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Why Multiple Sclerosis Has Made Me a Better Human Being

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Yes, you might be wondering how in the world has having a terrible disease such as multiple sclerosis changed my life in a good way at all, but listen closely to my story as I explain myself. MS has made a better human being.

It all started back when I was in my second year of college, taking a music business administration class at Durham College in Oshawa. My plan going into that course was that I would be an artist’s manager, or something along those lines, but I had no idea what was really in my future. My future changed in an instant, and that was due to me being rushed to the hospital on December 5 or 6, 2014. (My memory is hazy.)

See, I was on my last day of my first semester of my second year and I was ready to have an awesome Christmas break with my friends and family. Little did I know that wasn’t going to be the case. I woke up the morning after the last day of the semester and had to use the bathroom, when all of a sudden I couldn’t feel my entire right side of my body, even my face. I was completely paralyzed on my right side from my face to my foot.

I immediately woke up my boyfriend and tried explaining what was going on with me, but he was tired of course and thought my leg was just asleep. When he realized I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom, he carried me and I was then sick. It was all happening way too fast. My roommate then called the ambulance and I was rushed into the hospital, and guess what? I was there the entire Christmas break. (Except when I got out for a few days for Christmas, but I’ll explain that later.)

I was in the stroke part of the hospital the whole time I was there because that’s what they thought happened to me – we all thought I had a stroke. But the reality was MS. Of course no one knew the real reason at the time. They did MRIs and a spinal tap on me and finally diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. I remember being told I had the disease, but I didn’t even know what it was so the doctor had to explain it to me.

I was then horrified, crying, freaking out – I felt completely hopeless. I thought, I’m a decent human being, why is this happening to me? I was really depressed for a bit, and even more upset that I was on steroids, tons of pills and stomach injections every morning, not to mention re-learning how to use the entire right side of my body. That means I was in a wheelchair, I couldn’t walk and I could barely speak, so I had to do speech therapy and physiotherapy every week.

I’m 22 years old now, and at the time I was only 20 years old. This had me thinking that I was too young to go through something like this, and I started questioning everything I ever believed in. But then something hit me. I broke through my depression, overcame my struggles and was happy again – and I’m going to tell you why.

I became happy because I started questioning little things. Why is this happening to me? Maybe a higher power is trying to teach me something, maybe I need to be more thankful and feel lucky to even be alive. I could have died, but I didn’t. And do you want to know why?

It’s because all of us are stronger than we perceive ourselves to be. I never thought I would go through such a drastic change in my life, let alone build the physical strength and the emotional/spiritual strength to carry on in my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I started to look at things in a different light. I’m not saying that battles with disease, depression, anxiety, etc. are easy – they are extremely difficult to go through – but this is what I did to get through it all.

I got to get out for a few days for Christmas to see my family and we went to see Christmas lights. When we arrived to all these huge houses, there was a sign that read, “$1 hot chocolate for MS.” They were raising money for my disease. It was beautiful. I got out of my mom’s boyfriend’s truck and we went over and gave them $20. I cried tears of pain but also of irony, of synchronicity. I was meant to be there, in that moment, exactly how it happened.

I saw how other people had it hard in the hospital and outside of it, too, and I knew I was put here on this Earth to help others be inspired to be strong and overcome any obstacles thrown their way. I know for a fact that overcoming my disease physically was (mostly) a spiritual awakening into a better perspective and a better life.

I then eventually moved to Toronto, got a job to pay for my rent and started to be in a collective that writes about music. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be where I am now. The pain and experiences I’ve faced have made me take my writing seriously (I’ve always loved writing since elementary school) and to help others be inspired. I did an awareness video interview on MS that got thousands of views and inspired so many others. I have recently had my story published on, and I even wrote a book called “Growing into My Soul” which is a collection of my thoughts and poetry, some of which talk about MS.

I’m not saying everyone with MS will have the same experience as me – that’s actually impossible. But what I’m saying is to trust your experiences, learn from them and grow strong from them. We are all stronger than we think and we can withstand even the toughest of storms in our lives. I’m not saying my disease is cured, or that I no longer deal with anxiety or depression, but I did look at things in a new light and it does help more than I ever thought it would. We are each on our own journey; no one’s is going to be the same. So just try to do the best you can with what you have and turn your pain into something beautiful, something to look back on. We as people constantly evolve, so don’t worry: where you are right now will be completely different weeks, months or even years from now. Striving to be better than you were yesterday is all that matters, and if you focus on yourself, you will be much happier.

I know I have, and I love who I am today because of it. I’m proud of my struggles because they have turned me into a better person.

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Originally published: November 11, 2016
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