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Nanadanso Sintimmisa

A Blessing and a Curse

Holy Name MS Center - Nanadanso Sintimmisa

It happened so suddenly – Nanadanso Sintimmisa, a retail clothing stylist, started tripping over his own feet as if he was drunk, though he was decidedly sober. Then his fatigue morphed from occasional bouts to causing him to doze off while driving on a highway exit ramp.

“At first I thought I had muscle spasms and it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle,” Nanadanso, 30, said about his unstable footing. “When I went off the highway it really scared me – I was lucky I didn’t hit anything but I stopped driving after that.” Still, Nanadanso didn’t seek medical care as his condition worsened.

Finally, when he lost more than 30 lbs. and became so weak he couldn’t function he decided to see a doctor, who diagnosed him with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis. He struggled with the diagnosis, not fully believing he had the disease, though he had to quit his job and needed a cane to navigate even small distances.

Nanadanso’s struggle went beyond the physical. Many of the people he thought were his friends turned their backs on him or took advantage of his weakened state. He was depleted, physically and emotionally. Nanadanso needed a fresh start. In frustration, he threw his cane on the floor and decided to move to Florida.

For a while, things were better. He was working in retail again, this time at a pharmacy. But after two years, his health took another nosedive and he needed to move back to New Jersey. That’s when he went to the Alfiero & Lucia Palestroni Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center at Holy Name.

“Holy Name is my family’s hospital of choice,” Nanadanso said. “And when it comes to MS, Holy Name is one of the best in the area. They are real specialists and take great care of their patients – even helping with transportation.”

At Holy Name, Nanadanso is treated by Dr. Asya Wallach, a board-certified neurologist who is fellowship-trained in MS and specializes in adult and pediatric-onset MS. She uses her expertise to ensure Nanadanso is getting the best treatment for his disease, which was diagnosed when he was in his early 20’s.

“Dr. Wallach is always up on the latest medicines and she really listens to me,” Nanadanso said. “She figures out what I need and points me in the right direction.”

Nanadanso fights hard against his disease, cutting out red meat and changing to a mainly plant-based diet. He stays away from hard liquor and goes to the gym, which has helped not just physically but mentally. Knowing he can barely walk yet press nearly 200 lbs. gives him hope.

He also looks at the blessings he’s derived from MS. In addition to being a stylist, Nanadanso writes music and raps. His struggle is now woven into his music and he talks frequently about MS on social media. Though he has to rap slower than he would like, he has not given up his craft.

“Now, I don’t just hear things, I really listen. MS forced me to stop moving and take time to see certain things because I can’t distract myself. On the other hand, I can’t just go outside and play basketball or do 20 pullups. At least not yet. I may have MS, but Holy Name has given me strength.”

Learn more about MS Center at Holy Name