Guest post written by New Jersey Mucker, Lyndsay W.
It was my senior year in high school that my life was changed by an unpredictable diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I was experiencing numbness in my legs, a tingling sensation in my feet; all while feeling completely uncomfortable and worried about what was going on within my body. I kept hoping that these symptoms would pass, but unfortunately, they continued to worsen and it was time to face the doctors.
With emotions running wild, my mother and I made an appointment with my regular physician as our starting point. I remember walking into his office worried and confused. As we sat down, I began to explain the symptoms I was experiencing. While he was listening, there was this specific look on his face that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and that is when he threw a curveball at us. “This sounds like it could be Multiple Sclerosis, but we need you to get checked out by a neurologist.” My first thought was, “What in the world is Multiple Sclerosis?” As tears streamed down my mother’s face, I feared the worst but I knew at that point, I needed to stay calm.
Your first instinct is to go online and research, and if I could give one piece of advice, don’t do it! I received a recommendation for a neurology group and made an appointment right away. The day of my visit, I was scared and my nerves were ever so present. I was asked to explain my symptoms, how severe they were, and also to indicate any other changes I was experiencing. Based upon my answers, I was urged to go get multiple tests done as soon as possible.
Script after script, I was going through blood work, MRI’s, a spinal tap, a vision test, all while monitoring the progression of my symptoms. The process took just under a month and it was on my 18th birthday that I had to face the truth. The morning of March 14, I went for the MRI of my brain. Later in the afternoon, I was preparing to have some friends over when the neurologist called and my mom was nowhere to be found. When I ran downstairs, I found her jotting down notes and I knew that the results didn’t look promising. It was 10 days later on March 24, 2008 that my neurologist broke the news to me, “You have Multiple Sclerosis.” It was time to adjust my lifestyle and go into this new chapter in life with positive energy and a determined attitude.
I am here now, a healthy 27-year old woman working full time and making the best of every obstacle that comes my way. I have been lucky enough to share my story with many people and have been a role model to those who have had to face a diagnosis at a young age. Like many people diagnosed with MS, you worry about what people may say, how they may treat you, and overall what they think about you. I was there, but then I realized I need to speak up and share my story. The first time I came out publicly about my diagnosis, the love and support that came from it was amazing. I was even able to help an individual who lives in the same town as me and was diagnosed at a young age as well. It was at that very moment that I knew I had to keep sharing my positive energy and raising awareness for a disease that many people don’t know much about.
Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t mean you have to give up or stop doing what you love. It means you have to keep living life normally and show those around you that nothing can ever stand in your way from succeeding. I am proud to be a part of the National MS Society family and I will continue to challenge myself by participating in Walk MS, MuckFest MS, Climb to the Top MS, and all other fundraising events. I walk, run, climb, and put my best foot forward for myself, my fellow MS friends, and all other individuals who want to make MS a thing of the past. There is nothing more rewarding than looking back at the end of the day and seeing the difference I’ve been able to make in the Society and those who confide in me for my positivity and motivation to make MS a thing of the past.