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My Epiphany: What I Realized Going From RRMS to SPMS

As life keeps going, there will be plenty of ‘ah-ha!’ or ‘lightbulb’ moments. Or the sudden realization of something you missed from a past event that you now see coming to fruition. I’m referring to epiphanies. I’ve certainly experienced them.

Yet it was a recent recollection of what I was told when I transitioned into secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) that brought about one of my epiphanies. I realized I’ve actually seen what I was told would come to pass. Oh my goodness...

So that's why my body is reacting strangely

Now first, an honorable mention goes to this particular epiphany example. As an adolescent, I remember my parents talking about things with me that were for my own benefit that may have prompted a (very discreet) eye roll at the time. Then I got older and eventually had children of my own. The epiphany? I actually saw it come to pass that when I opened my mouth to have some of those same eye-rolling discussions with my adolescent children, my parents came out! Oh my goodness.

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But my biggest epiphany example came with a monumental life changer. I was diagnosed with relapse remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). And my first of MS epiphanies came upon my MS diagnosis. ‘Ah-ha’!.. so that’s why my body reacted strangely to heat, that’s why my legs felt like 500 pounds each, that’s why I was spent after simply getting dressed in the morning, etc. Well, maybe they weren’t quite epiphanies, but rather the ‘why’ I needed as to what was going on with me.

Realizing I can't do what I used to do

I remember when I was told about ten or so years after my RRMS diagnosis that I’d transitioned to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). I recalled the MS specialist saying, “you will find you won’t have exacerbations as you did with RRMS. At this stage, the MS will slowly progress.” And he went on with this attention grabber: “you look up one day and notice something you were able to do, you just can’t anymore and you’ll think ‘when did that happen?'”

And that night, I had an epiphany and realized that was absolutely true. ‘Out of nowhere,’ my muscles have been steadily weakening more and more. The function of my hands is seriously depleted, my arms are contracted, my range of motion is incredibly limited, and my knees are now so hyperextended I can’t stand straight. Oh my goodness. (With SPMS, there can be a steady decline in what you can do over time, though how rapidly this happens can differ from person to person).1

Reflecting on my life with MS

It’s certainly been a journey, this life with MS. That is not a complimentary statement, just a ‘this is what it is’ thought. Good things have happened; great things have happened, and there have been joyous times in my life. I include that to note that while MS has not been kind, my life has not been bad. And I am grateful for that.

So with that said, I’m not complaining. I’m just reflecting about my epiphany as it relates to the realization that what the specialist told me has actually come (and more may follow) to pass. Oh my goodness...

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