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Anthony's story

1st September 2019

Anthony was living an unhealthy lifestyle both physically and mentally when he was diagnosed with MS. But following his diagnosis is when his life really began. Eight years later and he is married with a baby girl on the way, studying, in a Greek dance group, and is so much happier and healthier.

About a year after his diagnosis, Anthony was feeling lost. He was a full time smoker, overweight and his symptoms weren’t getting much better. He was in pain, and he didn’t know if anyone would believe him or understand what he was going through.

That’s when Anthony gave himself an ultimatum. He could either coast along and take things as they come, or he could make a massive change and just go up. He decided to start by quitting smoking, and totally changing his eating habits.

From there, Anthony started to notice his MS symptoms improving and as an added bonus, he is now 60kg lighter and much healthier. In the early stages of diagnosis, Anthony was constantly dizzy, and couldn’t walk unassisted or even lift his left leg. Now his mobility has improved significantly and he credits that to a healthy lifestyle, and meditation.

“I swear by the food that I eat, what I drink, and the lifestyle that I lead. Clean your body up and it’ll love you for it. The medication definitely helped, but also the way you are,” Anthony says.

“Meditation is key for your mental state, and if you change your mental state then that filters down to your body. Do the things that make you happy – mine was the beach.”

Married to a Greek dancing school teacher, she encouraged him to learn some simple dance routines ready for their wedding. Anthony says he went from learning some dance steps, to coming back and joining a Greek dance group, and now dancing at festivals around Adelaide.

“Before I couldn’t even lift my right leg, couldn’t walk in a straight line. She taught me how to dance, and I thought to myself, this is an opening for me. I thought I can dance; I can keep up with the class. Keep it going.”

The summer is the worst time for Anthony, and this is when he notices his brain fog flare up the most. If he is walking long distances or out on the boat on a hot day, the brain fog sets in and he starts to feel really disorientated. He notices his eyes go hazy and he can’t focus. Anthony says what helps him is a cold water bottle on the back of the neck, or just taking a seat and relaxing for a few minutes until the brain fog settles.

Anthony lives by the philosophy that he will not stop his life for MS. He has been working as a structural designer for 12 years, but says he has always wanted to be a building surveyor. About two years ago, he went back to university to develop his skills so that he could better himself and live out his career goals. He recently very proudly received his undergraduate certificate, and is now studying a diploma.

Having experienced the grief of a new MS diagnosis, and going through treatment, Anthony is proud to have come out the other side. Now he wants to help others like him. He loves acting as a mentor to other people receiving the same treatment he had, attending doctor’s appointments with them and answering any questions or worries they may have.

“My advice to someone who just got diagnosed with MS is what I’ve always said to people – look up. Because there definitely is a brighter future. If you are diagnosed with MS, there is support. There is so much support out there it is not funny,” Anthony says.

“Eight years ago, before MS, there was no way you’d get me off the couch. Now I’ve lost 61kg so far, I’ve got married, I’m part of a dance group, I go shooting with my father in law, and fishing with my father. But before I never did all that. So which one would you say is better?”

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Anthony's story