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Maureen Malcolm

Managing Multiple Sclerosis With Holy Name

Holy Name Multiple Sclerosis - Maureen Malcolm

Maureen Malcolm was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was just 27 years old. Today, at 58, her symptoms remain largely controlled, and she continues to work and live her life much the same way as she always has.

“I attribute it all to [neurologist Dr. Mary Ann Picone],” said Maureen. “I think I caught [my MS] in time and she was the perfect doctor.”

In 1993, Maureen was experiencing pain behind her eyes and began to lose sight in her left one. She saw an eye doctor her parents recommended who determined that she was experiencing optic neuritis, which could be a sign that she had MS. She followed up with a neurologist who agreed that her condition could be a sign of MS, but could also be a one-time issue. The neurologist suggested that she come back if she continued to experience symptoms.

Eventually Maureen began to lose sight in her right eye and returned to her eye doctor. She was also experiencing sensations such as a rush of heat along one side of her body or tingling at the base of her neck. This doctor knew that Maureen’s father had been diagnosed with MS five years earlier, so Maureen decided to get a second opinion from a doctor who didn’t know her family’s medical history. After the second doctor also suggested that her loss of vision could be a symptom of MS, Maureen knew she needed to take this possibility seriously. She sought out a new neurologist and was officially diagnosed with MS.

Maureen first had an appointment with Dr. Picone, the Medical Director of Holy Name’s MS Center, in 1994, a year after her diagnosis. She immediately felt comfortable with her. There was a short period of time when Maureen saw a different physician to decrease her travel time to and from appointments, since she lives in the Newark area, but she ultimately determined that Dr. Picone’s expertise was unmatched and worth the longer drive.

A relationship like the one Maureen has with Dr. Picone is essential to managing a chronic condition like MS. Maureen has found success with a number of different treatment options over the past few decades, from IV steroids to infusions. In instances where the medication Maureen is taking stops working for her, or increased stress causes her symptoms to flare up, she feels comfortable approaching Dr. Picone about making changes to her treatment routine. She hasn’t dealt with any more eye problems since her diagnosis.

She says her experiences at Holy Name – whether she is at the hospital for treatment or Dr. Picone’s office for an appointment – have been wholly positive.

“I could not, and would not, go anywhere else,” said Maureen. “I love the staff. The same people are always there, which is nice. You grow with them as a family. I don’t have stress when I go there, other than [driving on] the parkway,” she laughs.

To book a consultation or appointment with Dr. Mary Ann Picone please call (201) 837-0727.