themighty logo

If You're Wondering If I'm Really Sick After Seeing My Vacation Photos

I smiled. I laughed. I wore a pretty swimsuit. I ate pizza.

These are the photos you saw on social media. These are the photos I’ll remember my late summer, last-minute one-night vacation with a couple of girlfriends with. These are the photos that make some people ask, ”So is she really even that sick? Sure doesn’t look that way.”

Yes, I heard about what you said.

Here’s what you didn’t see.

That I couldn’t see out of my left eye half the time because the heat interferes with my damaged optic nerve’s ability to convey information. You didn’t see me not driving because I couldn’t manage the responsibility. You didn’t see me nap for two hours under a beach towel. You didn’t see me limping because the feeling in my right foot turned off. You didn’t see me cry in the bathroom because my swimsuit didn’t quite cover the infusion needle bruises. You didn’t see me using a disability parking tag at the park, or needing to bring in special food my body can tolerate.

You also didn’t see us go to bed at 9 p.m. and sleep for 10 solid hours in stone cold darkness and bone-chilling air conditioning.

You didn’t see the pep talk my friend gave me because sometimes, everything feels hopeless.

And you don’t see how often feel like I don’t deserve a break. That I haven’t earned a vacation or a trip with friends. I’m sick, right? I should act it. I should work on fixing myself, so I can make the world more comfortable with my existence. The last thing I should be doing, is having a good time.

Here’s the fact of the matter, though.

I did not choose multiple sclerosis (MS). I did not choose this life of chronic illness and chronic battle. But I do choose how I live my life with it. I choose my attitude. My outlook. Every now and then, I choose what fun outweighs what health risks. I make decisions on what is best for me, my spirit, my physical body. I choose who I am.

I also choose my friends.

The best ones? Know how roll with me and my MS. And they smiled when they saw me smiling.

Getty Image by Artem Tryhub