I can’t believe it’s been nearly 8 months since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. So much has changed during these 8 months and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to stop, look back, and reflect on how my life has changed so dramatically since November but also mananged to stay the same in so many ways. Now, with the summer heat burning away the memory of a long Colorado winter, I wanted to take the opportunity to think about how far I’ve come in embracing M.S. as part of my life without letting it take control.
When I was first diagnosed, I was in such a state of shock that it took a few months for the reality of my diagnosis to set in. As I began to do more research and find out more about M.S., I was bothterrified and encouraged at what I found out. I was terrified because some cases of M.S. are severe, and cause a lot of problems like total limb numbness, the inability to walk, cognition problems and bladder control issues. To be honest, for me, the most daunting prospect that I was facing was life in a wheelchair. I love hiking, playing sports, snowboarding and I was worried that the opportunity to do the things I love most would be affected by M.S.
Despite all of the negative things that M.S. can cause, I was encouraged when I met many MSers online who had been living with the disease for 10, 20 or even 40 years. Indeed, some do have mobility problems, or bladder control issues, but many lead fairly normal lives. Most have children, husbands or wives and full-time jobs. Seeing so many others living with the same disease and functioning well in society made me very optimistic for my future.
As I began my regiment of injections in January, I had a new outlook on MS and I refused to let it run my life. Despite some occasional soreness, and sporadic days where I could barely get out of my apartment, I have to admit that most days are good. I try to take advantage of the good days by staying as active as possible. Since my diagnosis, I have danced at concerts, gone snowboarding, participated in a 3 mile M.S. walk, played in softball and volleyball leagues, been to several music festivals where lots of walking is involved, and went scuba diving for the first time. I am so glad that my activity level has not been negatively impacted by my M.S.!
November seems like a lifetime ago. It’s amazing to think how my life has changed in so many ways but also stayed the same. So far, I am not impacted by M.S. very often. I know that most likely, I will face some of the problems that I’ve heard so many others talk about. However, in the meantime, I am living my life the way I want to and I have no plans to let M.S. slow me down.