Carrie McCure at the OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute Multiple Sclerosis Center

Rising above multiple sclerosis on the backs of many blessings

“I feel blessed,” might not be what you’d expect to hear from a 44-year-old woman who has lived with multiple sclerosis for more than half her life. But when Carrie McCure says it, she means it.

“Aside from being in a wheelchair, I feel like I’m almost perfect,” the Chatsworth resident said. “I’m not in any pain. I don’t have a death sentence. I have just a few hurdles to get over and there are angels to help me on the way.”

Challenges begin

In 1997, at the age of 23 and with a 1-year-old, Carrie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, in which the body attacks the fatty tissue that protects nerve fibers.

Her mobility declined over the years until she needed forearm crutches. Then, in 2010, a new brain lesion put her in a wheelchair. That’s when she started to see Dr. Dennis Garwacki at the OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute Multiple Sclerosis Center, designated a Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Angels among us

Carrie McCure and Vicky Schwegmann, RN, MSCN

Vicky Schwegmann, RN, MSCN, with the OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute Multiple Sclerosis Center care team, along with Carrie McCure.

Despite her condition, Carrie’s list of blessings is a long one. She has a van she can drive with hand controls. A church group installed a ramp to the entrance of her house, and another one installed a roll-in shower in her bathroom. Plus, growing up around MS has helped her two daughters develop into caring people.

“I know God is helping me,” Carrie said. “There are angels everywhere that help me.”

Included among those angels: the OSF INI multiple sclerosis team.

“You can really tell they care,” Carrie said. “They want what’s best for you. I feel safe in their care because they know what they’re doing. They’re the best.”

Connecting with care

In 2017, Carrie’s care team connected her with the Central Illinois MS Council, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for the region’s MS community. The MS Council bought Carrie a power seat actuator, at a cost of more than $3,000, so she can elevate without leaving her wheelchair.

“I got a wheelchair seat that goes up high, so I can look into people’s eyes when I talk to them,” Carrie said. “That was just wonderful. Now, at work I can use the copy machine and see the display screen. I can reach all the knobs on the stove.”

Learn what comprehensive care can mean for you at https://www.osfhealthcare.org/services/neurosciences/medical-services/multiple-sclerosis/