Moments in Time

There are certain moments in your life that you’ll never forget. For me, those include the moment when I realized my husband was about to propose, when I first laid eyes on my daughter and when I was told I had multiple sclerosis.
 

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just spent the last four days on a wild goose chase trying to understand for the life of me how the vision in my right eye just seemed to disappear. After several doctor appointments and tests, no one seemed to have any answers; but, I knew deep down something was terribly wrong as I impatiently awaited the results of my MRI.

The thought of that call still haunts me to this day. I picked up the phone and within seconds, my life had instantly changed.“There are lesions on your brain indicating you definitively have multiple sclerosis. I’m sorry,” the doctor said. I fell to my knees and began crying uncontrollably. I had never been so scared in my life. Within seconds, my husband dropped down next to me and held me like he’d never held me before. With no words spoken, only tears, we both knew our lives would never be the same.

Fear instantly took me over as I played those words over and over again in my mind. I thought of what I knew about the disease and images of wheelchairs popped into my mind. “How could this happen?” I said over and over again. I was a perfectly healthy 29-year-old. I had recently gotten married, had a great job and was happier than I had ever been in my life. I rarely even got a cold, how could I possibly have an incurable disease?

At that moment, I knew I had to make a choice – I could either let MS control me or I could take control of the situation. I could wallow in my fears and sadness and dwell in this unexpected news or I could put one foot in front of the other and tackle the challenges that lay ahead. Within days of my diagnoses, I pledged to myself and those around me that I would not let MS stop me from living my wonderful life. I had too much to look forward to to let MS slow me down. I knew the months and years ahead may not be easy, but I also knew that I had something bigger to fight for.

It took me several months to come to grips with what it means to have MS, and still today, almost two years later, I don’t have all of the answers and certainly cannot predict what’s to come. But, I have learned that so far, I can successfully manage my MS if I take control of my situation – find a doctor and medication that works for me, eat healthy, work out, reduce stress and find time to rest and sleep. There isn’t one recipe for treating MS, but living a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with finding an effective medicine has been critical for me. Most importantly, my attitude is key. I believe it’s been my determination to live well and strong that has allowed me to stay both well and strong. 
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Angie

Angie Randall

Angie is a new mom to Chloé Renee and Oscar the Shih Tzu, and wife to Bill, her husband of two years. She’s a health and wellness enthusiast, who loves cooking, home decorating, and traveling the world. She was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in January of 2015. You can also follow her journey at WellandStrongwithMS.com and on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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    13 Comments

  • Chris Kennedy   Aug 25, 2016 12:02 PM
    Great attitude, your comment took me back 33 years. When I was diagnosed, investigate everything there is so much hope nowadays.
  • Lucia Annunzio   Aug 25, 2016 12:13 PM
    So proud of my daughter for her positive energy and willingness to help others inflicted with this disease.
  • Marilyn1  Aug 25, 2016 12:48 PM
    Great article. That is how I reacted when I was diagnosed. Also not knowing what MS was. I agree that having a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle are key in living well with MS.
  • kevin   Aug 25, 2016 1:07 PM
    You're tackling this head-on but know your loved ones are there when you need TLC.
  • Avatar
    True_Blue_Kim  Aug 25, 2016 3:30 PM
    Thank you for your story!
  • Avatar
    Zellie  Aug 25, 2016 7:32 PM
    So many of us must be blind sided by the news that something we always felt dread about, when hearing of others' misfortune, had actually become part of our own story. You've got a good attitude and that will work for you. Maybe what worked for me could be part of your coping with this dreaded diagnosis. Google Tango Trumps MS (https://youtu.be/Pbwn1Xt01Pw) and see something that worked for me. Thanks for telling us your story and keep in touch. Ellen (Zellie)
  • Diane   Aug 27, 2016 10:09 PM
    I remember all three of these events very vividly as well. And here I am almost 30 years after my diagnosis--our daughter is now a mother and my course of MS has taken a relatively mild turn. At 25 I thought my life was over. Hang in there and take it one day at a time.
  • Thea Kaxianus   Aug 28, 2016 6:52 AM
    God bless you and your beautiful family.
  • NordicMA  Aug 28, 2016 10:29 PM
    Dear Angie,

    You have an amazing, positive attitude! A good attitude is essential. I was diagnosed with MS in 1979. At that time the pharmaceutical industry only offered steroids. So much is available now. I am sure there will be a cure in our lifetimes. Best wishes to you and your family!

    Nancy
  • Rick   Aug 29, 2016 1:42 PM
    Hey Angie! I really got tears in my eyes,you're really an inspiration for us all,a true warrior,my brother has an MS and he is currently being looked by Dr.Aradhya check her website as well www.islandneurocare.com she suggested to take medicines on time and avoid eating unhealthy.Is there anything else that you can suggest?
  • Heather Sizemore   Aug 30, 2016 11:39 AM
    Thank you for sharing your journey. My mother was diagnosed at 22, she is 60 now, but she is depressed, angry, and bitter because of what MS I'd doing to her body. She does the opposite of what she should do, and as her daughter, I just want to protect her.
    I want to thank you again, for sharing your story, and stay strong!
  • Jennifer   Sep 2, 2016 8:23 PM
    I was diagnosed in October of 2015 with RRMS, I was devastated. I got engaged the April before the diagnosis, wedding was called off in May and now my ex fiancé moved out. Lots to deal with but I have decided to move on and look on the bright side of things. Everything happens for a reason and we can choose how we want to react to difficult situations and I chose to live my life to the fullest while I can and embrace my new attitude of taking care of myself first instead is last like I use to. Thank you for sharing your journey.
  • Edie   Dec 27, 2016 10:43 AM
    Your positive attitude will carry you through the ups and downs of MS but don't be discouraged when your best efforts won't get the results you want. MS is unpredictable and, even when you're symptom-free, know that it will come back to remind you that it's still there. I have been in almost-complete remission for 20 years ... but still have days when my coordination is poor or when my memory is abysmal. I let my friends know that I have MS so that they don't misinterpret those off-days or incidents and that has worked well for me in the social situations that can be so uncomfortable if no-one knows. By sharing, I am also able to put away the constant fear and not have to talk about it until and if there is a need -- "It's my MS." suffices.

    Accept help when you need it.

    Even when people love you, no one will fully understand unless they have experienced MS personally. That's a central and compelling reason to attend local MS events. The first meetings I attended were like a gathering of friends -- some much more afflicted with serious MS symptoms and some with invisible symptoms -- but as you talk you will bond and identify with the experiences you hear. Knowing you are not the only one and seeing how others have adapted -- or failed to adapt -- is invaluable.

    Stay close to your Neurologist and don't hesitate to try new meds. I've gone from daily injections (Betaseron) to a tiny little blue pill (Aubagio) that still seems like a miracle. Research is closing in on MS and maybe you'll see a cure in your lifetime.

    Good luck!