2 years have gone by since my MS diagnosis. I remember the day as if it were yesterday. My heart sank when I learned the news and I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. Even writing about it now makes me feel anxious, scared and numb all over again.
I only wish I knew then what I do now, but I am proud to look back at the pledge I made to myself and to know that I’ve kept my promise. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever written but I needed to do it. It helped me accept my position, determine next steps and commit publically that I wouldn’t let my newfound diagnosis overcome me. It’s held me accountable every day since and I hope it will continue to indefinitely.
Written on January 31, 2015, less than 2 weeks after my diagnosis
“On January 18, I lost the vision in my right eye. Without rhyme or reason, it was gone. After days of doctor visits and eye tests, the diagnosis was unclear. But, when I woke up with a tingly sensation in my body a few days later, it was obvious that an MRI was necessary. Hours later, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an incurable neurological disease resulting in various automatic, visual, motor and sensory problems.
I was terrified. As a healthy and active 29 year old, I couldn’t understand how this happened. After learning more about this disease, I immediately knew that unlike most aspects of my life, I had no control over what power MS would have over me. I couldn’t predict how else it would affect my body and to what extent over time since each person’s symptoms differ. So, with the help of my unbelievable family and husband, I decided take charge of the things I could control – researched the best doctors, checked into Northwestern to receive the immediate care I needed and started working one day at a time to develop a treatment plan.
As I begin to embark on what’s next, I want to declare to myself and those around me that I will not hide behind this disease – otherwise it has won. Like any obstacle life throws, I pledge to face the challenges ahead with determination, adaptability and a positive attitude. With certainty, the life I once knew has changed but I am confident that with the help of my doctors and incredible support system, I’m capable of living the life I’ve always dreamed of. This will simply be part of my story.”