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This week on the Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast – Therease Weaver is seriously one of the most authentic and positive people I know. An Army Veteran, mother of two daughters, and positive mindset master. Therease, who is living with multiple sclerosis, went from feeling total defeat from her MS for years to finding her own solutions to create a fulfilling life. This is a must listen if you have some struggles and need inspiration from someone who refuses to stay down and shares the many ways she doesn’t let her chronic illness win. Therease’s no nonsense style with a good dose of love will leave you knowing you can do anything. 

Guest Spotlight: Therease Weaver

Theresa Weaver has a career path full of service and selflessness starting in the United States Army, and then becoming an EMT working at children’s hospital in DC. Now she’s working with patients that have diabetes and high blood pressure. She’s living with multiple sclerosis and has vowed not to let it keep her down. A she says, “I’m not a victim with MS, I’m a victor with MS.”

She’s raised two incredible daughters, loves family, loves traveling and is just pure joy.

Connect with Therease Weaver:

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Therease Weaver

This week's podcast was so fun to make because I was talking to an old friend. Therease Weaver was in my first workshop. When I was just starting out as a coach, I was doing a workshop on positive psychology and the effects on mindset and chronic illness. And she was this bright light in the room. We've always stayed in touch through the years. Her story is really amazing from being in the army to raising two daughters while living with multiple sclerosis.
And having often pretty serious symptoms.
Whenever I need a little pick me up and inspiration. I go to Teresa social media feed. Because it's full of those feel-good truth bombs. Like the ones that give you a little wink and a nod. To the fact that life can be tough, but we can be tougher. I have to say, although I was researching and teaching the workshops on positive psychology and mindset.
Therease was the one who taught me what a true positive mindset looked like in the real world. Now you get a chance to experience that too. Please enjoy this week's episode. And visit Andrea Hanson, for more on Therease Weaver resources. We talked about in the show and transcripts from today's episode. Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. To you inspire you To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free.
Listener discretion is advised
[00:01:51] Andrea: Hi everyone. I am here today with Therease Weaver and Therease is seriously one of the most authentic and positive people that I know she's had a career path full of service and selflessness starting in the United States army, and then becoming an EMT working. At at children's hospital in DC. Now she's working with patients that have diabetes and high blood pressure.
She's raised two incredible daughters, obviously loves family, loves traveling and is just a pure joy to be around. I'm so excited to introduce you to Therease Weaver. Welcome Therease.
[00:02:33] Therease: Good morning, Andrea.
[00:02:36] Andrea: you?
[00:02:36] Therease: I'm okay. How are you?
[00:02:38] Andrea: I'm good. Thank you. We were just talking. I, I cannot remember. It's been about eight years since I met you. Does that sound right? It's been
a long time. My gosh. Long, long time you went to one of my very, very first programs when I was like a little baby coach.
[00:02:59] Therease: I remember that it was great though. We had a lot of fun and actually I'm going this Friday and Saturday, they're having one in Fort worth and then the next day they will have one in Dallas. So I'll miss seeing you there. You
won't be at either one of.
[00:03:15] Andrea: I know. No, I won't. That sounds great though. What's the what's the workshop on
[00:03:20] Therease: Actually it is on living with Ms and succeeding with Ms.
So depending on which one you go to, so I'm excited about both.
[00:03:30] Andrea: yeah. So you have done, you have done so much. We were talking the other day and I had to like stop. I was like, we should have been recording this conversation because like we just started talking. I was like, this could be the podcast I should have just recorded it.
love it. When that
[00:03:49] Therease: talk about a lot of good stuff.
[00:03:50] Andrea: I know it was a lot of good stuff. So let's try to recreate that. but you've done your, your career first and foremost has been pretty amazing starting in the us army. And I see you're wearing your army al tshirt.
[00:04:08] Therease: I am. I am wearing my us army DD two 14 alni shirt. that is.
[00:04:16] Andrea: So tell me about that. You were in the army before you got diagnosed with Ms. Is that correct? Mm-hmm
[00:04:24] Therease: That is correct. I was not diagnosed until a little while after I got the military. I should have gotten diagnosed while I was in the military because I had a lot of migraines. I had the kind of migraines that would actually, I would actually pass out. I've passed out during during a PT test before that's how
bad my
migraines were.
[00:04:46] Andrea: I had no idea that you could pass out from migraines.
[00:04:49] Therease: I did
because we would, I would wake up in the morning and I would have
a severe migraine and I would still go out and try to do PT and yeah, I've, I've gone to the hospital mannequin hospital on at Fort Lewis. Several times. I've been placed in dark rooms several time at the.
Troop medical clinic for migraines. So I should have gotten diagnosed then,
[00:05:21] Andrea: Right. Right. And I, I think that's such a common story for so many of us that we especially, I can't speak to other and I'm, I'm sure other diagnoses are like this too, but with Ms. It's like things come and then they go and then they come and then they go. And when they're there, if we don't happen to see somebody who knows what's going on or has seen it before, or who takes.
The extra effort to do testing or try to figure it out. It's not going to be found. I, I think I went at least a year before I was actually diagnosed and in the army, that must have been, cuz you're doing way more than I was doing during the year that I wasn't diagnosed.
[00:06:06] Therease: Yeah, I would say so, we would wake up in the morning. It was, it's no joke when we say that you wake up at four and we do more than most people buy nine or 10. That's very true.
So yeah, I was doing a lot.
[00:06:21] Andrea: Yeah. Oh my gosh. And so you were, you left the army and then you were diagnosed. Talk about that actually happened.
[00:06:33] Therease: That was an interesting episode. I had a seizure while I was in school and
that was the first time after the seizure that I had ever had a MRI done. and at that time they said that I had a mass. On the top of my brain which may have been the cause of me having the seizure.
And then from there we went on and they did lots of tests.
And then from there I started I had woke up one day. And it was really interesting because I was going to take my daughter to school and we were sitting in the car and she said, I told her, I said, is it dark? And she said, no, mommy, it's not dark. Let's go to school. And I was like, it really looks dark.
And she's no, mommy is not dark, hurry up and get me to school. And so I'm driving along and everything just looks really small and it looked really dark outside. So I drove to work like this. And on that day is when the beginning of my, as I say, I won't say it's a nightmare, but it was like a total change
to my life that I never would've thought would've occurred because I really loved my job.
And it is. A traatic experience when you're doing something that you love. And all of a sudden it like, it's like a accident or like you hit a brick wall, but on that day my site didn't get any better.
So I called my Primary care doctor. And she suggested that I go see a ophthalmologist and I'm thinking like, okay, so I go to an ophthalmologist and who goes to the ophthalmologist?
And you're at the office, you're in the office for four hours. I've never known anybody. You go to an eye doctor and you're there for four hours.
[00:08:31] Andrea: that's a little extreme.
[00:08:33] Therease: So they had me do all these matching things I'd never, I didn't even know ophthalmologists did. They had all
these like blocks with different colors.
They had these books with different colors and all this other stuff, things that I had never done when I've gone to an eye doctor.
then I said, after I'm sitting there and finally. Just about all the patients are gone and I'm called back and I'm told that I need to go to the hospital. like, What am I go to the hospital for? And he explains to me, that I have optic neuritis and I'm thinking like, what is that? How does that happen?
And he tries to explain to me how it happens, but to me it still doesn't make any sense because one, I had never heard of that before. Who walks around and says, I have optic neuritis. I that's a rare , diagnosis even today that I hear
of people saying that they have. So I went and this was the beginning, I get there and they refer me to a neurologist.
And so I go there and I get a I get a butterfly put in my arm and then I have to go back three days and I'm like, why am I coming back three days? So I'm still trying to figure this, this thing out.
And I didn't really like that neurologist . But. that's when the beginning of everything started occurring.
And it was just really strange because I'm thinking, well, this is just something that's temporary. Well, my optic neuritis didn't clear it for almost a month
And I. at that time, I couldn't drive and at the time, my kids were younger, they were doing their own thing and stuff like that.
I couldn't drive. There were a lot of limitations on my life and that was, it was scary because I've never been told that I couldn't drive because I couldn't see,
My peripheral vision was just horrible and I didn't want to hurt anybody. Definitely didn't want to hurt myself. So. It was just a lot. And me having to depend on people.
That was a lot also because I don't like, depending on people,
, for me having to depend on someone, a lot of times I feel that when you depend on people, sometimes I, I feel that when these people that you're,
depending on, they're just doing it for you. Pity or, they really don't want to be bothered now they may, that may not be true, but just in my head, I'm thinking that.
So I just prefer not to ask anybody and just do my own thing.
So that was a really hard thing
for me
at that time.
[00:11:12] Andrea: Yeah. That's often one of the first things that we are thrust, I'm going to say into when we're, especially when we're diagnosed with something that has immediately limited our capacity. , I was the same. I was diagnosed with optic neuritis. That's how I was diagnosed with Ms. Was finally having, but I, I was just saying I.
Really see, and it took about a month and, and I was depending a lot on other people. And I think it's a very common experience to all of a sudden, have to be depending on other people and asking for help. And when you're not used to it, often it's we're very independent and we're not used to it.
And we don't know. All of a sudden it. I don't know about you, but with me, it's like when I was first diagnosed, I just instantly, it was all of this insecurity and all of this. I mean, Your whole world has changed. And along with it, your whole understanding of your own identity within this world has changed.
And then you're still having to do something completely different, which is asking for help from everybody and anybody. and depending on other people. And so of course, it's, it's natural to wonder well, what do they think of me? Because I don't know what I think of me right now. So what can they possibly think of me?
[00:12:30] Therease: right.
[00:12:31] Andrea: it can, it can really just turn your life upside down.
[00:12:35] Therease: Very much so, and even today I still feel that a lot of things that I go through, people still don't understand,
Because they're not. Familiar. And I don't know if they have no desire to become familiar or what, but isn't, it's not like people having the knowledge of breast cancer or lung cancer, or even Alzheimer's
people have more knowledge of those things nowadays than they do Ms.
So it would be nice if people would go out and get the knowledge
Because there are more people that have it than people realize.
[00:13:11] Andrea: Yeah.
[00:13:11] Therease: Look at okay. If the disease or the issue that you have, isn't visible, then you don't have anything wrong with you. So I
feel that's another reason why people don't take out the time also to get, become familiar with , Ms.
How it works things like that.
[00:13:30] Andrea: You bring up a really good point. It's so for so many of us, Our Ms is invisible, which means that you can't just to look at us. You don't know. And I always say, you never know if I'm looking at you with two eyes or one,
[00:13:43] Therease: Right.
that's true. that's very true.
[00:13:48] Andrea: a lot of time, and a lot of times it hits people with fatigue and sensitivity to things like heat and whatnot that you, again, you can't see that all you know is that the, somebody's acting differently
or doesn't want to hang out. That can, that can be a lot of different things. And so it does, it does put us, I think, in that position of being the educator with people and, and some people, frankly, don't care, some people don't want to be educated. Some people don't, but I found that for me, one of these things, one of the things that has happened to me is that my, my circle, so to
speak is much more. Closer much closer, much stronger. Like my people are my people and they get me and they ask and I can educate and they want to know.
And, it's, it's something that's really I've found has, has narrowed my my group, my, my group of friends, but in a good way,
[00:14:51] Therease: It also help when you narrow those, when you narrow your group down, because those people that are your friends and are in that close knit those people will. Coordinate things or
do things that they know that will not you. And when I say harm you, I'm not mean oh my God, I'm going to stab you or kick you or something mean harm you as in they know you're your As far as your medical situation, they
know your limitations.
So it's not like you've got to pretend or anything like that around them. You can be yourself. So therefore they will plan things that are indoors. They will plan things that are early in the morning or late in the evening. They will plan things where like I said, that are indoors, like in my case, heat is my kryptonite.
So I cannot. Be out in the sun, which, in which in turn, as I was telling you, I just got back. I had to run to the store and I got out extra early
and I'm back in and I won't be going back out anymore today.
[00:15:54] Andrea: Yeah. It, so going back, talking about when you were diagnosed and, and, we talk about how it. Like it, everything seems to change in our life. It's not just like one thing that we're dealing with with a lot of different things. Talk to me more about what happened and how you, how did you process it?
What helped you move through that, that initial traa of
[00:16:20] Therease: Well,
[00:16:21] Andrea: having that diagnosis?
[00:16:22] Therease: well, it was like a, a death.
No, I didn't die
per se, but I did. Die on the inside because my whole life changed in so many ways that I'd never imagined again. I love my job. I thought that I would be working until I was 70 years old.
and that's how much I love my job. And so to no longer be able to drive.
No longer be able to do your job.
So therefore a li little by little things started chipping away as far as what I could and couldn't do. So as those things started chipping away, it started chipping away. At my self-esteem,
[00:17:07] Andrea: mm-hmm
[00:17:07] Therease: it started chipping away on my. Emotions my
mental capacity. Just a lot of things.
And you're talking about depression, that's depression because you lose so much. And I know a lot of people say, well, you can get another job. You can have people drive you, but that's not even the case. The case is that these are things that you are used to doing, because at that point, when those things change, that means that.
Now you've got to rely on more people for those things. And me not really understanding that there was another way to
do what I was doing before. I didn't acknowledge that. But being told that now you have this disease and now you are losing strength or you've lost strength on your right side, which I still deal with.
I have only 45% of my vision in my right eye.
Those are things that you say, wait a minute, I'm too young for this.
I still have a family there's things that I still want to do. I love to travel.
I love to go. And it was just traatic because now all these stuff got, of course right off the back, I didn't think there was an option.
About how I was going to continue to live finan making money financially, how I was going to continue to enjoy my kids and enjoy life. You just automatically think of all the bad things.
[00:18:38] Andrea: yeah,
[00:18:39] Therease: it took me a while to get to the point of saying there is another way, and I'm not talking about when I say a while, I'm not talking about six months.
I'm not talking about eight months. I'm
talking about years before I finally said enough is enough because realistically I was killing myself and I'm sure I was making my symptoms worse. I had gone into a deep depression because my life had changed and I just didn't expect that, like I said, my working to 70 was no longer there having to take money that you say, I'm going to keep this for retirement.
Now you're thinking you gotta take money. I'm I thank God that I was smart and did what my dad told me to do and save money for
retirement. I thank God for that,
but you just don't look at it like that. You're
still thinking, oh my God, my, my life. Gone, I, I
don't have a life anymore.
[00:19:38] Andrea: It's that loss of a perfect life
[00:19:40] Therease: right. And yeah, and we think we have the perfect life and no longer can have this perfect life.
But now that I know there is no such thing as a perfect life. Everybody that we see has a issue or concern, it may not
be what we are dealing with as far as with Ms. But everybody has a issue. They may not have to go to the doctor for that issue, but everybody has something that they are dealing with.
And so when
we say we want to live, a life like someone else, and we realize that that life that, that someone else has, and we hear their story or hear what they're going through. It's I don't know if I, I think I can handle this. I don't want to handle that. So,
[00:20:25] Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. I I'm going to totally butcher this, but my husband said something that I thought was really amazing. He says, look, if everybody in the room took their problems. and, put them in the center of the room. You would look at that and you would go and pick yours right back up and take them back.
because we never know what other people, what, what what's going on with other people. And, and a lot of times we have this idea when we're thinking of what our lives are going to be. Right. The, I love my job working until I'm I'm 70. , I was in school. I was like, I'm going to get my PhD. I'm going to do all these great things.
And, we don't know, like we have this idea that our ourselves in our mind's eye in the future
is this perfect life. And isn't having any problems or anything like that. And that's just not, that's just not true
[00:21:21] Therease: And I found myself another thing I had to deal with, I've always done excellent in school. I
mean, not the brag, but I've always been excellent in school. And so now, or when I realized I had to learn. because I was sitting for another certification
and I, that was another like downer for me, because like I said, education and schooling and learning has always come easy for me
always. But when I was sitting and going through this refresher course,
I got so disgusted with myself because my brain doesn't work the way that it did before. So it takes a whole lot of time for me to learn just one thing. I have to reread it and reread it and reread it over and over and over to learn things.
And it's just hard for me to remember things to catch on with things. And these were things that I knew, but a lot of it, I had forgotten.
or no longer understood. And that threw me for a loop because now I'm sitting with a tutor.
I never needed a tutor before . So, I'm laughing at it, but when it was occurring, I was crying
because it was really hard.
And I just never thought that I would have to do that before.
So that was another eye opener for me, knowing that now a lot of abilities that I once had in order for me to get to that level. Again,
I've got to work triple times,
, harder to get there. It, it no longer comes natural. It's no longer a everyday normal process for me.
So that was another thing that put me in depression
because all these things that I was good at were, perfect. I don't want to say perfect, but just,
you know,
[00:23:37] Andrea: Say perfect.
[00:23:39] Therease: they were, everything was so much harder.
So again, it's oh my God, how much more is my life going to change? So, yeah.
[00:23:49] Andrea: So what helped you do you think, and it could be many, could be many things, but what helped you move through that
[00:23:57] Therease: When I finally let go of being embarrassed not wanting to talk about my issues with
having Ms. The biggest thing was being embarrassed because again Here. I am always had things, you know, I got it going on and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And no seriously,
you know,
[00:24:21] Andrea: I'm laughing, but I know it's true because here's a secret though. Theresa,
[00:24:30] Therease: Well, I appreciate that. I don't feel like it, but I appreciate that. I appreciate, I don't, I don't see that or feel it, but I appreciate that. But yeah, what really helped me was, like I said, once I overcame being embarrassed,
And not wanting to share the issues and concerns I had It made a big difference because at that point I started at church being more involved in church.
I started sharing my story with a lot of people and people were like, are you serious? Blah, blah. Yeah. And stuff like that.
And so I started not holding all of this stuff inside and started letting it go. Outward amongst whomever and it was no longer embarrassing. I started seeking help and I started looking for things that I enjoy. I enjoyed before that could make me happy on the inside because there are a lot of things that make me happy on the inside. And so I had said that what I was going to do was take those things that make me happy on the inside and started using those things. Instead of only focusing on the negative. So what
I did was I took I started doing things like going to church regularly
because I enjoyed that being around people that were positive and I just refused to deal and be around people that would, that I felt like they were doing a pity thing for me.
[00:26:01] Andrea: Yep.
[00:26:02] Therease: and I started telling people don't give me pity, let's, treat me. Like I am, if I can't do
something, I'll let you know, but don't automatically asse what I can't do, but I started focusing more on the positive that I could do. So, I started changing around. Some of the things I said, I can't do that anymore, but however, I can take a different way or use a different way and still do the same things that I did before.
Like prime example, traveling. I love to travel. So I said, okay, I may not be able to drive the long distances anymore, but however, I work. I still, make a little money. And so what I'm going to do, I'm going to start putting those dollars, those fewer dollars I have aside.
And so I've gotta change the way that I do things like traveling. I have to preplan. So that I know where I'm going, what I need, what I don't need. Like I have a stick, a long stick that I carry when I travel,
so that if I'm somewhere and I can't do the walk and whatever, I have my long sticks that I carry that, you
know, help me along the way.
I take all my medicines, so I prepare ahead of time.
[00:27:12] Andrea: Yeah. It's like changing the narrative.
[00:27:14] Therease: Yes, because a lot of times, if we will allow ourselves to stay stuck in that, I can't do mentality. And of course, when you continuously say, I can't, you won't,
[00:27:28] Andrea: Right.
[00:27:28] Therease: so you have to, at some point say what you can do and look at the things that are still available that you can do, because there's still a lot of things I can do.
There may not be the things like working. I don't do what I did before, but I still get to talk to patients. I still get to help the patients and I still get to make a difference in their lives.
So you just have to look at the positive in some things and let those negatives go. Because as long as you dwell on the negative, that's all it will ever be is negative.
And all that's doing actually is hurting you. ,
it's not helping you. It's going to make your symptoms worse. It's going to make you go downhill faster. And I want to live and I want to continue to enjoy life
as I can.
[00:28:19] Andrea: heck
yeah. I think that's, that's one thing is that our brains, our brains are amazing and that's one thing. is so crucial is to know that whatever you're telling yourself is what you believe. And so if you're focusing on negative things it can be like a habit I do know that, the han brain.
Can be a little bit more skewed to the negative, and that's just because of survival instinct
and it's totally fine. There's nothing wrong with feeling a, a negative emotion or looking at things negatively. But understanding that if that is what you train yourself, if that, if that is what you're always looking at
and you're training yourself to always see it, that's what you're going to see.
And so. If we train ourselves to say look, let's flip this around. Let's look at what we can do. And I think it's, it's such a great example. What you were talking about with your, with your career is it's okay. You can't do what you were doing before. but let's look at what it was that you liked about what you did before and how can you get that someplace else?
[00:29:32] Therease: Right.
[00:29:33] Andrea: It sounds like that's exactly what you did.
[00:29:35] Therease: Yep.
[00:29:35] Andrea: look, I'm still helping patients. I'm
[00:29:37] Therease: Yep,
[00:29:38] Andrea: things. I'm still with people and talking with people and serving it's just in a little bit of a different way.
[00:29:45] Therease: exactly. And so, another thing that I started saying to myself, I'm not a victim. With Ms. I'm a Victor with Ms, because I'm going to overcome having Ms. Now. No, I can't change. The damage that it's already done, I can't even slow the process that's going on, but what I'm going to do is continue to overcome or do what I can while I can. At this moment, I'm not going to sit around and wallow and pity. I'm not going to sit around and wallow. Oh my God, I don't feel good because I don't feel good 24 7,
but I don't walk around and say, oh my God, I'm having a rough day.
The only time anyone around me knows when I don't feel good is when my kryptonite gets. When the Krypton, I get me, I'm in LA LA land. So you're going to know, oh my gosh, she's weird. She's you know, some I've heard people even I've even, which is crazy because I'm like, I take too many drugs with I've even had people say, do you drink? And stuff like them? No, I'm I have not drank. I have not done anything outta abnormal.
I'm just not feeling good. So I'm a little weird. So, but
[00:31:05] Andrea: Mm-hmm You know, I remember, and I don't know if they still have them. But back when I was working with the national MSS society, they had little cards, like laminated cards that say like I am not drunk. I have multiple sclerosis. And sometimes my
[00:31:19] Therease: yeah,
[00:31:20] Andrea: yada, yada, yada, and it's like cards that you could give to people.
[00:31:23] Therease: I've seen on that. I've seen that on Instagram.
[00:31:27] Andrea: yeah.
[00:31:29] Therease: And they have the one on Instagram also where it shows like the electrical shock through your body, but it tells like all the different symptoms from the electrical shock that's going on in our bodies. Yeah. And it's interesting cuz I'm like, I never thought about that, but that is truly how I feel on some days, but a lot of people don't understand that they're like really?
I'm like,
[00:31:53] Andrea: wow. Mm-hmm mm-hmm.
I think that's one of the many, really cool things about the ice bucket challenge. Do you remember that from a couple years ago? Because the idea was when you and I, did you ever do it? O
[00:32:06] Therease: I did not, but I did tell my doctor, my doctor and she, oh my God, she got on me so bad. I like taking ice baths.
And I had told her that I did that.
[00:32:18] Andrea: mm-hmm
[00:32:20] Therease: and she told me not to ever do that again, because she said that it would mess. It would cause my nerves obviously already jacked up. So she said that it was more or less going to damage more of the nerves by doing that. But I told her I love sitting in ice and it feels so good. So now I don't sit in ice, but I
[00:32:38] Andrea: no kidding.
[00:32:39] Therease: a lot of cool showers.
[00:32:42] Andrea: Yeah,
[00:32:44] Therease: and it feels really good.
[00:32:45] Andrea: whim, H is all about, I will put a link to that actually in the show notes to whim H and, and his work with like ice showers and things like that, which is interesting. But. The ice bucket challenge. What I thought was really interesting is the reason why they said to pour a bucket of ice on your head is because the way your body reacts with that shock of how it can feel to have ALS it's that initial shock.
But. I think they, they feel it on a, a more permanent basis, but it was one of those things where it's like, this is how it feels and, and was a way to get the word out to
[00:33:20] Therease: had no idea why they were
[00:33:22] Andrea: Yeah. Isn't that interesting?
[00:33:25] Therease: interesting.
That's wow. I had no idea.
[00:33:29] Andrea: We don't have to do something that, goes viral and
becomes a worldwide sensation and actually raised, I think, a ton of money, which is fantastic, but it's just this simple thing. And, and you said this earlier and I, which I, I want to highlight, cause I think it's so important is telling our story
and something like that can be so powerful, not just.
For us, but for other people,
but it's also something that is very vulnerable and it takes a lot of bravery, especially for that first time, if you haven't been sharing your story and you're not entirely sure if people know and it's something that people can't see outright it can be very powerful, but very scary.
[00:34:14] Therease: Yeah, I agree. But for
me, I had to release
Everything that I was holding inside because it was hurting. you know, So I said, I don't care anymore. I'm going to release this and I'm going to start, as they say, living out loud and I'm going to do what I need to do to live a better life. And so I started looking for, like I said, things that were going to help me live a better quality of life.
And so. A lot of times it is hard for us to find those things. But a lot of the things, like I said, I love listening to positive things I loved and, I liked to laugh. And so it's just been a blessing. , That I have found now that all the podcasts that are going that are happening now, because I have so many podcasts that I listen to, that I laugh and I learn from it's just great.
So they help along with the different sermons that I listen to. So even with the pandemic, I didn't miss a beat. I actually feel like I gained. More knowledge and stuff during the pandemic than what I had before the pandemic, because I increased my listening.
To things, , the positive things compared to when there is no pandemic, you listen sparingly.
Whereas during the pandemic I increased what I was listening to increased how often I was listening to it. I started turning off a lot of things that I once before was listening to and doing and started just mainly entirely focusing. Positive things. And so that's where I am now is it's got to be positive. It's got to be, I usually do at least 95% of my life in the positive aspect.
[00:36:16] Andrea: Wow.
[00:36:17] Therease: At least now I might have a moment here and there where I get angry about something, but once I'm angry about it, I let it ride for that day, after that I'm done with it. And then I move on, the next day I'm good and move on to something else, but I don't stay there for days and weeks at a time anymore.
I, I just don't do that. I refuse to allow myself to do that.
[00:36:41] Andrea: Well, and it it's so interesting because you know what you're, talking about is just normal processing of emotions.
[00:36:48] Therease: mm-hmm
[00:36:49] Andrea: And it's some, and I was, I, I had no idea how to process an emotion
when I was first diagnosed. I had no clue, no clue. I was like ice . I was like, I just watched top gun.
So I was like Iceman ice woman. I just, I had no idea. I had to teach myself and read and learn because when you don't know how to process emotions In the way that they are meant to process or to be processed, which is to let them move through, take a moment, allow them, let them move through your body and then move on.
But when you don't know, it's not like you don't have emotions. They're still there. They just don't go away processing to me is kind of like, when you sweep something up and you, kind of open the door and you sweep the dust at the door and then you're done it's out.
And if you don't know how to do that, you sweep, maybe you'll sweep it up, but your door is still closed.
And so the dust isn't going anywhere and it's all up in the air and it's just staying there, like you said, for days or weeks
and you can't get out of it. And then it becomes habitual and it feels like this huge, scary thing.
And then all of a sudden you realize I don't want to process emotions cuz look at this emotion, it won't go away.
[00:38:02] Therease: Right.
[00:38:03] Andrea: but once you do process emotions like that, it's exactly what you're saying. So it's, I think it's super interesting. And I also, I want to highlight this because you you're like 95% is positive and I, , I believe you, but I, my hunch is even if you do have negative emotion, don't look at.
As a negative emotion, you
look at it, maybe more neutrally
or as something that you just kind of process and move on and to process a negative emotion. And to let it move on is actually a very positive thing. And so I love what you said where you're like 95% is positive and absolutely it is, but I'm like, I bet you're just, you're processing things and you're doing it in a very positive type of way.
[00:38:47] Therease: And my daughter had told me that. She, I know one day she, because she was hit by a car and so she was having pain and , she said, I don't ever, she said, now I understand what you go through. She said, I don't know how you do this and how you've been doing this for so long. And I made the comment that it has become normal.
And she said that should not be a normal, that should not
be a normal function or feeling that you should have adjusted to. She said, cuz it's not normal. And I didn't know how to take that, but in my world. And when I say my world, I mean like how I live, what pertains to me and my body and the way that I deal with it.
Before, like when I was first diagnosed, I didn't know how to deal with the pain, not seeing not being able to drive not being able to do my job, not being able to comprehend things
and all of that stuff. So I went five or six years, not knowing how to deal with that and all it did. I won't say messed me up, but I was messed up because I had in the midst of that so many close family members die,
divorce and all this other fun stuff. So
I was trying to fit all of that stuff in with what was going on with me personally. And it just took me a while to actually say, I'm
going to sit back and I'm going to learn how to deal with. all of this that's going on so that I can move on with my life, meaning to still function in my life and do the things that need to be done.
So when you were saying, sitting in it, I said in it, but I sat in it for a long time.
So once I came out of that, I just refused to go back. Into that, because I know what that was like. So now when things come, I say, okay, this is this, how am I going to deal with that? I normally do this. This works. If it doesn't work, I'll move on to something else, but I cannot allow this to defeat me.
And so, because I know what it feels like to be defeated. I was defeated for years when I was initially diagnosed and I don't want to go there. ever again, that was, that was horrible because a lot of those years, I honestly don't even remember, honestly,
[00:41:26] Andrea: Wow.
[00:41:27] Therease: it was so bad and I was literally just doing the bare minim to stay alive
[00:41:34] Andrea: Right.
[00:41:35] Therease: because I, I had to focus on what was. More important, which was taking care of my household, which were my girls, and
then doing the bare minim for me just to live, literally. And that was it. And then everything else didn't matter it was good or bad or whatever. I was literally just doing the bare minim
just to live each.
[00:42:02] Andrea: Yeah, and I, I think it's important to know that everybody processes things differently. It can take. I don't know anybody who's processed a new diagnosis in a month or two. I'm not saying it's not possible.
I certainly didn't just take a month or two, but it can take years. It can feel like a lot.
And it's often what I'm hearing from you. And you can tell me if I'm, if I'm wrong, but. often, it's a gradual turnaround to realizing like, I think I'm ready to move out from this. I think I'm, I've been processing, I've been sitting in it and sometimes we just need to sit in it sometimes, cuz we don't even really know what it is at that point.
And then it's just kind of a slow roll out of it, realizing okay now what?
[00:42:53] Therease: That's very true. And I would all, and it, and it would amaze me because when I would go into the clinic, the Ms clinic, I was always being told that I was a strong woman and I did not see any of that because I'm sitting, I'm thinking to myself, I'm barely living. So I didn't understand how I was being told that I was strong.
When I knew in my head, I was literally barely living and just literally doing the bare essentials, cuz I'm going to tell you and God, and my kids saved me. I can
honestly tell you that God and my girls, because they have seen me as some situations that they can only, say or, or know because that's why, I guess they're so protective of 'em because they know what I've gone through to get to where I am today.
So they are very, especially my youngest ones, very protective over me. So, and I appreciate that. And they often will tell me, mommy, you know, you shouldn't be doing that. It's going to be such and such a degree such and such, such is going to be high as far as the height, the temperature or, walking or
climbing on things.
I don't know if you've ever had that experience, but climbing on. I climb, cuz I got tired of waiting on someone to change my light bulb after it had been a couple of months. And so I
[00:44:21] Andrea: mm-hmm
[00:44:22] Therease: going to get up here and change my light bulb.
Well guess, guess who house looked like a crime scene.
[00:44:29] Andrea: I'm not laughing. I'm sorry.
[00:44:31] Therease: a house, looked like a crime scene and I had to get six stitches in my leg
because yeah, literally. Yeah. Cause I said, I'm going to get up here and change my white book. Cuz I got tired of every, asking people and no one would come and do it,
but now I don't climb up on things because yeah. But my house literally looked like a crime scene.
Glass was everywhere. Blood was
everywhere. It was just, yeah.
So I've learned a lot of things that I cannot do. Some, The hard way. And then some, I listened to the doctor and was like, okay, I really can't do that because I realized what they're saying. I really can't do.
[00:45:11] Andrea: Yeah, listen. I am a avid student of learning things the hard way
[00:45:19] Therease: So you can relate then.
[00:45:21] Andrea: oh my gosh.
[00:45:22] Therease: Yeah. You can relate then. Yeah.
[00:45:25] Andrea: Yeah,
[00:45:26] Therease: Okay.
[00:45:27] Andrea: I, I mean,
[00:45:28] Therease: me
[00:45:28] Andrea: No, I mean, me, it's not even Ms. Related. I think it's just my entire life.
[00:45:34] Therease: oh, okay.
[00:45:37] Andrea: I've always learned things the hard way. It doesn't, count if it's not
[00:45:40] Therease: The hard
[00:45:41] Andrea: hard way. It doesn't land as much. But I think, that's something important.
Sometimes it's only just one or two things that we hold onto that can pull us out of something like a deep depression or a really hard time. And I think it's important to know that yes, you you say you had, you know, he had God, you had your girls, but I think what you also had is the willingness to let them in. because
[00:46:16] Therease: Yes.
[00:46:17] Andrea: can shut out as much as we want to shut out. And we can have a hundred people who want to help us and we can shut out every single one of 'em and not see anything.
[00:46:26] Therease: My biggest thing was trying to protect them
and. Still, I guess you could say in my mind, protecting them was still being this super moms. So pushing myself beyond my
limits, but then I would end up crashing and
crashing at me. My body would just shut down or I would end up losing my eyesight because I
myself because I wanted to still be this supermom for my kids and be there for them and, and go beyond, and try and still do all the things that I did before. Like when we went from, when I went for my daughter's college freshman event, it was hot as crap in ACADO.
and I'm still out there trying to do all the things that I would normally do, but guess who ended up sick?
[00:47:16] Andrea: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:47:18] Therease: So I, I missed out on some of the things and of course she was disappointed, but I still wanted, I was still trying to be the mom that I could have that I would've been before I had Ms. I was still trying to act as if I had no limitations, but I did have limit.
[00:47:39] Andrea: Yeah. And I think. That's something again, it's like we, a lot of times we talk about comparing ourselves to other people, but I think the most dangerous thing that we can compare ourselves is to our vision of what we could be in our mind's eye, which is not even a real thing, because we have no idea if you didn't have Ms.
Like would, would that even still have happened or maybe there was something else that was going to happen, or we just don't know.
And so not only is it like, are we not comparing ourselves to an actual person we're comparing our. To this figment in our imaginations and we all do, I do this too. We all do this.
It's this figment of this wonder woman,
[00:48:16] Therease: Mm-hmm right.
[00:48:17] Andrea: and we're never going to live up to that because that does not exist and could never exist
[00:48:22] Therease: I think the
[00:48:22] Andrea: for anybody.
[00:48:25] Therease: thing with that is I feel like We often want to believe that our lives would have been different and better in that different, different, better than what it is. Now, if we did not currently have this chronic disease.
And like you said, not realizing that we can't predict what it would've been, because we don't know.
It's just one of those things where in our minds, we're hoping and, and thinking and wishing that this is who and how it would've been, but not realizing that we don't know, because again, it could have been worse or it may have been
better, but we don't know that because we're living in the here and now.
So, but that's, that's very.
[00:49:19] Andrea: Yeah. So what piece of advice or what, one thing would you say if there's, I'm sure there are people listening right now that are thinking, this is, I want to be more because we talk about it all the time. I talk about it all the time. How what's the one thing that someone can do right now, even if they feel like there is no reason to be positive, what's the one thing they can do right now start. Being bringing more positivity into their lives. Like real positivity, not like faking it till you make it, but like actual positivity. Hm.
[00:49:52] Therease: Well, one is don't give up on your life that you're living currently because your life at this moment is as long as you're saying negative things. Negative things will continue to occur. Like they always say you want to speak what you want? So if you're speaking negative, then obviously negative will come.
So my thing is, if you have something that you enjoy or have enjoyed, start doing those things, because those things have not changed that you enjoyed. It's just that you're no longer pursuing those things, cuz those things that you once enjoyed, they're still there. So you can still enjoy those
things and that will help.
And you've got to learn to be around people and things that are , positive and things and people that are going to lift you up, not bring you. Because the minute that you are around those things are doing those things that bring you down. Then obviously it's not going to help you be happy.
You're going to stay stuck where you are.
So you've got to learn to, find the things that you enjoy. You can't go somewhere. that's going to make you feel sad and think that you're going to be happy.
[00:51:15] Andrea: Yes.
[00:51:17] Therease: It does not
work like that.
[00:51:19] Andrea: yeah, I think a lot of times we focus on adding what can we do to be positive, but it's like, you know, what, what can we take away from experience to stop us from being pulled towards the
[00:51:31] Therease: Yep.
[00:51:31] Andrea: Both are super important.
[00:51:33] Therease: Yep.
You're going to have, you're going to have some moments when you're not at your best, but you gotta find a way to not allow yourself to. Stay in that situation, , what you gotta do is learn how to deal with that situation, head on and do what you can to resolve it, or do what you
can to deal with it.
But don't allow yourself as my dad would say, sit in it, deal with it and let it go and keep going. Because if you don't and you sit in it, all it's doing is pulling the good air and energy out of you. into that situation. That's still not resolved. are just some things and like you have no control over and you can't fix,
so you've gotta let it go and keep going.
[00:52:21] Andrea: I love it. Well, thank you so much. I have taken up way too much of your time. I, I think that's a fantastic place to end on and I am, so I am so glad that you came and that I was able to talk to you and share with the listeners. What I know is, like I said, one of the most positive people that I have truly ever met
[00:52:44] Therease: But thank you, Andrea. And I'm going to miss you this weekend at the event.
[00:52:48] Andrea: I know, think of me
[00:52:50] Therease: I will. Do you ever go to the ones where you are now or no?
[00:52:55] Andrea: no, I haven't. I haven't for I'm trying to think of the last one that I went to. I think the last one I went to is the one that, one of the ones that I was, I was doing, I think I did one at mindset
[00:53:04] Therease: Oh,
[00:53:05] Andrea: that was the last one I've done. And so, pandemic everything. So
[00:53:10] Therease: yeah, we've still gotta wear, we've still wearing mask and
everything, but you know, I'm excited. I'm excited to
be around,
people again and all of that stuff. And I did the, I know we're supposed to be ending. I'm going to say this and
we can go but I did the the Ms walk and that was amazing.
[00:53:28] Andrea: Mm
[00:53:29] Therease: , and I was so proud of myself to have done two laps around.
I wanted to do the third, but the heat was getting me and I was just exhausted, but I was just proud of myself to do the two full laps around. So I, my goal is to still participate in as much as I can with the Ms society. So
give it a try out where you are and.
All right. Take care, Andrea. Have a good weekend. Stay cool. If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five-star rating and review. Follow us on apple podcast, Amazon music or wherever you're listening right now. To see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode
visit Thank you for joining me And until next time take care

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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