I was diagnosed in July of 2015 at the age of 21 with relapsing/remitting MS due to optic neuritis in my right eye. It was devastating; I felt very overwhelmed and had many questions.
Learning to live with MS is an ongoing struggle and it is definitely a process to grieve/accept the diagnosis. I have spent the past 2 years learning my limits mentally and physically. I try very hard to continue living my life as I did before. Some days I have to pick and choose what is most important because I simply don't have the energy to do it all. It has taken me a while, but I feel like have finally come to terms with my situation. Some days are bad, but they help me appreciate the good ones. I try to make the best of everyday because I don't know what the future holds.
I have been relatively symptom free since my first relapse. I have been on medication since shortly after my diagnosis (which has had its ups and downs). I had to try multiple treatment options to find one that worked for me. Most days I power through the fatigue, but there are still days where it beats me. Often people don't believe that anything is wrong because I look fine on the outside. If you know someone who is living with MS: please be patient, we are going through so much that you don’t even know about and it is extremely difficult to try and explain what is going on with our body.
MS affects everyone differently so learning to deal with it is different for everyone. My advice to anyone dealing with a new MS diagnosis:
- Do not Google!
- MS is not a death sentence.
- Find the treatment that works best for you.
- Stay positive.
- Appreciate your support system; they are going through this as well.
- Do whatever makes you proud.
- Be selfish if you need to; take care of yourself.
I have recently started working towards a healthier lifestyle, one that I never would have imagined being able to accomplish even before my diagnosis. I heard from many different sources that diet and exercise can really help and, of course, I would just roll my eyes and dismiss this advice. But after two years of constant exhaustion and feeling sluggish, I decided to give it a go. It has been the one of the best decisions for treating my MS. I have this new found energy and pride with all that I have been able to achieve. I am currently going to the gym 4 times weekly, completing 90-120 minutes cardio outside of the gym and have trained/participated in my first ever marathon relay. This change has also helped immensely with the side effects of my medication, mainly fatigue, bloating, and anxiety.
This is my third time participating in the MS Walk. It has always been such a positive experience and the support that I receive from family and friends is truly wonderful. I am so fortunate to have this amazing group of people walking with me.
Why I’m walking to end MS
Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world. Every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. We don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure.
Your support means Canadian families who are affected by this disease do not have to face MS alone.
When you donate to my fundraising efforts for the MS Walk, your funds are invested into research to find the cause and cure for the disease, while providing services to Canadians with multiple sclerosis and their families.
Please consider joining my team on May 6th at the MS Walk or sponsoring us – any form of support is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for joining the fight to end MS!