Advocate Becomes the Patient: My Diagnosis of MS

Food allergy advocacy has been a part of my life for 11 years. In those 11 years, I’ve talked a lot about RESILIENCE, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or exhibit a type of toughness. My son and I have spoke a lot about this word as he struggles with many health challenges: food allergies, asthma, seasonal allergies, acid reflux and polymorphic light eruption. One of the ways that I taught him to be fearless in the face of adversity was to say, “Everyone has something.”

While my son may have experienced a heavier load than most in his short life, it’s true we all struggle with something. Some people have physical or mental health challenges, while others struggle with not being athletically or academically inclined, etc. The list of what one can deal with can be quite lengthy.

Just like you, challenges have not been foreign to my life. I’ve dealt with an array of struggles like infertility, multiple miscarriages and always by my son’s side helping him to brave his health issues.

Everyone has something.

My new something is Relapsing – Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

After struggling with a variety of more severe symptoms for six weeks, I was finally diagnosed with MS on February 13, 2017.

As much as it was a shock to my husband and me, it really wasn’t. We quickly began to piece together the last couple years of my life and it all began to make sense with symptoms ebbing and flowing during different times.

My initial inclination was to retreat; closing myself off for what has been well over five weeks being introspective and defining what this means for me and my family. The diagnosis of MS is not a death sentence, nor does it mean being wheelchair bound. Thankfully, I’m considered to be a mild case where I will live with the disease and manage day-to-day symptoms and limitations.

I’ve started on injections of Copaxone® which is not an MS cure, as there is no cure. The medication does not manage any MS symptoms rather its purpose is to hopefully minimize the number of MS relapses that could prove to be debilitating. In addition, I’ve started with a personal trainer to strengthen my body and address balance issues. Life is a little slower these days, as I begin to understand what my energy limitations are and how much is too much ensuring that I don’t add to my fatigue. I have good days and bad days, but I had those whether I had MS or not, so I’d say I’m doing very well.

I can’t thank my close family members and friends enough who have been of great support over the last 12 weeks. The calls, texts, cards and emails have truly buoyed my spirits and made me realize that this too is just another bump in the road of life.

Most of all, I’d like to thank my husband Demetrios. This May will be our 17-year anniversary. Through those years we have celebrated too many happy times to count and faced challenges side-by-side buoying one another along the way. While we are often blindsided by life’s challenges that take our breath away, that cause anxiety thinking about the unknown, one thing has always been unwavering – our love, commitment and support for one another. To quote Demetrios, “This is our life together, nothing will ever change it.”

Last, one of the largest decisions in all of this was…who will I tell? Do I keep this all to myself? How far out do I tell of my family and friends? Recently, I had a person with MS follow me on Twitter. In her profile, she listed herself as an MS Warrior since 2012. I sat with that phrase ‘MS Warrior’ for a few days and I even bothered to look up the word ‘warrior’ in the dictionary to help define what it means to me, if anything.

A warrior is a brave and experienced fighter.

I am a brave and experienced fighter of many things…

Infertility Warrior
Miscarriage Warrior
Food Allergy Warrior

And now…

I am an MS Warrior.

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2 thoughts on “Advocate Becomes the Patient: My Diagnosis of MS

  1. …and a strong warrior and good friend to others.

    …and a women who loves her community so much, she changes it for the better.

    …and a great all around mother ans woman.

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