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A Begrudging Happy MS Anniversary

I remember sitting in my office at the school when my supervisor walked in and asked how I was doing. “I think I’m dying,” I said. “Oh girl, you’re doing fine” she responded, as she proceeded to list all of the things I was doing well. “No” I insisted, “my whole left side is numb, I think I’m dying.” That was the last time I saw the office of that particular school.

That was a year ago today. I went from working a 12 hour day one day, to being unable to work for almost a year due to lingering and debilitating symptoms of a newly diagnosed chronic illness.

2017 has been a very dark and evolving year. There were days I’d wake up feeling as if someone poured wet cement on my entire body as I slept and topped it off with a pregnant elephant as I tried to get up. I was bedridden for days at a time. When I was able to get up, my legs didn’t seem to work right, my arms were too weak to even hold up a remote and/or a thousand hot invisible needles were simultaneously pricking my entire body.

Moving forward was difficult and emotional. Even when things started to get better, I could no longer drive (and play chauffeur to my very active kids) even a short distance because for some reason driving caused spasms and painful numbness all over. Cleaning a half bathroom left me incapacitated for two days afterwards, and folding a load of towels put me into a 5 hour coma-like sleep. I had difficulty walking but refused to acknowledge it and spent a lot of time hugging walls as I maneuvered through the house. As a result, I didn’t leave the house much, if at all and when I did, I needed someone else to drive me.

My independence and pride/ego were shattered.

Indeed, a lot has happened and changed over the course of this year. While things are gradually getting better and I’ve returned to work part time, I am still in search of my new normal. My mind, my dreams and aspirations, my intentions for the future are as strong as they ever were. It’s been a challenge accepting the fact that I am now in an unequally yoked relationship with my own body. Who am I kidding? I haven’t really accepted it. I’m still trying to negotiate with it.

But a year later, I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made. I’m grateful for the support system that helped me carry this load and refused to let me stay discouraged. And I’m grateful that the spirit of resilience is my constant companion, guiding light and dearest friend.

A begrudging “happy” anniversary multiple sclerosis. There’s a blessing in every lesson.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Julie
    2 years ago

    I was diagnosed 17 years ago. I hardly think about that day anymore. Sometimes you see your life as back to normal then you wonder what normal is. Let’s call it your new normal. Things may not go back to how they were but you discover that your life is good again. You can find so many people with MS that are online. They are warm, funny and supportive and you decide that you are ok with your new normal. It is what you make it. Keep leaning on others for support and you will be grateful there are those that understand how you feel, how it is so easy to share and how it makes you feel so much better about your journey with MS. Welcome to the party!

  • lhalvor
    2 years ago

    41 years in September. I’m impressed with your story. Realize there is a wealth of information to help you in this altered journey of your life.

  • joannmaxwell
    2 years ago

    My five year is coming up soon. (Jan. 4) It will be begrudging for sure!! I am very glad you are seeing some improvement.

  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Carlita!

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to really commemorate such a somber anniversary! I am sorry MS has taken such a toll on your energy and independence. Please know you are not alone in this! So many members of this community can empathize with what you have shared; from the driving issues, to the mind numbing fatigue, to the frustration at feeling like a stranger in your own body.

    I am glad things are gradually improving and I hope that continues to be the case over the coming months. And I hope you find a new normal that may be different, but fulfilling in its own way.

    Thank you so much for sharing with the community. We’re glad to have you here.

    Best, Erin, Team Member.

  • Kelly McNamara moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Carlita!

    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly! I know a MS-iversary isn’t something to necessarily celebrate but it is an annual holiday or reminder of some sorts for everyone in the community. And, everything you’ve written here will really resonate with the community! Thanks again!

    – Kelly, Team Member

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