HOUSTON — It started off with tingling in her feet. Months later, Sharleen Toney had trouble walking.
She decided to go see her primary physician who did an MRI and diagnosed her with the unthinkable.
“I was diagnosed with MS, and it was shocking,” Toney said.
She was told she had secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, which is a disease that causes the immune system to eat away at the protective covering of nerves. This disrupts communication between the brain and the body.
It sounds brutal and for the nearly 1 million people across the country who have MS, it's a tough disease, but there's hope on the horizon.
Tony is receiving treatment as part of a clinical trial in Houston that involves an injection every six months. She and her doctor believe it’s helping.
"Very specifically it gets rid of one part of the immune system," said Dr. John Lindsey, UTHealth Houston Neurosciences neurologist.
Dr. Lindsey is involved in several clinical trials that test new treatments for MS, like the drug Toney is taking.
"It has been very effective in slowing down relapsing MS and some benefit for progressive MS," said Dr. Lindsey.
Slowing down the disease is the goal for now while research continues on the root cause of MS.
"To cure MS we would need to better understand what causes it, and I think we're making progress on that," Dr. Lindsey said.
So as science advances, Toney is hopeful.
"There's hope," Toney said. "It's not the end of the world, and you're going to be fine. And the days you feel like, I just can't do this anymore and you just want to curl up and cry, curl up and cry, and then get up and do what you need to do."
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