Name:

 

Stephanie Ludlow

Country of residence:

 

USA

Age:

 

29

Occupation:

 

Student (DPT) and PT Aide

Who is accompanying you on the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

Paula Sanchez is my companion climber. From my town of Hood River, Sean Corcoran will be on this trip as well.

When were you diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?

 

 

January 2009

How has your diagnosis affected your life?

 

My diagnosis has given me a new outlook on life. I live
life 60 minutes at a time, taking in and enjoying every step of it. I listen to my body, rest when needed, keep active, stretch and breathe. Being present is key.

What is your current level of physical disability (if any)?

 

 

None. I am a healthy, strong person living with MS.

Please provide a history of your disease and how the disease is now affecting your life?

 

 

My first notable relapse was in 2006 when I experienced numbness throughout my body, vision problems and extreme fatigue. I was bed ridden for more than one week. But the symptoms suddenly disappeared. In 2008, I experienced painful joints and numbness in my lower extremities and I was finally diagnosed by my doctor in 2009, with three doctors confirming my diagnosis. Today, my symptoms come and go, with numbness, balance troubles, cognitive issues and loss of vision. For the most part, and through training for Kilimanjaro, I have been able to keep my symptoms to a minimum with a good diet, proper exercise and acknowledging what my body needs. I do not get depressed about my symptoms, but rather appreciate what I do have.

What are your current views/feelings of your life with Multiple Sclerosis?

 

 

 

Life with MS definitely has its downside, including medication and living through days where you physically canít do much, but like most, I appreciate my life more and never take a moment for granted. I immerse myself in the MS community and share my healing actions to help others feel strong and capable. Positive thinking helps to kick the bad views out and lets good feelings in.

How have your relationships with your family/personal/friend relationships been affected by your diagnosis?

 

My friends and family have been a huge support, helping me every step of the way to accomplish my dream of Kilimanjaro. My relationships with them have grown stronger and I feel very proud to be blessed with such amazing people around me

What has motivated you to take part in the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

Everything! MS, people and personal struggles. The Kilimanjaro climb is an opportunity of a lifetime and after this, I hope to feel that I can accomplish anything.

What is your previous experience of hiking/climbing?

 

 

I have been an avid outdoors woman all my life. Traveling to many different countries backpacking and living outside seeking out adventures wherever I can. Living in the Columbia Gorge I have had the opportunity

to climb many cascades including Mt. McLoughlin, South Sister, Mt. Adams and Mt. St Helens. I plan on continuing training to more summits and maybe even a triathlon or two.

What are your aspirations/hopes for the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

 

The experience and connection to the people on our climb, the mountain, native cultures and personal reflection is priceless and something I very much look forward to. I do not have a certain hope for this climb, I am going to let it flow and happen with my eyes open to take it all in.

What hopes/aspirations do you have planned following the Kilimanjaro climb?

 

I donít think that far ahead and like I said before, will let it flow and see what happens.

Please highlight any other achievements you have made since your diagnosis

 

 

Since diagnosis, I have immersed myself in the MS community, holding fundraisers like pilates for MS and volunteering for Walk MS, Bike MS, MS Mud Run, and participating in both the  Walk and Bike MS. I was a participant for the OHSU Diet and MS research study attending the McDougall program and am an advocate for healthy living habits.

What would you say to other people who are living with MS?

 

 

Breathe, eat healthily and keep moving (participate in activities like yoga and swimming). Surround yourself with positive people and friends. Listen to your body and spoil it with goodness. Massage and acupuncture have been a huge part of my healing process and I highly recommend including both for therapy.