Lieza – Runner

I recently became an Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS) ambassador for the Christchurch area and I would love to be able to spread the word about OMS to help others with MS. Here is my story.

They think that I started showing my first MS symptoms when I was 17 (I am 30 now). I used to horse ride competitively and at the end of a cross-country course the jumps would be a bit blurry. I knew that I had to jump between the red and white flags (which I could make out) and then I’d just aim for the middle. Luckily my horse and I trusted each other a lot.

I was diagnosed at 25 as I had been experiencing more MS symptoms. I was no longer horse-riding at that point but I’d run a few full marathons and I used to fall over on tree roots when I was doing trail runs sometimes.

Being diagnosed with a neurological disease can be confronting. Luckily my MS symptoms have been quite gradual so I’ve had a while to come to terms with my diagnosis. I also had a lot of support from my family after my diagnosis. But, like I said, my symptoms were not super bad or obvious at the beginning.

I was asked ‘How has MS changed your life in a positive way? and I liked this question!

MS has made me a lot more appreciative of the little things.

For example, being able to put your shoes or socks on while balancing on one foot (I always have to sit down, even in changing rooms with no seat), crossing the road quickly when the pedestrian light goes from green to orange, being able to wash your face without your left hand having its own party,….. I could go on and on. Appreciate everything and don’t take anything for granted!

I am also in awe with my body quite often. I am amazed at everything it can do. MS has also made me a more understanding and empathetic person. I am more resilient and positive.

MS is a part of who I am now and without MS I wouldn’t be me, and I like who I am.

Laughing, and remembering how far I’ve come really helps me refocus and remain positive, especially on the tough days. I’ve done what medical professionals told me is not possible, I’ve improved my MS symptoms. And I love proving people wrong.  My boyfriend can always make me laugh (some might argue that is not difficult). If I’ve had a bad MS day, we acknowledge it, and move on to the next topic which usually involves laughter.

My top tips for living well with MS (that have helped me) would be:

  • Follow the OMS diet and lifestyle 100%.
  • Don’t stop moving your body just because it is difficult. Neuroplasticity is an incredible, but underutilized, tool.
  • Laugh often and stay positive.
  • Never give up.

I am incredibly proud of how far I have come with my running since following the OMS diet and lifestyle. Below are some links to short clips of my running, 3 months apart, and I believe the progress is due to following OMS.

Lieza running – January 2021

Lieza running – April 2021

Leiza running – July_2021