I became acquainted to Tori Wompey last July when I received the following email from her after publishing a blog on fashion and shoes for people with footdrop:
Love your blog. I’m currently using a wheelchair and walker due to MS and breaking my leg. I write blogs as well and was the Colorado chairperson for the #MSbeautiful photo shoot. Do you have any ideas of cute clothes to wear with a walker or wheelchair? I pride myself on looking cute as well.
Thanks for your help, Tori
For the next few days Tori and I exchanged several emails and she sent me photos of herself. She told me that she wanted to “look cute” and struggled to find clothes that worked with her 6 foot frame and that she could comfortable wear with the use of her walker and wheelchair.
I sent Tori some ideas (palazzo pants & wrap around skirts) and she was super sweet and appreciative. Tori very kindly invited me to share my blog posts with her MS support group followers, we became instant blogger friends.
I recently asked Tori to share her story with us as I think it’s very relateable and inspiring.I hope you agree and I look forward to reading your comments at the end of the post.
Hi ~ my name is Tori Wompey and I am wife, mother, daughter, niece, friend, disability advocate and paralegal. I love animals, cooking, shopping and spending time with loved ones. I am a clothing, jewelry and makeup connoisseur and Netflix enthusiast. I am also a person living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition that damages the brain and spinal cord. It effects about 2.3 million people in the world and at this time there is no cure. It’s often called the ”snow flake disease” because it effects everyone different.
If there were ten people sitting in a room with MS, we would all have different symptoms. For me, it effects my fine motor skills, weakness in my legs and my face, hands and feet are always tingly and numb.
When I was first diagnosed in 2006 my symptoms were invisible. I was working full time as a paralegal for the District Attorney’s office, raising my small children, a Girl Scout leader, volunteering for my kids’ extracurricular activities and training for and completing numerous triathlons.
Then in 2014 I became very ill. It wasn’t from new damage on my brain or spinal cord but my MS was reacting to infections in my body such as an UTI or bad reaction to medicine. The doctors call this a pseudo flare.
In the past five years I have been hospitalized and in rehabilitation centers five times for 3-4 months at time. I have relearned to eat, dress, bathe, write, stand and walk fours times. I am currently relearning to stand and walk again for the fifth time. This last pseudo flare started in September after I got an infection after surgery. It’s the sickest I’ve ever been.
MS stole a lot from me, in return it has given me a lot as well. I had to medically retire from a job I loved, give up many of my hobbies, miss an enormous number of milestones in my children’s lives and basically because of that had to rebuild my life. I was angry at this terrible disease for a long time and it was destroying me physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
The upside of MS is that without it I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I once heard a quote that said,
“Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything.. Maybe it’s un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
After all, my journey with MS gave me the opportunities to be a blogger, host a podcast, and be a featured guest on a radio show. Because of this journey, I am a member of one of the largest MS gyms in the country, have been the Colorado chairperson for #MS beautiful, and now have new and lifelong friends. Because of MS, I was given the opportunity to do part-time paralegal work for a disability attorney, paid work helping others with disabilities that ignites my soul.
Of course, with MS, the journey is never over but I’m closing out a few chapters of my story this new year and writing new ones.
I am no longer blogging about MS or hosting my podcast, MS Girl~ you know the one, anymore. I’ve decided to focus on just being Tori.
I am so much more than the condition I live with and I do not want or need it to MS defines me anymore. I’m happy. I love my life and I am grateful to have the love and experiences I have.
This metamorphism did not come easy. It took more than four years of various therapists, energy coaches, and really hard work. Today I can honestly say that despite all of the hardships I have experienced and the physical challenges of living with MS, I am joyful.
I have changed the name of my MS Girl Facebook group and Instagram to, Sprinkle Sparkles. I named my new pages, Sprinkle Sparkle because, who doesn’t love sparkly things? Although I eat a Paleo diet, I am still on the hunt for the yummiest sparkly Paleo cupcake ever.
I’m no longer the girl with MS needing to wear t-shirts that say so. I do not want my new story to have negative people or negative MS talk in it. Like Lainie and her Trend-Able Blog’s mission, I am choosing to focus on what I can do and not on my condition itself. I believe that we can all have beautiful lives while dealing with chronic illness.