I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 15 years ago as of February. The anniversary of my diagnosis came and went without my notice. It was so insignificant that I’m only now writing about it in May. It wasn’t until I was reflecting on my life overall the other day that I did the math.
When I was first diagnosed with MS, I kept track of the extact day I received the news. Now I just remember it was in February of 1998. I had just graduated from high school the summer before. I had my whole life ahead of me, and then came my MS. I spent the next couple years quite a mess dealing with my diagnosis in the form of clinical depression and irratic behavior. It wasn’t much fun. But then one day, I got on with my life.
I began going to college full time at 21. I graduated with an associate’s degree and transferred to a four year school. After a couple more years I had a bachelor’s degree and a career. Had someone told me back in 1998 that I would have these things in my future I would have thought they were lying. A few years later I got married and started working on my master’s degree. When my husband and I decided we wanted to move, I started to search for jobs in other states. After some interviews I found one and off we went. We made one more big move a couple years ago and settled where we are now, in Las Vegas. Last year we bought a house.
Nothing has been easy in my life with MS. I’ve had to work really hard at everything. There are many things I can’t do anymore that I miss. I miss riding a bike and walking my dog. Did I want to be using a cane before 30? No. Am I happy to report that I drive a minivan to cart around my mobility scooter? Of course not. But at least my van is fully loaded.
Human beings are amazingly adaptive creatures. We find a way. I’m thankful I found the courage to get on with living. I spent too much time dwelling on my worst fears about this disease. Some of them have actually happened, but the whole point is that 15 years after my diagnosis; I have everything I ever wanted. I have a great family, good friends, I’m married to the man of my dreams, we live in our own beautiful house, and like our jobs. I can’t say that MS has robbed me. In spite of it all I can’t say that I’ve missed out on some big part of life because of it.
Despite the happiness in my life there are still times when I mourn what I’ve lost. I think that is normal. It would be unfair to deny that I don’t ever feel anguish from having this disease. There are moments when sadness overcomes me when I think about the things I once took for granted that I can’t do anymore. There are times when I think of the person I used to be and I want to hold her and I want to whisper; I miss you.