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A Letter to Myself Before I Was Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

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On June 18, 2014, you will get your first multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. And the diagnosis of the type of MS you have will change a few times over the coming years. You’ll end up with malignant MS, the rarest and most difficult type to treat. Well, Ellie, welcome to the world of rare diseases.

You’ll be in and out of hospitals a whole lot. Your condition will be so rare that doctors in your city won’t be able to completely treat you, even though you live in the capital city with some of the top doctors in your state. You’ll have to travel out of state often — sometimes for life or death situations.

But Ellie, always, always remember you’re both stronger and weaker than you could ever imagine. Life is about to show you that in a huge way.

Here’s what I want you to know about yourself now and about what’s to come. Ellie, you need to know this before you get sicker than you could ever imagine being.

Stay ready. You’re healthy, vibrant and full of dreams. You work hard and play harder. You’re very open about everything and feel ready to conquer anything, and you’re ready for whatever the future holds. You feel ready for a reason but not the reason you think. Stay ready.

You have amazing friends and family. You may think you know how amazing they are now, but you don’t have a clue yet. These bonds you have will get tested like never before. Some bonds will break, but the best ones get even stronger, and you’ll get to see the beautiful side of family and friendships in wonderful ways. Never forget to tell the amazing people in your life how much you love them — every chance you get.

You have a story. The life you live now will soon change to reveal your purpose. The woman you are now will be shaped like a mound of clay into something beautiful. This clay will take a while to shape into something you recognize, but it’ll happen.

There are going to be hard times — days, weeks, even months of painful challenges. You aren’t going to see the end in sight. The reward for staying steadfast will come, and it will be everything you’ve ever hoped for. You’re brave and strong. You’re a warrior. What you need to get through this is already inside of you. You can do this. I believe in you.

With utmost encouragement,

Ellie of 2016

Imagine someone Googling how to help you cope with your (or a loved one’s) diagnosis. Write the article you’d want them to find. If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: June 8, 2016
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