There are certain moments in your life that you’ll never forget. For me, those include the moment when I realized Bill was about to propose, when I first laid eyes on my daughter, and when I was told I had multiple sclerosis…
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just spent the last four days on a wild goose chase trying to understand for the life of me how my vision in my right eye just seemed to disappear. After several doctor appointments and tests, no one seemed to have any answers; but, I knew deep down something was terribly wrong as I impatiently awaited the results of my MRI. I was at my mom’s house with Bill and knew that regardless of the outcome, I wanted to be with both of them when I got the call from my doctor.
The thought of that call still haunts me. I picked up the phone and within seconds, my life had instantly changed. “There are lesions on your brain indicating you definitively have multiple sclerosis. I’m sorry”, the doctor said. I fell to my knees and began crying uncontrollably. I had never been so scared in my life. Within seconds, Bill dropped down next to me and held me like he’d never held me before. With no words spoken, only tears, we both knew our lives would never be the same.
Fear instantly took me over as I played those words over and over again in my mind. I thought of what I knew about the disease and images of wheelchairs popped into my mind. “How could this happen?” I said over and over again. I was a perfectly healthy 29-year-old. I had recently gotten married, had a great job and was happier than I had ever been in my life. I rarely even got a cold, how could I possibly have an incurable disease?
That moment is the reason I’ve decided to start this blog and have actively joined the MS community. The fear I had after diagnosis is the same fear thousands of people face when they hear they have MS. It’s a debilitating fear that makes you feel hopeless when you start to think of all the things you love to do and how this disease could take them all away. Will I completely lose my vision? Will I be unable to walk? Will I be unable to pick up my child one day? The questions played out over and over in my mind. The truth is, however, an MS diagnosis hardly means your life is over and that’s the message I want to communicate.
It took me several months to come to grips with what it means to have MS and I’ve learned that you can successfully manage it if you take control of your situation – find a doctor and medication that works for you, eat healthy, work out, reduce stress and find time to rest and sleep. There isn’t one recipe for treating MS, but I believe living a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with finding an effective medicine is critical. I certainly don’t have all the answers but I have made it a priority in my life to manage my health and stay on top of MS research and breakthroughs, and hope to use this blog to share information and make a positive difference in the lives of others.