The UC San Diego alumnus and former employee was understandably shocked at the discovery, of which sent her into a period of deep depression. After taking prescribed anti-depressants for some time, Hile was not feeling any better. The only thing that could help her feel whole again was physical activity.
“I was scared and in shock,” said Hile. “My husband, Brian, is a marathon runner, so he encouraged me to exercise... it’s better than the anti-depressants. Since the diagnosis, I’ve registered and participated in a lot of races.”
On Oct. 21 and 22 she will participate in the marathon biking event to benefit MS, Bike Ms. Bike MS starts in Irvine and will finish in Carlsbad, and is separated into legs of either 50 or 105 miles. The event, which is run by the National MS Society, has been rated as one of the best cycling events in California.
While marathon biking and running are often thought of as individual sports, Hile seems to find solace in a team setting.
“It’s nice to have a team,” she said. “Typically, teams get together to train leading up to the events. I have only done a 100-mile race once before, so my training is usually comprised of 60-mile stretches. Most of the time, those training for these kinds of races will cover 80 percent of the total distance of the race. Honestly, most of it is just getting your butt used to the saddle.”
Speaking of the types of bikes expected to see in the race, Hile says that there are “Mostly road bikes, but a few hybrids.” Hile adds that, while most people who participate in Bike or Walk MS are able-bodied, fundraising for loved ones or simply working for the cause, there are some “special people with MS” that participate as well.
Hile was born in Toronto but spent most of her life in Southern California. She attended UC San Diego, and eventually returned to work for the school – working extensively with grants. When it comes to treatment, Hile feels as though things have developed since her initial diagnosis, when fewer drugs were available. Now, she estimates that roughly 14 types of treatment are FDA-approved to treat MS. Although there are trial clinics, she feels that the risks could be detrimental to her long-term.
“Now, we are able to find out earlier and devise a means of treatment with our caregivers,” said Hile. “This aids in halting disease progression and allows the doctors to seek more aggressive treatment. I mean, aside from my ankle orthopedics that I wear every day, as well as my general stride, one would be hard-pressed to recognize my outward symptoms. That’s probably the toughest part about MS for me – my husband feeling helpless to understand what I’m struggling with internally.
“Not everyone uses a cane or a walker,” she adds. “The symptoms aren’t necessarily physical, even though someone looks ‘normal,’ it doesn’t mean that they aren’t having trouble.”
Hile recently completed one of her long-term goals – running seven marathons on seven continents. Her message, “You can find a way, you just have to make adjustments, not excuses.”