Picking Up the Pieces
There are many moments in life that leave us feeling defeated, brokenhearted, and at a loss. The moments that leave you struggling and it hurts so much you feel that you can’t imagine going on. I’ve had a handful of these moments happen in my life, and one of those moments is when I realized the life-changing reality that MS could bring.
The harsh reality
When I was first diagnosed I didn’t have a clue what to expect, because honestly, I had never even heard of this disease. All I knew was that it sounded scary, but I was young, naive, and resilient, so I didn’t worry too much in the beginning. Years after the fact, I began truly understanding the negative effects it could have on my body. And those moments left me questioning everything. I would compare it to an unseen, bad break up. You don’t sense it coming and it leaves you wondering what on earth you did to deserve such pain. It hurts in every imaginable way. You feel like a piece of your heart has been ripped out and stomped on, and it leaves you gasping for air. Everything you imagined and had planned for your future is now a big question mark. When I finally grasped the seriousness of this disease I went through all of those emotions. It hurt like heck, and left me bewildered. The reality of it was harsh, much like the distress you go through when you experience your first true heartbreak.
Hindsight is 20/20
Personally, years after my first heartbreak, I see now why it never worked out. Of course, it’s still easy to wonder what life would be like if you were still with that person, but with time comes a sort of peace. I have peace in knowing that things with that person ended, because if they wouldn’t have then I wouldn’t have the life that I do now. I would have stayed in my hometown and never met my husband or all of the amazing people I now know. I would have never had my son. So, in ways I thank my ex-boyfriend for breaking my heart, because if he wouldn’t have then I wouldn’t have my beautiful family and friends that I can’t imagine life without.
Finding peace with my diagnosis
It took over a decade for me to feel that way about MS, but I’ve found peace with my diagnosis too. It still hurts, and I do still wonder what life would be like without it pestering me every day…but again, without MS, life wouldn’t have led me in the direction it has. I have said since the day I was diagnosed that I wouldn’t ever let it hold me back. While it did hold me back in the beginning, it now has helped me bloom. For instance, I always knew I wanted to write someday, but never imagined I would have the opportunity to use my writing as a platform to help others, and to share my story. And, without my writing I wouldn’t have met many people who I call friends today. People that have reached out to me, and who now have become such an amazing network of support and understanding.
A newfound confidence
Before MS, I was extremely shy and not at all outgoing, but after you see countless doctors and tell what feels like a million people your story and your disease, the shyness seems to dissolve. Weirdly enough, I have a newfound confidence thanks to MS. Having MS is what has challenged me to go on my health and fitness journey. It is what has extremely motivated me to workout, not to look my best physically (although that’s a bonus ha!), but to feel my best. I’ve never been very graceful or athletic, so without the threat of new MS symptoms, I doubt I would have ever pushed myself in that manner. Mostly though, MS has opened my heart to see and feel pain for others. I’ve written about this before, but it’s taught me not to judge someone by their outward appearance, because you never know what that person is facing.
Facing life with a smile
MS hurts and it’s ugly, but it has opened my life and my heart to so much. Sometimes I like to imagine MS like a monster. I like to picture it coming into my life when I was 14 with evil laughter, as it reared its head back in glee, knowing that it had once again defeated someone. But, then, I like to picture myself standing tall, letting it know that it can’t defeat me. Silly, I know…but I’m not going to let this disease shatter the life I have planned. If anything, I want to be proof that even when what feels like the worst happens, that you can still face life with a smile. You can still put the pieces of your life back together, and sometimes those pieces you didn’t see coming, make your life greatly excede the life you once pictured.