“I have learned to be stronger and never be ashamed or afraid to share the way I feel.”
I’m 22 years- old and newly diagnosed with MS. While I suffered from optic neuritis and numbness for over a year, the MRIs weren’t able to specify a diagnosis of MS. After that, I suffered a pretty bad exacerbation that left me unable to walk. The new MRIs and spinal tap came back with more than enough evidence to officially diagnose me with MS, and I am now getting the treatment I need.
I am a second-grade teacher and a personal support worker for children who have autism. I am very involved in the disabled community; I find it to be the most rewarding job on earth. I also coach a baseball team for children with disabilities. I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in occupational therapy. I enjoy music and play a beautiful vintage Barambah baby grand piano and a gorgeous Martin acoustic guitar. I enjoy singing and attending various concerts, especially those of my favorite band, Alter Bridge. I also enjoy working out and reading and I recently took up crocheting as a little late night insomnia kicker!
Given what you know now, what would you recommend to others living with MS?
I wish that I had been more persistent with my testing and diagnosis so that my attack would not have been as severe. In the beginning, I tried to hide my symptoms from my peers and keep it all to myself. Since then, I have learned that I have a pretty amazing support system and I that I never have to suffer alone. I felt that no one would believe me because I looked and seemed perfectly healthy on the outside, but felt so incredibly helpless and painful on the inside. That also caused some pretty heavy depression to set in and tear me down even further.
How has your life changed since learning of your MS diagnosis?
I have learned to be stronger and never be ashamed or afraid to share the way I feel. I have always been very ambitious and outgoing, but now I want to do so much more because I don’t want to believe that I have limitations. I am extremely relieved to finally have answers for the way I was feeling, for my family and myself. For the last few years, I would be so depressed because I could never express myself or get my family or loved ones to understand why I was frustrated and acting out of character. Now with education and the right medical diagnosis, they are incredibly supportive and are right beside me in my journey. My journey is focused on giving myself the quality of life I deserve to have, and not to let this diagnosis become my struggle but rather something I conquer.
The following is a personal story from Kate, a member of MyMSTeam, the social network for those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With her permission, we’ve shared the story she shared with thousands of MS-ers on MyMSTeam.