Today is the first day in MS Awareness Month.
When I woke this morning, I had no idea that it was MS Awareness month. I put on an audiobook to listen to in the background and chose to listen to the audiobook of my memoir Little Yellow Magnet. I listen to it from time to time when I need to remind myself of how much I’ve accomplished and how much I’ve been through. I listen to the audiobook when I need a reminder of how strong I am and everything I’ve overcome.
Midway through the day, I saw a Facebook post about it being the first day in MS Awareness Month and I thought that life is funny like that, sometimes. That gave me a new lens to listen to my memoir with. Would anything have been different? Would I have done anything differently?
Before I was struck with MS, my twin brother had been diagnosed with the disease. I didn’t look up anything or read anything because as far as I was concerned, his diagnosis didn’t have anything to do with me. After my diagnosis, I was so afraid of what had happened to my world and even more, what I had become. At the time, it didn’t even occur to me to reach out to my brother for help a voice of reason. He had been living with his MS for over a year by the point when mine made itself known. I wish that I had reached out to him to find out what it was like for him.
However, the journey I’ve been on with Multiple Sclerosis has been my own. Every step had felt like I’ve been climbing a flat mountain. My feet are flat on the ground and yet at the same time, I’m standing tall on the peak of a mountain, high up in the air, and I can feel the wind caressing my face. I can look back at everything I’ve done and all that I’ve accomplished. It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived with this disease for seven years. I can’t believe that it’s been that long and yet when I listen to the audiobook, read by the talented Tony Armistead, I know that it’s true.
I remember the first time that I became aware of my Multiple Sclerosis. I knew something was wrong when I started to fall with no reason. I fell all over the place, more than usual. I fell at work once getting Christmas decorations for my cubicle. I fell at home, with no reason and no warning. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. I knew that it was more than my Cerebral Palsy. It has its own challenges but falling at random was not normal for me.
I think when I really became totally aware of my MS was after my official diagnosis. I knew at that point that I would have to acknowledge it, that I would have to get to know it intimately and that I would have to come to peace with it. That last part took me a long time to do and there are some days where I’m still fighting against my MS and my CP. However, I’m aware of it. I couldn’t not be.
Throughout the journey that I’ve been on, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of. In the end, I still come to the same conclusion. I’m grateful for what the MS gave me. It was only after I became aware of it and chose to try and live a better life that I really and truly started living. I think back on my life before MS and I know that I was a completely different person that I am now. I’m immensely proud of the person I was and the person I became. I’m even more proud of the person that I’m becoming.
You can get your copy of Little Yellow Magnet in ebook, paperback and audiobook here: