It was 2019. My life was about to be turned upside down and I had no idea. I should’ve noticed the signs: miscarriage, anxiety, depression. I had just got married to the love of my life. I was getting ready to celebrate my 35th birthday. I thought I was healthy.
It was freezing in New York so we decided to go somewhere even colder: Vail, Colorado. A beautiful place with high altitude that I didn’t mind at first. A few days in, we went snowmobiling. It was fun, but my anxiety skyrocketed. The night we got home from the trip, my forehead started burning. I thought I was coming down with a cold, so I went to bed after taking Nyquil. The next day, I woke up and couldn’t hear anything out of my left ear. I thought it might be side effects from the high altitude and flight.
My annual doctor’s visit was due, however she didn’t find anything strange. The ear specialist she recommended didn’t have answers either. Leaving the office, I asked if I could get an MRI because my dad passed away a few years before from brain cancer. Next thing I know, the doctor calls and tells me on the phone that my MRI results came back and I should see a neurologist because it’s most likely MS. I was like what? Multiple Sclerosis? Can you spell that for me so I can write it down?
I grew up in a small village in Transylvania, Romania. Moved to New York by myself when I was 21. I didn’t speak a word of English and I never heard about “Multiple Sclerosis” in my life. You can imagine what happened when I googled it. My life (I thought at that time) collapsed. The only good thing I kept telling myself was that MS is better than cancer. I will die sooner but at least I’ll live for a while.
It felt like forever while I was trying to get an appointment with any neurologist. When I finally saw the doctor, she confirmed that I did have MS. The other 2 doctors also confirmed the diagnosis. I didn’t realize that doctors don’t like it when patients go for second opinions, but I just couldn’t believe it. The good news was that my spine MRI came back and there were no lesions. By that time, I listened to the Wahls protocol which opened up my eyes about how unhealthy my lifestyle was over the previous few years
The strangest thing was that I felt fine. My hearing came back after the steroid treatment and the numbness was almost completely gone. I went to see a therapist which helped with my anxiety. I started taking Vitamin D to increase my level, which was 23 at the time of my diagnosis. I didn’t know how important Vitamin D was. Now that I look back, it seems like I didn’t know a lot of things.
The first neurologist told me that if I don’t get on medication right away, I might end up in a wheelchair in a few months. We wanted to start a family and I needed some time to learn about this disease. So I spent the next few weeks listening and reading most books published on autoimmune diseases and as a result, I changed my diet completely. 10 months later my son was born and 20 months later we welcomed our daughter.
MS taught me so much: the importance of family, to appreciate every day and every moment. It also taught me to take care of myself and listen to my body. To put myself first. If I want to take care of others, I need to take care of myself. When I left the hospital after my MRI, I saw a sign on the street that said “beating cancer.” I took it as a sign and I promised myself that I would beat MS.
That day I created a new anonymous instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/beatingmyms/) to share my story. I decided to create that page to make myself accountable and to remind myself that I needed to stick to this plan. Some of my friends still don’t know that I have MS. They don’t know what I’m struggling with and I know they will never understand. If you just met me, you wouldn’t believe that I have MS. Sometimes…I still don’t believe it. As weird as it sounds, I’m thankful that I was diagnosed “early” because I feel like I got a second chance and hopefully the things I do every day will slow down the progression.
I’m a stay-at-home mom and work-from-home graphic and web designer these days. I recently launched www.myMSpear.com, a holistic health & wellness community for people with multiple sclerosis. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know that MS would give me a purpose and change my life for the better. Yes, it’s an awful disease but it taught me so much. I have learned so much and I would like to share this knowledge with anyone who wants to live a better life with MS. This is why I’m sharing my story here and on instagram (@beatingmyms). It’s important to raise awareness.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.