This Bodybuilder is Learning to Live With Neuromyelitis Optica

According to a story from, Paisley Forsell was what you might call a bit of an adrenaline junkie. She likes to live a high energy, active lifestyle. She loves roller coasters, hiking, bodybuilding, and cliff jumping. However, her ability to do these activities was sharply curtailed about a year and a half ago when she first was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica.

About Neuromyelitis Optica

Neuromyelitis optica, which is also known as Devic’s disease, is a condition which causes optic nerve and spinal cord become inflamed. In addition, the myelin sheath, an insulating cover that is essential for proper nerve function is destroyed in these areas. The disease often appears alongside other medical conditions, and exposure to antituberculosis drugs, clioquinol (an antifungal and antiprotozoal drug), and infection by certain viruses appears to increase the risk of neuromyelitis optica. The mechanism of the disease is similar to multiple sclerosis, and it is considered an autoimmune disease. Symptoms include changes to vision (or complete loss of vision), loss of sensation, weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs, and incontinence. Symptoms can be recurring or single phase, with pronounced “attacks” of weakness and paralysis. Treatment usually include corticosteroids. To learn more about neuromyelitis optica, click here.

Symptoms Begin

Before being diagnosed, Paisley had her first attack of symptoms in 2015. Her symptoms included dizziness, inability to keep down food or drink, and an incessant bout of hiccups that lasted for an agonizing three days. She was given a diagnosis of benign vertigo and sent on her way.

Her next symptoms appeared in early 2017 and consisted of tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and paralysis along her right side. After this she began treatment with steroids, but she unfortunately experienced an unpleasant complication called avascular necrosis, a bone disease which affected her knees and required surgical intervention to resolve. She will probably have to get her knees replaced later on in life.

Moving Forward

Although she does experience strange sensations in her right hand and numbness, her treatment is currently keeping her from having more attacks, and Paisley is planning on getting her more normal routine back on track. She plans to attend college in the fall and to start weightlifting again.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email