All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for October 2003

Not letting illness hold you back

October, 2003
Julie Chapman
Capital News 9

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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," said Topf.

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

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

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.

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

Topf outlines her step-by-step process in a book -- You
Are Not Your Illness."

She said it all starts with honesty, explaining, "Be really ruthlessly honest with myself to say I'm not well and deal with my life exactly as it is."

Topf said this will help you accept reality and stop fantasizing.

She now appreciates every moment -- good or bad.

"I started to slow down and started to enjoy the journey," she said.

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

Topf added that 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, TWEAN News Channel of Albany