I can honestly say, June 18th, 2014 was the worst day of my life. But, wow, has it changed me for the better.
On June 18, 2014 I woke up on day three of my body feeling weird and tingly, but this day was different. It had spread to the entire left side of my body; it was intense, and it my left side was weaker. At the time, I knew nothing about MS, so I was pretty sure I either hurt myself doing Crossfit, had a stroke or was having a heart attack. I understand that some (or all) of those make no sense, but neither did what was happening to my body, so don’t judge me. Either way, I knew it was not normal. It took a doctor at urgent care 15 minutes before he sent me for an MRI. The MRI lasted 30-45 minutes, and by the end of the day, I had been diagnosed with MS.
Cue the tears and weeks of feeling sorry for myself.
It took 6 weeks before my numbness went away. I am still left with some residual numbness and intense pain from time to time. The biggest change it caused for me is what it did to ME as a person. I know that I can’t control this disease. Feeling sorry for myself is easy, but it is not productive. Getting angry with my body on the days it doesn’t work quite right is easy, but it doesn’t make it work better. Letting MS control my life would be easy, but I am not giving it that power. Giving into the pain, fatigue, numbness, mind fog would be easy, but it will not make me better, faster, stronger or smarter. So I keep pushing. I keep fighting to be a better me. While I live with MS, I have the rest of my life to live with MS, but what I have now is the ability to live an almost completely normal life, so that is what I am doing.
It has been 5 years…. HALF A DECADE…. That I have lived with MS. I have tried two different drugs and hope that I am on one that will work forever. I have had no real progression in my disease. My brain scans still look the same as they did on June 18, 2014. Within the next couple months, I will have another and praying for the same results.
If you know someone who has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, educate yourself. Talk to them when they are willing. Don’t let them be alone. There is nothing more lonely that getting a diagnosis, and not having anyone to talk to about it. Be the person they may not yet know they need.
If you have recently been diagnosed with something, I will always talk to you. While I know most about MS, I will research and learn with you. You are not alone, and you will get through it. With a little faith and a positive attitude, you can do almost anything.
Cheers to 5 years down, and a lifetime to go.
❤ MS Andrea Jackson