Why I Wouldn't Change the Fact That I Have MS
Sometimes I wonder, why me? Why now, when I am in the prime of my life? But then I think, why not me? Diseases don’t pick and choose who they want to burden for the rest of their lives; it’s just the luck of the draw.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in July of 2012. I was 25 years old, had a great job, was living with my boyfriend and we were planning our future together. When the neurologist uttered those three words to me – “It’s multiple sclerosis,” I thought that was a death sentence. I knew nothing about the disease at the time or what it would do to me. It seemed so unfair. The first question I asked her was if I would still be able to have children. That was all I cared about in that moment. It was terrifying, and right in that minute my life changed forever.
Here I am now, 30 years old, married to a wonderful man with a beautiful son and another child on the way. Life is good. Don’t get me wrong, the last five years have been extremely tough living with this monster inside me. It has given me problems I will most likely struggle with for the rest of my life. Weakness, fatigue, migraines, tingling sensations – to name a few – but by far the worst is my anxiety. It has taken me over completely at times and made it hard for me to want to keep going. There have been some moments where I have just wanted to give up, but I have so much to keep me going – my son being the main reason right now. I want to be there for him and watch him grow and play and learn, so I have to keep going. It’s about taking it one day at a time (which I’m still working on, by the way), but that’s the only way to try and have a normal life.
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like right now if I didn’t have MS, but then I remember I probably wouldn’t have my son. Our decision to have him when we did was because I wanted to still be in a good place physically, so for that reason I wouldn’t change a thing. He saved my life. He keeps me on my toes and makes me smile every single day with his cheeky little personality and his wonderful laugh. It can be hard some days running around after a 20-month-old when you have MS and all you want to do is lie down and sleep, but I feel so lucky to have him. He is my whole world.
I still worry about the future and how MS is going to affect my life and my children’s lives, but you just never know what’s going to happen, as it is such an unpredictable disease. I think that’s the scariest part – the not knowing. It’s the source of all my anxiety and panic attacks. I just want to be around and well enough to play with my kids and be the best I can be with this disease. I worry how it is going to affect them and how they will understand why Mammy can’t do certain things or why she has to rest so much. It’s unfair, but I can’t change it.
On the days I truly struggle, I just look at my son and remember why I need to keep fighting this disease. I’m not always going to have good days and I need to remember to just try and take things one day at a time, because I want to be the best I can be for my son and his future sibling. For that reason, I will never stop fighting MS.
For those of you who have MS, the best piece of advice I can offer is to make sure to surround yourself with a good support system. I would be so lost without my husband, son, friends and family. They keep me going on my bad days. It’s never going to be easy, but how you deal with it will affect that. Try and be positive.
Always remember you are not alone.
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Thinkstock photo via Ryan McVay.