It hurt Margaret Godfrey to see daughter Rachel Carter in pain, so she painted.
And once the worst pain had passed, Carter needed a way to move forward, so she wrote.
In 2000, at age 24, Carter was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease where the immune system eats away at the lining of nerves and impairs or disables the brain and central nervous system.
Carter is now a married 43-year-old mother of three who lives in Ridgefield. But when she was diagnosed with MS, it marked a significant shift in her life. The woman who ran marathons, rode a motorcycle to high school and was once a deckhand on a small riverboat cruise ship to prove a point because she was told a woman couldn’t hold that job, slowly morphed as her disease altered life.
It started with a fall on vacation during a run. Then falling on runs became more frequent. Gone went the marathons. In came the treadmill. Slowly, over the course of 12 years, the MS progressed and symptoms became debilitating. Running left completely. Neuropathic pain caused her to feel like she was sunburned in the morning, and by the afternoon or evening it felt like third degree burns. Carter left her job in sales in 2013.
“I would always end up in tears in the bed,” Carter said.
Carter has chronicled her battle with MS, and a stem cell treatment she credits with turning her prognosis around, in a new book called “Enduring the Cure: My MS Journey to the Brink of Death and Back.” Her mother helped her edit the book, and provided the book’s cover art. Adrienne van Der Valk also edited the book.