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To My Younger Self Before I Was Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

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This is my letter to you. These are the words I needed to hear following my diagnosis. To break through the negativity, the fear and medical terminology I didn’t quite understand. To see the hope.

You’re in your mid-20s, you’re about to marry the love of your life and you have the world at your feet. You will be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). You won’t feel despair and pity — just relief.

You knew there had been something brewing, and that there was something more to your unanswered medical questions. Your mom has MS — the primary progressive form. She is in the later stages. This could be you if you don’t do anything. The neurologist says you should be in a wheelchair with the lesions you have. But you aren’t. You won’t be.

There are things you know you should have been doing for a long time. You know your nutrition should be better. You start here. You know you should move your body more. You start here. You know you are a “stress head” and need to do something about it. You start here. You have a choice: You can sit back and let this overcome you, or you can take action, learn from watching your mom’s experiences and be prepared for a journey of discovery.

If there is anything you should know, it’s that your story has power and meaning. The lessons you learn along the way have purpose. The defining moments will shape you and your ability to go within to seek the courage and strength you never knew you had. You will also inspire and help others.

You’ve got this. You will ride the waves, and there will be ups and downs. You will have a beautiful baby boy who will be your shining light. You will learn to live in the present and focus on a future filled with love, glowing health and happiness. You will learn to ask for help when the time is right. You will learn to overcome old and limiting beliefs. You will have an A team who understands you and what you need.

I want you to know that you’ll be OK. The lessons you will learn will enable you to grow beyond belief and become a person filled with compassion, love and purpose. You will still have your icky days, but you can overcome them. You will have the support and love of those who matter most to you. Life will be richer and more meaningful than before. You do have a choice to live each and every single day on purpose.

MS won’t define you and overcome you. You get to choose to let this thing get the better of you or to live each day where MS doesn’t define, shape or make you. And that is powerful all within itself.


Your Future Self (two years after my diagnosis)

Originally published: October 10, 2016
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