When the neurologist spoke those two little words for the first time I knew a lot of things were going to change. Even though I knew this, the reality of it was still a hard pill to swallow. The kind of pill that gets stuck in your throat. This leads me to my eye. When my symptoms began it basically felt like I had the flu. My bones ached, my legs felt heavy, and my skin was super sensitive. But then the vision in my right eye deteriorated pretty quickly. Becoming blind in that eye was the biggest pill I've ever seen in my whole life and I knew it wouldn't go down easy. As you can imagine the first few weeks were full of anger and despair yet I still remained hopeful. As the weeks turned into months and after several rounds of steroids, my hope of regaining my sight began to dwindle. The months turned into years and any flicker of hope that remained was snuffed out completely. I actually felt more sorry for my mom than I did for myself. She still keeps praying to St. Lucy and holds onto that fantasy that maybe one day I'll miraculously see again. As a mother myself, I can imagine how agonizing it must be to see your child, no matter how old they are, go through something so difficult. You want to protect and help your child but when the ability to do so is out of your hands it's devastating. My father felt just as bad and just as useless. He was a quiet man but I could see it in his eyes. So I managed to stay cheerful and smile through the tears to ease their burden of pain.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis you're forced to make it your new norm. You're strong armed into accepting its symptoms and limitations. The revolving door of doctor appointments, tests, and medications become part of your natural rhythm, almost like going to work each day. MS didn't ask our permission nor were we ever given a choice. So what do we do? We change. We learn to accept MS as part of our lives. It's true when it was said that "the only constant in life is change."
We figure out what time of the day we have the most energy so we can utilize it. We avoid extreme temperatures depending on how it affects us. We learn new and innovative ways to get our chores done. Having the lights turned out in my right eye took some real getting used to. My depth perception is a bit messed up and I still bump into things but I manage fine. It's different but fine. Thankfully, my warped sense of humor smoothed the transition.
People, even myself at first, see MS as a weakness. They're not totally wrong because it does weaken our bodies, but my God, they don't get to see, to really see, how incredibly strong we actually are. It takes an immense fortitude and indomitable will to fight through each day the way that we do.
So here's to us, some bad ass warriors!