Ann Romney looks like the picture of health on the campaign trail. She is energetic, articulate, and has a key role in her husband Mitt’s election effort.
But her recent revelation that she had series of miscarriages underscores the behind-the-scenes battle she has waged to stay healthy while trying to win the White House. The 63-year-old mother of five has been stricken with a number of serious health problems over her adult life: devastating miscarriages, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis. She suffered an MS relapse while campaigning this spring, but she now appears to have recovered.
In an interview with CBS’s “This Morning,” Romney for the first time disclosed that she suffered a miscarriage in her 40s after unexpectedly getting pregnant. Ann revealed she had also suffered previous miscarriages.
Of all her health problems, MS is the toughest, she said.
“Having breast cancer wasn’t easy,” she said. “I’ve had several miscarriages actually, but having multiple sclerosis was a very, very hard time in my life.”
Experts say the three conditions – breast cancer, multiple miscarriages, and MS – are seemingly unrelated. In fact, multiple sclerosis patients are actually at lower risk for cancer than the general population, according to a University of British Columbia study. Nor are miscarriages related to MS. “There is no evidence that MS impairs fertility or leads to an increased number of spontaneous abortion,” according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
She was diagnosed with MS in 1998, became extremely sick, and had trouble walking. However, in 2002 she went into complete remission. She has credited conventional treatments and alternative medicine such as yoga, acupuncture, and reflexology. Ann has also said that her hobby of horseback riding is therapeutic.
Her next setback came in 2008 when she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. She had surgery to remove the tumor and underwent radiation treatment.
Romney appeared to remain healthy until this spring when she experienced an MS flare up while campaigning. The relapse was likely to due to stress, she said, and it made her realize that she needs to get proper rest to manage her condition. The flare up “is a reminder I can’t keep up the pace,” she said.