I was diagnosed with MS on my birthday, July 11, 2000. I celebrated finally being able to name the thing that had been going wrong in my body for years. It sounds strange to say, but I felt happy, a huge relief. Finally! something to research. I had a name.
For over a decade, my symptoms were mild. I got to choose whether or not I told people i have MS. Most couldn't tell. I started thinking of it as a benign inconvenience, something I could work with and work around. I lost 90 lbs and became a gym rat to head off the possibility of a wheelchair. I met the love of my life. I found a fulfilling line of work. Live was good.
But we can't run forever.
Spactisity got me first. I started having balance and endurance trouble. I quit the gym. I started using a cane. I got a wheelchair for distance. I started avoiding crowds. 30 lbs crept back on my frame. My taste buds changed. Eating became a chore. My friendships suffered because I am unable to do the social things I used to.
I couldn't know what I didn't know 16 years ago. No one can until we're in this place.
Who would I be without MS? I can't answer that. MS has been my companion a very long time. I've almost forgotten what it's like to have a body that responds on command.
The real question is who am I now?
My husband must see something I do not because he married me only 8 months ago with my MS clear and advancing. Through his eyes, I am tentatively beginning to answer the question of identity. His constitency helps me find my footing in this ever changing world.
So, who am I now?
(to be continued)