In 2012, when I woke on December 31st, my life as I knew it changed forever. I remember the evening of the 30th well. It’s been haunting me all day.
On December 30th, 2012, I came home from work and made dinner. I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls. I read a little and wrote a lot. I was working on The Other Side of Oz and had reached a crucial plot point.
I had some chocolate and then read until bedtime. It was a normal evening, except for one thing. Every time I went to have a cigarette, my hand would go numb. I would lose all feeling in my digits and I would drop the cigarette. My left arm had been sore all day-it was so bad that I had taken some robaxoset. I never took anything stronger than ibuprofen.
My whole left arm ached. It throbbed like a tooth and nothing I did eased the pain. I switched to the other hand, but dropped it too. Eventually I stopped smoking all together that evening.
I made a tea and took my book to bed. I read until I was tired and went to sleep. When I woke, the world I had known was gone.
I remember waking, stumbling into the kitchen. I could barely pour myself a coffee.
I took a few sips. I always had coffee before I did anything. I remember sitting for a bit, hoping the dizziness would go away. Then something rebelled in my stomach. I ran to the kitchen sink and was violently ill. I called in sick to work and went back to bed. I thought if I slept for a few more hours, I would be okay.
When I woke again, it was worse. I could barely sit up, the whole room spun around me. I knew something was wrong.
It took eight months. Hundreds of days, thousands of hours, not knowing. It was misdiagnosed as Labryntitius but, as it continued, I knew it was something different. From January until April, it didn’t have a name. Then it did.
After more testing, more appointments, more uncertainty and another four months of waiting, I knew what kind of Multiple Sclerosis I had. I knew what I would have to fight. Now I could begin again.
It’s been a year of tension and angst, depression and heartache. It’s been a year of uncertainty, regret and remorse. Tonight I am letting all of that go.
I had to learn to do everything again and I did. I had to learn to walk again, speak again, write again, eat again. I had to relearn how to do everything I used to know how to do. It has been a long journey and an uphill climb. It has been a struggle, but I learnt a lot about myself along the way.
I found out what I am truly capable of, what challenges I can overcome. I learned that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, no matter how big the goal, even if it’s taking that next step.
Tonight marks one year when my life changed and I got to know myself again. And you know what? I really like the person I’ve become.
He’s pretty freaking awesome.