Julie Roberts is a country music singer living with multiple sclerosis. She worried about how people would react if they knew she had MS. Then she decided ‘I do not have to give up on my dreams’
Huntsville Multiple Sclerosis support group was privileged to have Julia speak at the September 2014 meeting.
She shared: “Accepting my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was probably the most difficult part of my MS journey. However, it also helped me retake control of my life.”
Roberts was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis while recording her second album, 2006’s ‘Men and Mascara,’ but she knew there was something wrong well before that. Remembering her time on the road in support of her first record, she says, “I’d be in the middle of a show and couldn’t hold my microphone anymore. I would get these electric shocks that would start at the back of my head and felt like it would spread all over my head.”
She adds, “I would be signing in my autograph line after a show and while writing the name my fan would give me, I couldn’t even see what I was writing. My vision was very blurry most nights. If I was in the gym, I couldn’t even hold weights.”
This all led to her going to the doctor, and when they took an MRI of her brain, they found 11 lesions that signaled her diagnosis.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that can be slowed down with medicine, but Roberts chose not to take medication; she instead decided to eat well and work out daily in an attempt to keep healthy, but a scan showed that the lesions in her brain had increased to 12. “For years, I was in denial that I had MS. I thought if I didn’t focus on my MS, then maybe it would just go away. It took the Nashville flood in May 2010 for me to “wake up” and decide it was time to take responsibility for what is, and what will be, my life with MS. My Mom, my sister and I lost our home and almost everything we owned in the flood. When we were rescued by boat, we were given another chance at life. I realized then that things can be replaced, but life and good health are invaluable.
The stress from the flood brought on a relapse of my MS, which I could no longer ignore. At that point, I decided to accept that MS is part of who I am, and that I needed to learn how to manage it in order to continue living my dreams.
I believe it was God who gave me another chance at life with the flood rescue and I wasn’t going to waste it. I was determined to show this disease who was boss and that I would not let MS define my life’s journey! I wanted to show the world that MS looks different for everyone and that MS does not mean you have to give up on your dreams.
I’ve learned to manage my MS by keeping all my options open. I have a neurologist who helps me control my MS with a disease-modifying therapy and address any symptoms that may appear. I am also much more than my MS and I manage my life through diet, exercise and my faith. I have learned that I do not have to give up on my dreams.