West Unity’s Crystal Hamp: A Person Of Strength In Her Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis

Photo #1 Crystal Hamp who is setting a great example as a person of Strength in her fight agains MS WEBBy: John Winright

Crystal Hamp was born in Montpelier, Ohio and has resided in West Unity for most of her life. She attended Hilltop Schools and is a single parent with three sons, Joshua and Jacob Hamp and Christopher Noel who came into the household during his senior year of high school. She also has four grandchildren.

Crystal Hamp was diagnosed with MS seven years ago. It all started out with some very irritating numbness in her hands and arms. After seeing a local doctor and it was determined that she had carpal tunnel in her wrists and the doctors said they could give her medicine. When she asked what the medicine would do she got a reply she did not like so, she decided not accept the medicine. It was a take it or leave it decision and she left it and pushed forward.

The next symptom was she got a severe cut on her arm and she did not notice the bleeding. Also, she noticed parts at work on the conveyor belt that she was picking up were hot but she did notice it until an operator stated, “Isn’t that part hot?” and then looking at her finger tips she noticed they were very shiny. The parts had been burning her fingers without her knowing it.

After this she then started experiencing some issues with her vision. She took some vacation time from work and went to an eye doctor because she was having double vision. If she closed one eye she could see fine but with both eyes open she could not see. This, thank goodness was temporary and lasted only about 45 day’s.

Crystal says, “One of the biggest things I had been experiencing that was very devastating to me was not being able to tolerate the heat. For me this was a huge deal because I had been playing softball since I was 9 years old. My sister and some friends started our softball day’s out sitting at the West Unity park watching the women play weekend ball and when they were short on players they would ask us to fill in. I continued softball on the high school team, moved to Lima, Ohio for 10 years and played on the Lima Memorial Hospital Team for several years before moving back to West Unity and playing in the Bryan Women’s league, on the EMS team, and in the Church & Industrial co-ed league along with many weekend tournaments from Fayette-Waldron-Edgerton-Bryan- Hamilton. This was a huge part of my life. And then not to be able participate and not knowing for sure why was very difficult for me.”

She goes on stating, “Since my issues continued a good friend and co-worker, who’s mother had lived with MS for many years, suggested that should I go to the Cleveland Clinic. So I did along with a huge support team. We made a couple of trips and they did several tests from MRI with and without contrast dye on my brain & Spine. Also a spinal tap test for carpal tunnel, eye test, blood test and when the test results were shown I did not have carpal tunnel, but I had MS.”

“Wow I had to take a minute and take that in. This was something I didn’t know much about. The thought came to me about my cousin Stephen Roy who was diagnosed with MS when he was 19 and today he is 31. This disease took my cousins ability to use his legs. But through it all, he is such a positive inspiration to everyone he comes into contact with.”

“So now I had to ask myself, how am I going to handle this?

“The first thing was the Cleveland Clinic gave me a book titled “Third Edition Multiple Sclerosis A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed”. I needed to read this book and learn from it. A lot of my family and friends have taken the time to read this book too and there is some excellent information in it.”
“Next I had to continue to work because I have a family to support, 3 sons, bills to pay and working 2 jobs and with God on my side I had to move forward. How will this disease impact my life and my children and families lives?”

Crystal says, “My symptoms today consist of loss of feeling. So I have concerns about frost bite, getting burnt, having a bug on me I cannot feel. Can you imagine having a fly, spider or something on your arm, or face and you cannot feel it on you? This is permanent due to lesion damage on C3.”

“Some other areas are pain, burning of the skin, spinal cord burning and racing, the feeling of walking on uneven ground, holding something and my muscles give out or ache and pain, having very sharp jabbing in muscles at the top’s of your legs.”

“The symptoms change and can change more or less daily. I have chosen to continue to work missing very few sick days. Heat, stress & extreme cold can also irritate or activate the MS symptoms.”

“When these symptoms flare, relief is found by lying down in a cool place and sleeping. Sometimes that will help but sometimes a steroid treatment has to be done, either orally or though IV. Either way, it is not something I enjoy.”

“All though the years the only medication I took was an antacid, now I take a medication to slow the MS process down and some other medications for relief from some of the symptoms. I know God does not plan for these things to happen to us, but has and will use this disease to touch or bless someone’s life.”

“There are so many activities and just everyday things that I cannot do or participate in any longer. But I Know I can’t change this situation. I just have to push though it and reroute my live. Some examples are, mowing my yard, being able to go to summer events, outings, and activities. Being in stressful situations, or around groups of active people, like children. Also, going to visit people, since the temperature in their homes or even the temperature outside has an impact. One just has to readjust their lives to compensate for this disease.

Crystal works at Kamco in West Unity as Assistant Manager of Quality Process Auditor. She has been there for 25 years and at the Mini Mart in West Unity for 8 ½ years recently leaving this position at the end of 2014.

Kamco has been a huge support team for her and they started Team Kamco in 2010 and have been doing fundraisers which include walking, taco’s, bake sales, t-shirt sales, hot sandwiches and placing collection cans at various locations around town. They also have a factory in Pioneer Ohio that has supported their fundraising. They join in the walk the first Saturday of May each year at Independence Dam in Defiance Ohio.

Crystal says, “It is an awesome walk and this is the 6th year that Team Kamco has participated. You can walk 1, 2 ½ or 5 miles and out of the 6 years there has been only 1 year that I did not walk the 5 miles. I will walk this year in the 5 miles again, with all my family friends, co-workers who will come out and participate.”

“As I stated, Kamco has been a huge supporter of our participation in fundraising. Along with all the associates that volunteer their time, material and money to do the fundraiser and donating to our collection can.”

“I appreciate all walkers from the whole Benien family who come out to the walk in memory of wife, mother, grandma, and Great Grandma Benien, and my sisters, cousins, nieces, sons, friends, co-workers.”

“I am not sure what is in store in the future for me, my family or with the disease which I face every day, but whatever hurdle there is, there is a way around it.

“Remember the Bible has a lot of good scripture for comfort and praising. An example being, Deuteronomy 31:6 which states “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake.”

“I hope my story inspires or helps someone and I thank you for reading it.”

What a great example of strength and determination.

For more information on multiple sclerosis call 1-800-FIGHTMS (344-4867) or visit the website at www.MSohiobuckeye.org

John may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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