Does anyone else on Facebook get those daily reminders of things you posted “On This Day” in prior years? I’ve been getting them for some time now, and lately it’s been a heavy feed of reminders of the days leading up to my MS diagnosis 7 years ago. Today was no different. My status posted on 9/29/09 was this:
“Mindy has been having new symptoms creep up and is kind of freaked out about it.”
One of my comments on this post was this – “I don’t know, they didn’t SPECIFICALLY rule out larvae. I’ll have to ask 😉 But in all seriousness, I’m really just praying it’s not MS.” (This was in part a reply to a coworker friend who had been joking that this was all being caused by larvae in my brain. It wasn’t.)
I think on a deep level I knew it was MS before I was given the diagnosis, even though I was praying against it. In fact, I vividly remember sitting at my desk during a lunch break, scouring the internet for explanations to my symptoms. I landed on a page at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website that described the many possible symptoms of MS. They listed common symptoms and less common symptoms. When I saw “itching” described among the uncommon symptoms, tears welled up in my eyes and I had to catch my breath.
From the National MS Society: “Pruritis (itching) is one of the family of abnormal sensations — such as “pins and needles” and burning, stabbing or tearing pains — which may be experienced by people with MS.”
This was exactly what I had been experiencing around that time, in my upper arm, and it was by far the most painful of the symptoms I had been having. It was the word – stabbing – that caught my attention. I hadn’t thought to use that word to describe it, but that was it, that was it exactly. So to see it described that way… well, I guess I just knew. At that moment, I knew.
The rest is history, I guess you could say. I’m not certain of the exact date I was diagnosed, but I’m curious to see if it comes up on my Facebook feed. I know it’s coming soon, the anniversary, but I’m not sure if I posted it publicly at that time. I guess we’ll see.
I think the most interesting thing to me as I reflect on those days is that I remember the absolute dread I felt, and the fear and uncertainty of it all. I knew nothing of MS at that time, and I really believed it would be a death sentence. I thought it guaranteed a miserable life spent home bound and dependent on others for everything. I was so scared… so, so scared.
I was also very wrong; I look at where we are now, and I am so grateful for my life. MS is just one of the many challenges our family has faced, and through prayer and patience we are coming out of each one stronger and stronger. It’s just like that saying, that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. MS can certainly be scary, all unknowns it brings with it, but it doesn’t have to be. No one is promised another day on this earth. No one is promised health and wellness. We must be grateful for what we have today, and really learn to appreciate and embrace each moment. I am learning step by step to do this, and I encourage you to do the same. Carpe diem, folks, carpe diem.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34