Over the next several days, the numbness spread. It swept up her entire left side, reached her head, and began an inexorable descent down her right side.
At the same time, Adamusik started to lose her peripheral vision. Darkness crept in from the sides, blotting out more and more of the world until she was blind in one eye and had suffered an 80 percent vision loss in the other.
This all, happened within three days.
A neurologist was able two weeks later to clear up the worst of Adamusik's symptoms with oral steroids, but her doctors were stumped by what had happened to her. In her late 30s and by nature an active, athletic and on-the-go person, the affliction had come without warning and left her devastated.
It was more than a year before she was diagnosed by a doctor as having multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis, or M.S., as it is commonly known, is an affliction that removes the protective fatty myelin sheath that surrounds the spinal column and brain. What causes the disease remains a mystery, but it leaves hardened tissue on the brain and along the spinal column and often can result in paralysis and a loss of muscle control.
Multiple sclerosis affects about 400,000 people nationally. It principally strikes people from 20 to 50, and is more than tree times as likely to attack women as it is men. Researchers also have noticed a higher rate of incidence in the Northern regions of the nation than in the South.
The disease follows one of two patterns, either putting its victims through alternating flare-ups and periods of remission, or gradually taking away more of their independence and mobility as it progresses. In neither case is the disease considered terminal.
Adamusik, 42, falls into the former category. Within the last year, doctors have been able to get her condition to stabilize. Today she is walking again, often without the benefit of a cane, although she has one she needs from time to time.
Make no mistake, though: She has not "recovered." Some numbness remains in her feet, her depth perception is unreliable and her endurance is not what it once was.
"I was a very lucky person. I got everything back, which most people don't," she said. "People in their mid- 30s are shut down. Some people get diagnosed with M.S, and they never get out of a wheelchair. They never get their eyesight back. That's just their first symptom, and — bam!"
The truth is, the disease has taken plenty from her. Adamusik no longer plays tennis, she is limited in how far she can drive, and she has to live with the knowledge that what mobility she has could vanish without warning.
"I'm always afraid when I turn the comer, that I'll return and go back to the way I was," she said. "My legs will not do it. My legs will not walk more than half a block.
"At times it restricts me around here. 1 had to hire a cleaning woman," she said. "I can't even push a vacuum. Last year I couldn't even cook dinner or cook meals."
In a casual conversation around the dinner table at her Armstrong Drive home or out in public, you might never notice that Adamusik has multiple sclerosis. She remains animated and vivacious, and when the subject does come up she is prone to laugh and make jokes about it.
"I have a superpositive attitude, but also every single day I take advantage of, because I don't know if it's going to be my last day," she said. "1 just have to be positive. I don't have time for this crap. I just don't. I'm way too busy."
Despite her upbeat approach to living with multiple sclerosis, getting to the point she's at now took time and the support of her family at friends.
At the onset of her illness, she said, Adamusik even told her husband, Gene, 38, that she would understand if he left her, and told her friends that she understood if they didn't, want continue their friendship.
Her offers fell on deaf ears.
"You find out that you have a lot of friends," she said. "I have friends who I really count on, who have really come to the forefront and taking my kids places."
Because she often is unable to take her children all the places she used to, Adamusik seizes upon the opportunities she does have since they come less frequently than they once did.
"M.S. is not just my disease. It's my family's," she said. "It has affected everyone in this house."
Just as celebrities like "Family Ties" actor Michael J. Fox have dedicated themselves to advocacy and research connected to diseases they suffer from — Fox has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease — Adamusik has channeled her energy and enthusiasm into the fight against multiple sclerosis.
The chief agency she works with is the greater North Jersey chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which this week will sponsor a 6.2- mile hike through Nomahegan Park on Springfield Avenue in Cranford.
Wearing T-shirts provided by Arena Sports Connexion on Raritan Road, her 31 -member team, including two of her daughters, will walk the distance to raise money for the society. Her daughter Jenna has raised $410. Her oldest; daughter, Ashleigh Snow, 20, also .will walk, and her youngest daughter, Lauren, 7, is assisting her, mother at the finish line.
Such walks account for about 40 percent of the money raised annually for the North Jersey chapter.
In addition to the walk, Adamusik runs a 25-member support group for Union County victims of multiple sclerosis, called But You Look So Good, with Julia Adams of Roselle Park. The group is sponsored by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
"It's a really very positive group. If someone has an issue, we'll listen and talk about it, and move on, but we're not going to dwell on it," said Adamusik.
The exact cause of multiple sclerosis still eludes medical science. No one is certain if it is caused by a virus or bacterium, or by possible environmental factors.
Adamusik's older sister, Carole Fishe of Georgia, also has multiple sclerosis, but statistically family members of the affliction's victims have only a minimally higher chance of developing the disease than those with no family history.
Even in cases where more than one family member suffers from it, the symptoms can vary widely, as they do between Fisher and Adamusik.
"She struggles with it daily, but she's out doing her own thing. She's not using a wheelchair or a cane," said Adamusik. "It affects every single person differently. That's the hardest thing about it."
But life goes on, and Adamusik refuses to let her affliction get her down. Her goal is to seize each moment as it comes and treasure every opportunity to do things with her family that she has.
"Every kids' softball that I can go to, every recital that I can attend, every honors society induction that I can go to, I'll go to," she said. "I am not defined by M.S. M.S. does not have me."