I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on April 27th, 2011. Quite possibly the most difficult day of my life, and a date I’ll never forget. Since that day my life has changed quite dramatically, I have had to change many of my regular habits and lifestyle choices. I had to take responsibility for my life and for my health.
I spent several years prior to my diagnosis dismissing events in which I’d fall or lose my ability to talk, or have vision problems. I’d blame these things on being drunk or some phenomena that could explain falling down at 3 am or sometimes not being able to walk after 3 or 4 beers (and a few cigarettes). I knew something was wrong with me, but I was too afraid to find out. I was on my way to work on a day that seemed just like any other, I smoked a cigarette andhad beenwaiting tables for about a half hour when that cigarette rang out like an alarm for my body and my legs started shutting down. Shortly after, I couldn’t hold my body upright. I couldn’t stand up. I felt paralyzed from the waste down. Being unable to walk, my manager insisted I go to the hospital to figure out what was wrong.
After three days in the hospital and a spinal tap, myfears were confirmed, I had MS! Prior to this day I had minimal exposure to the disease through a few friend’s parents or relatives, but I had no idea what the disease meant to me.Internet researchmade my fears worse, so I’ve learned over the last four years that I have the most say of anyone regarding my disease. I had to take control of my situation and do everything in my power to make my life what I wanted it to be. Today I am 31 years old, I finished my degree, I started a career and I’ve done my best to move forward despite MS. I had my last cigarette the day I was diagnosed, I shed close to 100 lbs and I picked up the pieces that day left me in. As much as MS has taken from me, it gave me a lot too. I can only hope that I can help that kid sitting up at 3 am sobbing and thinking his life is over. I can only hope that I can make it easier or somewhat bearable to anyone who gets the news they have MS. Everyone’s battle is different, but for me I will keep pushing to do as much as I can. I am trying to change MS by making sure nobody thinks life is over because of it.