The Mighty Logo

To Celebrate – or Not to Celebrate – the Anniversary of My Diagnosis Day

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’m struggling. Do I post about the upcoming date, or do I let it pass? Do I talk about this day — this huge day in my personal history — or do I let it sit under the proverbial leaden rock in the back of my mind? Should I just coast through the day, and into tomorrow?

Reflection has led me to blog about it. I need to focus on all of the good, not just the devastation this looming date caused.

June 18, 2016 will be the two year anniversary of my Diagnosis Day. Definitely two capital d’s.

The date is forever in my mind. Etched and engraved there. Can never forget it. Couldn’t no matter how hard I tried.

Two years ago I heard the words multiple sclerosis (MS) for the first time, officially. The doctors words were buzzing in my ears, there was way too much to take in, and it was a really bad time to be alone at an appointment.

I heard the words: brain lesions, loss of cognitive function, mobility issues, progressive and on and on. No other context. Just the words buzzing through the air.

I zoned out after that, until my doctor and his amazing nurse were kneeling in front of my chair asking if there was anyone they could call to come get me, trying to get the front desk people to find my emergency contact person.

Later I was pissed. Outraged and mad at God. The God I was just beginning to know. I was angrier than I’d ever been, so I pushed God aside and continued on through life angry at everything.

It took almost another year for me to get a full diagnosis. No doctor could tell me what type of MS I have. Parts of the path my disease was taking didn’t quite fit in with the diagnosis of MS. After seeing many out of state specialists, I got the diagnosis of malignant MS, the rarest type.

It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but God has always been there. He never left me, even though I left Him.

I have my diagnosis now. It’s hard. I struggle with my health every day. I have lost a big part of my mobility, deal with frequent migraines, intense pain and many other symptoms.

But I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I believe in great people, kind people, gracious people. I believe in hope, and that alone is a miracle.

Since my diagnosis I have become an advocate. I write about issues important to the chronically ill. My articles have been posted on several prominent websites. I co-lead a local support group for people with MS, and have been asked to speak at a hospital program about my rare MS.

I’ve learned I am more than a diagnosis. I’ve learned new hobbies and explored career opportunities that I’ve never thought were possible, even though they haven’t worked out yet.

I’ve learned empathy. I’ve learned kindness is the single most important thing in getting through the toughest days.

Two years in, I take life in, day by day, moment by moment.

On my Diagnosis Day, I ask for a thought or a kind prayer as I start another year. Year three. I don’t know what it holds, how many more years I have, but prayer is all I can ask for.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing you thought on the day of your or a loved one’s diagnosis that you later completely changed your mind about? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 11, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home