November 2013. I woke up one morning and my life was changed forever. My vision was blurry in my right eye and my left hand and foot felt tingly. Needless to say, I was a little freaked out.
So what did I do? I waited for a couple days to see if it would go away, which, in hindsight, was not such a safe idea. Going on with my day. Getting my son off to school. Just closing the eye that was blurry. I even dragged my butt to work. What else would a single mom do? Someone’s got to pay the bills.
After a couple days, I finally made it to the doctor’s office. I drove myself. But first I had to get my hair done. (You know, priorities. I waited a long time for that hair appointment.) I went to the VA in Seattle, Washington where I got all of my treatment at the time. That was the one place I felt like I got answers when something was wrong with me. You see, this was not my first mysterious health occurrence. In the past, I’d have weird symptoms, go to my regular doctor, be given some weird medication, and be sent home with no further testing. But this time, I was in the hands of the VA.
My doctor said, “I’m not sure what’s causing you to have these symptoms, but let’s admit you to the ER and run some tests.” I did.
I ended up staying in the hospital for three days through test after test, question after question. The diagnosis was leaning toward multiple sclerosis (MS). “What the heck is MS?” I asked myself, because even though the doctors explained it and asked if i had any questions, they’d lost me at “MS.” Multiple sclerosis. Time to get on the Internet and do some research.
Oh, my. Everything I read was pretty scary at first. I cried. I tried to laugh, being the easy-going, funny gal I tend to be. My joke was, “Don’t worry. I’m just MSing with you.” Ha ha!
So yes, the first year was pretty hard to navigate through. Being single, I was thinking, “Who is gonna want to date me knowing I have MS?” “Will I be able to be active with my children as I always have been?” “What’s next for me?” and, “Who do I turn to?”
Nobody understands this disease all the way, and as far as I have read, it seems everyone with MS has different kinds of symptoms. I would read stuff online – read other people’s stories. They seemed so full of gloom that I decided that wasn’t gonna be my story.
I can still run, jump, ride bikes and play with my son. Just by looking at me now, one wouldn’t even know my inner struggles or that MS is living in me. Yeah, I decided MS is dealing with me; I’m not dealing with it.
I came up with the hashtag #NobaddayZ and designed a t-shirt for myself and family members that says M-ega S-exy with the “M” and “S” in orange. Every day, I get up and tell myself #NobaddayZ, ‘because it can always be worse. I see how others suffer and I’m not even close.
I have come to realize there is so much power in just having a positive attitude and living life to the fullest. I’m not super strict on food, but know that food can be poison or medicine. I seek positive experiences of positive people. Jack Osborne’s story and how he lives with MS has really been inspiring.
I hope my story helps or inspires someone to have #NobaddayZ. There are things that could be so much worse than having MS, like just being a bad person. I prefer MS over that. I’m the mother with MS working full-time, trying to do beautiful things with beautiful people. My platform is Dames for Dreams, an organization that is all about empowering each other, no matter what disabilities, size, shape, color, or economic background you belong to.