I was diagnosed with Relapsing /Remitting MS in April 1993. At the time I was 32 years old, had been married for 13 years, and our children were 8 and 10. I had some minor and random symptoms about 10 years before that, but 1993 is when things got serious and I went to the doctors looking for answers. One evening I noticed a bit of numbness in my rib area, and within a few weeks almost my entire body was severely numb and in pain, with an acute hypersensitivity. I also had extreme fatigue and difficulty walking. Thankfully I had a proactive doctor that sent me to a neurologist who diagnosed me very quickly.
I was put on a high dose of Prednisone to stop the attack, and over the next 2 years I gradually improved to the point of being almost symptom free. I remained that way for many years, and was able to live a full and vibrant life, and to enjoy raising our children, with a new appreciation for the health and strength I had.
About 15 years after being diagnosed, around 2008, the Relapsing / Remitting MS turned to Secondary Progressive MS. At that point, both of our children were married and we had 1 grandchild. Things gradually began to get worse, with symptoms like fatigue, difficulty walking, severe spasticity and also some pain.
It is now 2019, I am 58 years old, and I am a full-time wheelchair user. I no longer drive, and most of my time is spent at home. There are lots of questions about what the future will look like. Through it all, I am so thankful for a husband that is very helpful, supportive, and kind.
SOME GOOD ADVICE
One very valuable piece of advice I was given along the way was that using a cane / walker / wheelchair is not giving in to the disease, but on the contrary it is fighting back and not letting the disease stop you. I remember the day when I decided that my cane was not my enemy, but my friend, because it helped me. Accepting that has made it easier for me to progress from using a cane to a walker to a scooter to a wheelchair. These aids are really our friends because they help us to live a better life.
HOW DO I COPE?
When people ask me how I am doing, I sometimes reply that the most important part of me is doing great. I believe that the most important part of me is not my physical body, but rather the real me that lives inside... the spirit, mind, will, emotions, etc.
I have a deep faith in God and a relationship with Him based on Jesus Christ and the Bible. That is what gives me hope and peace and that is what holds me together when life seems to be falling apart.
I chose the username "GodGivesMePeace" because that really is a fitting description of my life with MS. Along the journey there have been many difficult times, but through it all God has given me an incredible peace. I know that He loves me and He will be there for me no matter what the future holds. Of course there are times when I get anxious, but when I place my focus and trust back onto God, He restores my hope and gives me peace and joy once again.
This is the first time I have reached out to be part of an MS support group. I am excited for the opportunity to interact with people who understand each other's lives and the challenges of living with MS. My goal is not only to receive support for myself, but also to extend encouragement and hope to others in this group.
There is a verse in the Bible that I would like to share with my MS community..."May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him." (Romans 15:13)