For more years than I could count I began experiencing episodes of severe weakness and flu symptoms that I could not explain and just thought I was a hypochondriac. In 2005 I developed optic neuritis and received a firm diagnosis 6 months later. I was working in a career that I loved as a licensed professional counselor but once I was diagnosed my symptoms increased rapidly and finally retired in 2009 because the fatigue, cognitive changes and urinary problems made me unable to do the quality of therapy I wanted to do.
When I was first diagnosed I had no idea what this illness was and no one to talk to so that is why I wanted to volunteer to help people who were newly diagnosed as I know how much it would have helped me. I would want people to know that all their emotions are normal and would want to help them navigate and be reassured that there is hope even on bad days.
Personally I have been married for 43 years, have an adult daughter and 2 precious pound puppies who love me no matter how I walk.
My biggest challenges remain my loss of independence. I am able to walk in the house but my unsteady gait requires me to use a scooter on walks or in stores. I miss being able to play tennis and ride my bike at breakneck speed and those things still make me wistful. I feel guilty that I can not do more to help my husband but try to remember that this is an illness.