WEST GREENWICH, RI (WPRI) - Even a long look at Tyffanie Silva as she sits next to her boyfriend in her parents' West Greenwich home does not reveal the disease that is stealing her independence.
"People look at me," she says with a smile. "And they think nothing is wrong or that MS is an easy disease. It's not an easy disease."
On the Multiple Sclerosis spectrum, Silva is said to be somewhere between 'secondary progressive' and 'relapsing remitting'. The next step on that spectrum is 'primary progressive' .
Silva also spends time in a wheelchair, painted pink by her dad, if a walk of longer than a half hour is required.
"Going to pop a wheelie," she says with a squeal as her boyfriend of 7 years pushes her down her street.
Her sense of humor is a cheerful contrast to her serious disease that has taken away her ability to enjoy a few favorite hobbies that defy her age.
"Baking. Anything I could get my hands on to bake. It was pretty fun," she tells us. "Cupcakes. Cookies. Polish things."
The Coventry native also loved to sew.
"It was hard to give it up but threading the needle, cutting cloth," she says. "It's just the worst stuff for anyone with any kind of motor skills issues."
And while she still loves to sing, she wouldn't .
"Because I'm way too shy," she says, giggling.
But Multiple Sclerosis is not shy, sending twitches to her hands as she fills a double barreled pill organizer with a variety of medication
"I take all of these," she says, pointing to a dozen bottles on her parents' kitchen table. "Plus some that didn't make it (on the table), every day. There's some I take twice a day."
She also gets chemo-therapy intravenous infusions every other week.
"On my worst day, I'm not getting out of bed unless someone is there to make sure I don't fall flat on my face," she says with a laugh. "Well, it is kind of funny."
One of the many who help her when she falls is her boyfriend Mike Murdock. He's the drummer in the band Rich Ferri And The Wealth On The Water who will spearhead a fundraiser to bring another helper to Tyffannie.
Zeus, a golden doodle and service dog in training will move to Rhode Island from Arizona he's being trained. Zeus will help her stand, balance and eventually steal back some of the independence that MS took away. And he'll even be trained to make a phone call if she falls.
"He hasn't started using his doggie phone yet. He'll start training with that pretty soon," she tells us.
The details on how you can help bring Zeus to his new home can be found by clicking here. Tyffanie hopes her new best friend will be in Rhode Island to help by next summer.
Copyright WPRI 12
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