Episode : “Misdiagnosis”
Nancy Davis appears on the Emmy nominated television series, “The Doctors” to talk about her experience with Multiple Sclerosis and to advise a newly diagnosed patient, Debbie Conti.
Overview of episode:
One of the most difficult diseases to diagnose is the autoimmune disorder multiple sclerosis (MS). Symptoms include loss of muscle coordination, impaired vision, numbness or tingling sensations in the arms or legs, fatigue and incontinence. These symptoms can last for days or even months, and come and go without any pattern.
Fourteen years ago, Nancy Davis began suffering numbness every time she put her head forward, but a neurologist told her it was nothing serious. It wasnt painful, it was just very peculiar, she says. Seven years later, I was skiing in Aspen, and I fell. Three days later, I had no feeling in my entire right hand. Then three days later I had no feeling in all of my left hand. Then three days later I lost the feeling in my stomach.
After a number of MRIs and tests, doctors explained that she had MS. He said, Theres nothing we can do to help this disease. Youll probably be able to operate the remote control on your TV set, Nancy says. I came to him at 33, I have three kids, and all of a sudden this guy just took my life away.
Seven years after her initial diagnosis, she is doing well and is a world-renowned advocate for the disease. To help find a cure, Nancy founded the Center Without Walls, an organization that funds research to combat MS. She also wrote a book, Lean on Me, to help empower people who suffer life-altering or life-threatening diseases. If you have a really bad attitude, and you really feel sorry for yourself, you will not do well, she says. If you go out there, you do all the research, you live your life, you have a much better chance at having a great life. Attitude is everything.
Debbie, 34, began feeling tingling sensations on the side of her face several years ago. Recently, she was diagnosed with MS and is so frightened by the diagnosis, she hasnt even told her children. I was terrified, she says. One of my biggest fears is not being able to walk and being in a wheelchair. I dont know how to tell [my children] that this is going on. Im scared for them, and I dont want them to worry.
Debbie meets with Nancy to talk about her disease, struggles and fears. Nancy gives her a journal so she can write down all of her thoughts and concerns. When you can identify everything youre afraid of and look at it, its easier to overcome your fears, Nancy says. You owe it to yourself to embrace change. Your life is never going to be the same as it was before, but it might be better.