Power story……. Just those words make me wanna run and hide. I imagine a power story to be about a major struggle, and an ultimate victory. I don’t feel like I have had either. However, as I sit here reading other power stories, I realize that every struggle and every victory, big or little, matters. So maybe, just maybe, my story will help or inspire someone else out there.
The last year has been one of the hardest years of my life. I have always been a go, go, go kinda girl. Working 2 jobs, hanging out with friends, traveling and being everyone’s “support beam” (to quote what a great friend once said about me). All at once my life changed, in a big way.
I was first hospitalized in May of 2010 (on my 30th birthday, no less). About 6 days before that I had started experiencing perineal numbness and then 2 days later numbness and tingling started in my feet and eventually (in about 4 days) moved all the way up my legs. Three doctors’ visits later, I ended up in the ER. 1 week, 3 MRIs, 31 vials of blood, and 1 (very painful) lumbar puncture later, I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis and told it would take several months to straighten out and would likely never happen again.
Well, I never could do things the easy way. Four months later (to the day) I ended up back in the ER. Symptoms came back and a new one appeared, numbness and tingling in my left arm. More blood work and 2 more MRIs later, it was confirmed, my mother’s worst fear, Multiple Sclerosis. Sept. 9, 2010, I’ll never forget that day. I cannot begin to describe the fear and absolute sadness that went through me. However, I did not have time to dwell. I had too many other wonderful people in my life that needed my comfort and reassurance, even though, to be honest, I had NO IDEA what I was facing. I started going to counseling shortly after my diagnosis. And there I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder – great, one more thing to deal with……
I have had to slow down, BIG TIME. It has been so hard to relearn my limitations, cause let’s face it, I have a whole set of new ones. It is frustrating to get tired after 10 mins of walking through the store. I HATE that I have to walk with a cane. I really hate the days that, no matter how much sleep I get, I am exhausted. I have to tell you though, I have learned some very important things in this past year.
I have learned that I am not super woman (never was, altough I hate to admit it). I have learned that my disease DOES NOT define who I am. I have learned that I have so much more love and support than even I imagined (and believe me when I say, I have a pretty big imagination, and thought I knew how much I was loved). I have learned that when it comes to my treatment and my health I HAVE TO SPEAK UP. And I think, most importantly, I have learned that we all have bad days, and that’s ok. I am not less of person (even though I am a meaner, grumpier person) because of my bad days.
I am doing ok. I have had 2 relapses since my diagnosis and everyday I am getting better at dealing with this life altering illness. I truly believe that God is walking with me every step of the way and that there are lessons to be learned from this, not only for me, but for others around me.
My name is Jaclyn and I am living with MS, and my disease DOES NOT DEFINE ME!!
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.