Digna Nunez - MS is Not Her Fault
For a long time, Digna Nunez thought that developing multiple sclerosis was her punishment for not spending enough time with her son. She had struggled for years to have a child and finally gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. But she continued working 65 hours a week. So when she was diagnosed with MS, which affected her cognitive ability to such a degree that she had to quit her job, she believed it was God's way of penalizing her for making work her priority.
Now, eight years later, she sees MS not as a consequence for the way she lived her life, but rather an opportunity to rethink what is truly important. Even though her son is now a teenager, Digna loves being home to see him before and after school, asking about his day and being much more involved in his life.
"I don't believe anymore that MS is a punishment from God but getting it has taught me a lesson - how to organize my priorities, "Digna said. "I see things in a different light and it's just beautiful being able to be home with my son."
Like so many MS patients, Digna wasn't diagnosed immediately when she complained of frequent falls and a sluggish memory. It took about six months and a trail of doctors before she was able to confirm what she suspected - she had MS.
Finally, she found Dr. Mary Ann Picone, a board-certified neurologist and Medical Director of the MS Center at Holy Name Medical Center. Digna, from Kearny, has been seeing Dr. Picone for the past eight years and credits her and Holy Name staff members for helping her to continue walking with just the aid of a cane, while maintaining a positive outlook.
"You always feel so welcome when you come here, "Digna said while receiving an infusion at the MS Center. "The whole staff takes the time to talk with you, ask how you're doing and explain things so you can understand them. I get an infusion every 28 days of Tysabri and it really makes a difference - my walk is much firmer after it. Look, MS is a part of my life and I'm okay with that."
But it wasn't easy getting to this tranquil mindset. After getting a job at a car dealership right out of high school, she worked her way up to office manager in two years. She thrived in the fast pace, travelling between three local sites and getting home after 9 p.m. almost every day.
"I really missed working and for about two years I was really down that I couldn't do the same things I always did, "Digna said. "But I'm determined to stay out of a wheelchair and Dr. Picone and the treatment I'm getting at Holy Name are helping me do that. I also have the love and support of my family - even my son knows and helps me when I'm having a bad day - and this, with my faith, keeps me positive."
For more information on Dr. Picone or the MS Center at Holy Name Medical Center, visit http://www.holyname.org/physician/details.asp?phyid=00208