There's a popular book that became a 2022 film. It's called, Where The Crawdads Sing. I have not yet seen the movie, but the book was incredible. It's about a girl named Kya who was abandoned as a child. She was forced to raise herself in the marshlands of North Carolina.1
I won't post any spoilers, but it's a beautiful tale of a young girl who lost everything yet persevered and made something of herself. She had the world against her, yet she never quit. Kya's character truly inspired me. Her grit and determination to survive harsh conditions as a young girl all alone. That takes guts, and I know that characters like Kya are exactly who I relate to most.
Coping with a young MS diagnosis
As someone who was diagnosed with MS at 14, I feel like I can relate to Kya in some ways. While I am fortunate to have a loving and supportive family, such a young diagnosis made me grow up faster than most. It stung, and the hurt lingered for years afterward. Even to this day, I still feel the sting at times.
With wounds like this, you can either let them fester until they become deeply infected, or you can deal with them and see them as your battle scars. I like to think of mine as a battle scar in life, one that still hurts deep but continues to heal as time goes on. MS will forever be a part of my story. A huge and significant mark on my life's timeline.
My journey of resilience
It has been harsh and scary. Yet it has also shown me my grit and determination. It has shown me that I have the guts to do whatever I set my mind to. It's not always smooth or easy, but if I set my mind to it, you can believe I will find a way. My story has many parts, some smooth and some rough. Each day is something new.
However, when I open my eyes daily, I pray to help or encourage someone with my story. I pray to be compassionate and empathetic and to always be kind. I often wish I could go back to my teenage self and tell her she would be ok, but it was getting through the shock of diagnosis and facing it head-on that made the difference. It made me the woman I am today, and for that, I am grateful.
The survivor in me
A quote in the book really stuck out to me. It says, "Some parts of us will always be what we were, what we had to be to survive–way back yonder."1
Some parts of me will always be that terrified 14-year-old girl who had no idea my world had just been turned upside down. Parts of me will always be the girl who struggled with the mere thought of my diagnosis for years. A part of me will always be what I was and what I had to be to survive.
MS at an early age was not a death sentence, but it sometimes felt like it as a teenager. I had no idea what the future held and still don't. MS has taught me that I'm a survivor, though. It has taught me that I will get stuck, just like in the mud of the marshlands. But, the mud doesn't have to engulf us.
Even through the mud
Another quote from the book I loved the most says, "Some things and people don't stick and it's hard to understand why. But as long as we stick together through the mud, we will be alright."1
I like to think of this community and my family and friends as the people I can stick with through the mud. I sincerely hope you feel this community or your friends and loved ones can also be that for you. We all have days where we get stuck, the mud feeling too thick to get through. Yet, as with anything in life, if we can make light of a bad situation and stick with our people, we can get through the thickest, nastiest mud together. We may laugh, cry, scream and holler along the way. Still, when you have the support you need, the mud seems more of an obstacle than a roadblock.
To my community
Thank you, MultipleSclerosis.net, and the wonderful community you are. Thank you to my readers. Thank you for helping me grow as a person throughout my diagnosis and for your wisdom and kind words. Thank you for helping me get through the mud. Your love and support have lifted me up and humbled me. I sincerely hope you know I'm here to stick with you, mud and all. You've got a forever friend and supporter in me.
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