All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for November 2003

Smart Woman: "You are not your illness"

November 9, 2003
Martie Salt
News 24 Houston

Multiple sclerosis has weakened Linda Noble Topf's body. But, she still has a strong will.

She's determined to get the most out of every day.

"I think that was the hardest thing for me was to lose my handwriting," Topf's says.

When she was diagnosed 20 years ago, her reaction was much different. At the time, she was a newlywed and a successful art designer.

"I was absolutely devastated. I immediately started drinking and I started doing a lot of drugs," Topf says.

Topf's depression almost kept her from taking a trip to the Middle East with her husband. It was then that she realized if she didn't accept who she was, MS would take over her life.

"This is what God has given me, so I might as well cooperate with it. Did you ever try to fight, fight God," she says.

She outlines her step-by-step process in a book, "You are not your illness." She says it all starts with honesty.

"I'm ruthlessly honest with myself to say I'm not well and deal with my life exactly as it is," Topf says.

She says this will help you accept reality and stop fantasizing.

"It should've been this way. It could've been this way," Topf says.

She now appreciates every moment, good or bad.

"I started to slow down and enjoy the journey," Topf says.

Topf says she's not somebody with an illness. She's somebody that matters, and according to her, once you understand that, you can have inner peace even if your body is still at war.

Topf says her book isn't just for those with a chronic illness or debilitating injury. She believes it can help anyone struggling with their inner self.

Copyright © 2003, Houston News Channel