Young Woman with Multiple Sclerosis Becomes a Mother After Finding Right Treatment
Shepherd Center physician helps restore neurological function in Caroline Kulinski.
Caroline Kulinski, 34, of Atlanta, Ga., couldn’t stop wondering: “Will I ever be able to have a baby?” At age 27, shortly after getting married, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Caroline’s doctors warned her not to get pregnant until she had her condition under control.
“It was like this unattainable goal that I kept looking toward,” she said. “But having a child was one of the things that gave me hope. That motivated me to get healthy.”
Finding the right treatment for each individual case of MS takes time. In Caroline’s case, Ben Thrower, M.D., medical director of the Andrew C. Carlos MS Institute at Shepherd Center, was able to find the right combination within three years. Still, by that point, Caroline's left arm had become paralyzed, and she couldn’t stay balanced without a cane.
Within five months of finding the right treatment, all of Caroline’s symptoms receded. The former dance instructor returned to teaching private lessons and playing the piano. “And the cane went in the closet, where I hope it stays for a very, very long time,” Caroline said.
Most cherished, she and her husband are now the proud parents of Sabrina, their daughter who celebrated her first birthday in December 2013. “It’s still a bit surreal after so many years of hurdles,” Caroline said. “The promise of this little girl really helped get me through everything.”
This spring, Caroline, an avid Wizard of Oz fan, will again lead her Wearing Red Shoes team at “Walk MS” at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. Last year’s newest team member has already proved quite the adept fundraiser: Baby Sabrina raised $1,200 for her mom’s team.
“Putting a picture of your cute baby wearing red shoes on the website?” Caroline asked with a laugh. “That’s just smart fundraising!”
For more information on Shepherd Center's MS Institute, click here.
Written by Phillip Jordan
Photography Courtesy of Caroline Kulinski
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 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.