Nick Marchesani - MS Patient
Nick Marchesani had always been active. But more than a decade ago he went from running five miles a day to a constant state of dizziness and nausea, vomiting each morning and ricocheting from one doctor to the next looking for the cause of his severe health decline. Three years later, he was diagnosed with MS.
It was November 2000 and though he felt better emotionally knowing what was causing his symptoms, physically he continued to deteriorate. He had pain and spasticity in his limbs, double-vision, and needed a cane to navigate a simple hallway.
"I knew I might need a wheelchair - I kept thinking of Richard Pryor but I was going to fight before I got there," Nick said. "I started eating better, lots of salads and no more red meat. And I was exercising as much as I could."
Still, he continued to decline.
"It felt like I had cinder blocks on my feet," Nick, 41, said. "It was like I had no knees and hips, just 2x4s for legs and I would have to swing them out and forward to move."
Finally, in 2007 a doctor said the medication, Tysabi, would probably help but Nick needed to get the prescription at the MS Center at Holy Name Medical Center. This was the start of Nick regaining his life.
"The center is great - everything is in one spot," Nick said. "And no matter what symptom I have, they know about it and exactly how to help. My strength has improved, the dizziness has gotten better and I can do five miles on the elliptical machine at the gym."
Today, Nick has switched medications and his gait is unimpeded. He runs a mile on the treadmill and teaches Chair Zumba classes, including as a guest instructor at the HNH Fitness Center in Oradell. He was appointed a lifetime Ambassador for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
"When I first had MS, I felt like I was dead - I couldn't move and I was always sick," Nick said. "But staying positive is so important and I want people to know they can come back from this and live productive lives."