The Practicing Parent: Inspiring Mom

A mom of three living with multiple sclerosis.

Just a few years ago Tami Carroll couldn't walk.

"When my children were two, three and a half and seven, I woke up one morning and could not move my legs and really couldn't feel anything," Tami said.

When she was 26 years old, severe headaches, eye pain and loss of vision eventually led to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. MS is a disease more common in women that affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other.

It wasn't until after she had three children the disease became aggressive. She suffered loss of movement in her legs and could get around only by wheelchair.

"My wheelchair did not go through the doorways of my children's rooms at the time. I was at a loss of how to take care of them" Tami said.

"What I remember most about that time period was feeling very desperate, just feeling very inadequate feeling like my purpose in life was to take care of these kids and I couldn't do it the way I thought I needed to."

The disease had not only taken hold of her body, but her mind. She said she went through a dark time.

"I felt very lost, just like everything that mattered to me had been taken from me," she said.

After experimental treatment attempts and a form of chemotherapy, Tami regained the ability to walk. Yet, for several years following, she said her struggle was even harder, looking back at time she thought she had lost.

"That was a real hard time because the obvious disease was there, but the depression was one of the biggest factors because I just felt purposeless."

Something her son said helped bring light to her darkness.

"I focused a lot on what I had not done and one day my son as we were riding along in the car said, mom, do you remember when we just used to lay in your bed and watch a movie together and I wish we could do that again today. That was such an "aha" moment for me. He wasn't looking at all the things I couldn't do during that time, " she said.

She says she learned not to dwell on the past, but to focus on the future and what's important.

"I need to make sure that I focus on the things i'm passionate about, the passion for this moment," she said.

Tami says she doesn't allow the disease to define her, but it keeps her moving in the right direction. So much so, she now gives back to the National MS Society by raising money at the organization's annual Walk MS fundraiser.

This 2013 event is in March. Tami urges people interested in finding out more about the disease to check out