I have Multiple Sclerosis!! There I said it and WOW the world didn’t come to a stop. Ok now take a deep breath in and exhale. Funny how after keeping that a secret for 20 years saying it out loud didn’t change anything. The world is still rotating, I am still here and well the cat still doesn’t find me any more interesting than five minutes ago.
So why say anything now well I mention back in December that this was the year I was going to get healthy physically, financially and emotionally. To get healthy emotionally I have to face my inner demons and talk about things that normally I would never talk about. That includes admitting I have MS and that I am a disabled woman who need a little help her and there. It also means talking about how Ms affects my life and how I have learned to live with it.
But first we need to discuss what MS is first.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. that’s the official doctor terminology for MS. In basic everyday talk it means the brain and the body are fighting and refuse to speak to one another.
Ms is considered an ‘Invisible’ disease because on the outside all appears normal but inside the body is attacking itself like it’s gone to war. Getting a diagnosis can be a lengthy process and if like me it hits hard and fast recovery can be a long road.
It began in April of ’95, April 5th to be exact i was driving home from a field trip I had been on as a chaperone when I started to feel light-headed and sick. By morning I so sick i could barely move. Nothing would stay down and my left side was numb. Husband rushed me to the ER where they diagnose me with food poisoning and sent me home with medicine. I got feeling a bit better during but when the medicine ended I relapsed.
But in the ER the doctor decided food poisoning wasn’t it so they admitted me to the hospital and started testing. During this week I was given steroids and antibiotics. I started feeling better. I went home thinking I got this. I over came but as soon as the medicine stopped I relapsed. this time the relapse would be unforgiving.
Within 24 hours of stopping the medicine I was so weak and unresponsive I didn’t even realize the paramedics where in my house. With 48 hours I had slipped into a coma. the doctors told my family plan her funeral she won’t be coming home. I was on life support. My body was lifeless.
One doctor stepped up asked if he could treat me like I was his daughter and leave no stone upturned. My family agreed and the testing began. Thankfully I was out of it for most it so the pain was bearable. two weeks later after 100’s of test and a cocktail of drugs I would open my eyes to realize I was paralyzed. i could only move my eyes nothing else. I still had a feeding tube, monitors and wiring coming out of me everywhere. But I was alive something the admitting Doctor could not believe.
I was told soon after waking I had MS and that in time I would regain some use of my body but that I would never walk again. I was also told that the life I had been gone. Any thought of children, traveling, even feeding myself were no longer an option. They basically told me my body was broken.
What they didn’t know was that my mind and spirit were not broken. With hard work and determination I was going to get back my life. It would take a year with 6 months of those in the hospital but I learned to walk again.
Once life started to look normal again and I realized that my chronic illness was something I could feel but it could not be seen I decided no one needed to know, I was determined to live life to the fullest. In doing so I have pushed myself beyond my limits on days and I learned to play off things that didn’t seem right. Little things like stumbling or forgetfulness i told people I was clumsy or getting old. Whit each cover up or lie if truth be told I lost a piece of myself. I began to realize that i was ashamed of who I was and was uncomfortable in my skin.
Then one day I woke up I didn’t recognize the woman looking back at me. I let my chronic illness steal the life I had dreamed of away from me. I decide then to take back control and in order to do that I had to stop hiding and face my darkest fear and that was admitting I had an illness.
Hello my name is Rebecca and I have Multiple Sclerosis.
Let’s Talk: Do you or someone you now suffer from an illness? How do you face it and handle your daily life?