I was diagnosed when I was 19 years old. I’m 25 now. I was athletic in high school. I played football, ran track and was a power lifting champion. I thought that I had a pinched nerve, as I’d had several throughout high school. I went to the hospital and they ordered an MRI. The doctor told me to sit down, that she had some bad news. She saw signs of multiple sclerosis. She referred me to a neurologist. My MS diagnosis was ultimately confirmed.
I was completely lost. I was in a wheelchair within a year of my diagnosis. Thankfully, I found a disease-modifying therapy that enables me to manage my MS. I no longer need the wheelchair. Insurance has been a challenge. I have been switched back and forth between Medicare and Medicaid. My dad is a veteran, so I am now a dependent on his DAV policy. I went three months without my medication due to the insurance confusion and changes. I am fearful of this happening again.
Due to my disability and inability to work, I live with my dad. I had to learn how to walk again to gain freedom from the wheelchair. It’s a lot harder to learn as an adult! My dad would hold out his arms and help me. It was a long journey, but I’m walking today!
I don’t think the world is as familiar with MS like they are other diseases. You just don’t hear about it often. If we could spread awareness and understanding people wouldn’t be as shocked and scared when they receive a diagnosis. MS isn’t the end of your life. Also, I like to tell people that MS is like a snowflake . . . everyone is different.