It was a diagnosis Monica Nelson was not expecting.
The first sign of a problem was numbness in her legs that crept to her upper body. When a neurologist told her she had multiple sclerosis, it was tough news for Monica to hear.
“I’m in my forties, I have to do something because I just started to get scared,” she said.
That’s when Monica decided it was time to get in the gym and make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
Fortunately, her employer, Power Design in St. Petersburg, encourages its employees to be healthy.
They have a state of the art facility and personal trainers available to employees free of charge.
Monica asked Power Design Wellness Expert Lindsay Wheeldon to help her.
At first, they worked on Monica’s balance, which is often a problem for MS patients.
“Even though you can’t cure it, you can do so many things to help better yourself,” said Lindsay.
Once Monica started seeing results, it lit a fire and she kept pushing herself.
Fast forward nearly a year to a big surprise waiting for Monica at work.
She was honored with the American Heart Association’s lifestyle change award.
It is given out monthly to someone who has made a commitment to their health and wellness that has resulted in a positive lifestyle change.
“I know I’m healthier than I was before. People I don’t see for a month or two will say, ‘oh my gosh you’re still losing weight,'” said Monica.
She said her intention wasn’t even the 25 pound weight loss, it was being more active.
She and her husband recently went kayaking in separate kayaks, something that would never have happened a year ago. They even walked the steps at Notre Dame on a recent trip to Paris.
“I can now walk 3 miles a day without a problem,” said Monica.