Man Doesn’t Let MS Define Him
Jake Revell approaches MS with determination and patience.
I have MS; MS doesn’t have me.
Jake Revell, 28, woke up one morning during the end of his sophomore year at Georgia Southwestern State University trembling with double vision. For a healthy young man who enjoyed staying active, hunting and fishing, this was completely out of the blue.
Physicians had an idea of what Jake could have, but couldn’t provide a definitive diagnosis. After some time, Jake and his family were anxious to understand exactly what was going on. The turning point, according to Jake, was when he was referred to Shepherd Center to see neurologist Sherrill Loring, M.D. That’s when he received his official diagnosis: multiple sclerosis (MS).
“It was a punch in the gut at first,” Jake says. “I had no idea what MS was and immediately began to think about the worst-case scenario.”
Once the initial shock wore off, Jake leaned on his family, his then-girlfriend, Haley, and his faith for strength. He was determined to stay positive and work with the medical team to discover which medication worked the best for him.
“It was an unbelievable experience from the first time I went to Shepherd,” Jake recalls. “Dr. Loring had a sense of urgency and worked with me to make a plan I felt good about.”
After a year of trials, he found a medication with very few side effects. He visits the Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute at Shepherd Center twice a year for infusions and doesn’t mind the long drive from his hometown, Americus, Georgia.
“I don’t bat an eye to drive three hours to Shepherd,” Jake says. “Shepherd operates at such a high standard. Everybody goes out of their way to welcome you.”
Jake’s determination paid off in other ways as well. He returned to college during the spring of 2014 and completed his degree in political science. He is now working for the Georgia Farm Bureau selling insurance.
Jake also married his high school sweetheart, Haley, in April 2017. After 10 years together, they have one beautiful daughter, Alston, and recently welcomed a baby boy, Harrison, to the family.
Through it all, Jake has learned that staying positive and being patient with yourself are most important while navigating life with MS. He still experiences symptoms like short-term memory loss, but he’s learned to adapt his lifestyle to work around them and thrive.
“MS doesn’t define who I am,” Jake says. “I have MS; MS doesn’t have me.”
Written by Damjana Alverson
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.