Local woman living with MS tells her story
BATON ROUGE - Jennifer Cope says she was shocked but determined when she first found out she had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) back in 2011.
"I'm not going to let this get the best of me," Cope recollected. "I will overcome this, somehow in my life, but I'm not going to let it get me."
She had always dreamed of being a hairdresser and worked hard to obtain her dream of owning her own business, but the diagnosis meant all that would have to change.
"The doctor told me if I stood up and cut hair for another year, I would be a wheel chair," she explained.
That's when the mother of two switched her focus to home, but even that wasn't enough. Jennifer's MS wasn't responding to medications that were supposed to slow down the disease. She followed her doctor's orders and cutback on her stress levels and got more rest, but there's one factor she didn't take into account- the heat.
"It happened to me so quickly," Jennifer explains. "That morning people saw me out and about running errands and within 20 minutes I was on the floor in my house and couldn't walk."
The incident changed her life again. It left her right side paralyzed and confined her to a scooter. For Jennifer, that was her low point.
"I no longer felt like me, I truly felt disabled for the first time," she says. "Even though a lot of people me as disabled because I had MS, I had truly finally accepted that I was disabled, even though I didn't want to."
But as Jennifer and her family adjusted to her new lifestyle, things changed yet again. One day she was in the wheelchair, the next day she was walking again. According to Jennifer, her abilities sometimes comeback just as quickly as they left.
Right now there is no cure for MS, so Jennifer takes it one day at a time. She says her faith plays a big role in her battle.
"You can not give up your faith and your hope that tomorrow will be a better day," she says. "You just have to have the strength and the courage not to give up."