Hi, my name is Calie and I am a 25 year old wife and momma to an extremely rambunctious little boy!
I was diagnosed with Relapse-Remitting MS when I was 14 years old. After coming to terms with the diagnosis at such a young age, I was completely overcome with shame, guilt, and fear. To be honest, I was terrified. I couldn't believe that my body had betrayed me like that and that I had a disease. An incurable one at that. I was so young and had no idea how this would affect my future. So many thoughts went through my head--everything from, "what will my friends think" to "I feel like a freak". I was so scared that people would look at me differently or think I was strange. And I most certainly didn't want anyone feeling sorry for me!
For years I have struggled with feeling like I don't have control over my body. MS is a silent disease and it affects everyone who has it differently. For me, I have always had issues with tremors, heaviness weakness, and extreme fatigue. It is a difficult disease, because so many of us do look fine on the outside, and it's so hard to explain to others that, even though we may look healthy, we deal with a lot of different symptoms that can't necessarily be seen. I am now 25, and it has taken me 11 years to truly be comfortable telling people that I have MS. After my diagnosis I went through serious depression, and I struggled with anxiety. I felt betrayed by my body and because of that I struggled for a LONG time. I no longer respected my body and felt unworthy and unloveable. Who would love someone like me with so many issues?! I disrespected my body by drinking, smoking and just not caring if I took care of myself or not.
After getting married to a wonderful man who loves me through it all (because, let's be honest IT IS NOT EASY loving someone like me) and having a baby it has made me see my body in a whole new light. My body has a much bigger purpose than I could have ever imagined. Yes, it's been through a lot and for a while that caused me not to respect it, or love myself....but now I respect it in a new way because I see all its been through and all it can do! Motherhood, especially has changed me. I want to make my body the best it can be now not just for myself, but for the little one I have looking up to me. I want to portray strength and show him that just because I may have to limit myself sometimes, I am no different then anyone else and should not be treated differently. I strive to be a healthy, strong woman for my husband and my sweet baby boy daily. God gave me this body for a reason! I am blessed with family and friends who show me love and encourage me through the good times and the bad. It has taken me 11 years, but now I can share my story and say with all honesty that I AM PROUD of this body and who I am! MS may have been an unpleasant surprise, but it truly has helped shape me into who I am today, and if one person can benefit from my story, then that makes it all worthwhile!
Click here to read all of Calie's articles on MultipleSclerosis.net.