups with this group inspired me to continue to keep on trying to be outside. Nature is what gives me purpose. Outdoor Mindset is not only a support group of people who understand the challenges that I go through, but of others who have different challenges. I have laughed and cried over the challenges while we walk and MOVE, but Outdoor Mindset has given all of us hope.
I can’t say enough about Outdoor Mindset. Throughout my journey, it’s been so wonderful to meet others going through similar challenges but are fighting to be outside and enjoy what nature has to offer for healing! I am not a fan of support groups that are inside. I only have so much energy with my chronic illness, and I want to spend it where I love the most, OUTSIDE and continuing my dreams of what I always wanted to do! Now with Outdoor Mindset I feel like I get the motivation to set new goals and challenges, all with people going through challenges of their own. Somehow it makes it easier and more motivating! Thank you Outdoor Mindset!!!!!! Love you guys for what you have given to me!
Q: What are you most looking forward to as the Boulder OMbassador?
A: Meeting new people like myself. I am going through a lot of changes personally and miss hanging out with people who understand the challenges and motivations that I face. I feel as though I might not be able to do what I want to in the future so it important to me that I do “my bucket list” and continue to push myself.
Helping others. I feel like I am pretty positive in general. I would love to inspire others and help them on their journeys. I have been told I do this with my postings on Facebook and my journey of changing my diet to help my health and fight MS. I also believe in educating others about MS and the early possible signs. If I had caught it earlier I might have not lost so much from it, but on the positive note, MS has taught me a lot!
Submitted by Kat Drake