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Female, Black, former teacher looking for life’s Meaning

I always fit in a category of ‘minority’; now it’s that I have PPMS; one of the 15% of those with MS. Finding information and support took awhile after my diagnoses in 2010. Now on disability, I often find myself succumbing to depression. I have all the coping skills, daily tasks to give my life some meaning, but anger over what I can’t do keeps surfacing.
So I pray, meditate, listen to Gospel music, write, read novels that immerse me into another’s life, and reach out to others on MS websites. I also go to support groups in different cities when I can get a ride.
I don’t believe I ever got mad and cried out, “Why me?”. Instead I fought the symptoms fatigue with supplements B12, D3, Ashwaganda and Rhodiola; pain with Tumeric and Boswellia. I bought a vibration/ oscillation machine for daily exercise along with stretches and use of my stationary bike. I began juicing for those helpful phyto-nutrients in fresh kale, spinach, and other greens and fruit. I became Gluten free for my brain health and began using brain games and crossword puzzles.
I found out I did suffer through the loss of my career and abilities through therapy.I didn’t realize I was grieving over lack of human contact and loss of productiveness. I was a teacher and suddenly I had to give it up. Fatigue, loss of mobility, loss of balance, cognitive problems and memory mishaps made me leave. Now my spasticity has brought on pain like I’ve never known before. But I still have days of uncertainty. So no matter if you do everything you can to control this illness, you can’t. I’m progressively getting worse and there is nothing humanly possible I can do. I believe in God and every day try to convince myself to “Let Go, Let God” but it is hard.
Reaching out to others is as important as everything else I have done, so I will continue to communicate on websites and at support group meetings. Reading how others deal with the MonSter has also been a great help. I keep finding resources as others share their stories and daily tips. The resources I have found of late have helped and should continue to, so I just have to take it one day at a time.

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Comments

  • CJM21
    5 years ago

    Hey Constance,
    My name is Chris,I was diagnosed with MS in 2004 and I’m sure I had it for years before that. I was a aircraft engine mechanic, retrained in a shipyard, when that closed I retrained on trucks. My last retraining was on trains in South Jersey. I have been in the house for a few years looking at the world through windows. My wife goes to work and I start my work. The dishes, laundry, vacuuming, cut the lawn on a riding mower and still change the oil in the cars. The difference is the time it takes to accomplish everything. What took me a hour may take a day or two. That’s the way it is. I take 2mg of Tizanidine for my spasms. It takes about ten to fifteen minutes, but it does a good job relieving the pain. I also take 100mg of Modafinil for fatigue. It is designed for night shift workers, which I was, to combat fatigue. I do drink, I was gluten free and I have all the symptoms you have. The walls in my house are my friends and keep me from falling down when I lose my balance. I used to go through depression and anger through out everyday. I was on Copaxone and it was worse. I came to terms that there is no cure. The only conclusion I came up with for my MS, is that everyone suffers and this is mine. I’ve been searching for an answer since I was diagnosed. Everyone suffered, suffers and will suffer and this is ours. Happiness doesn’t exist without suffering and you never ever LET GO and LET GOD. I’m not religious, more spiritual. Teach!!! There’s a reason we are where we’re at, that is LET GOD. YOU!!! Every single day you change peoples lives and in turn they change others. I didn’t realize that until I was diagnosed. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and my world started opening up. You can and will change peoples lives like no else can because of what you are going through. Teach, teach, teach!!!
    I have a 70lb. heavy bag hanging in the garage. I punch it or beat the hell out of it with a baseball bat. Aluminum doesn’t break. Some may call it anger but it’s just a heavy bag. Get yourself a 40lb or 70lb heavy bag and you’ll learn to leave your anger in the garage. Months later the heavy bag will still be hanging but you won’t remember where you put the bat.
    Hundred miles an hour.

  • chalknpens
    5 years ago

    I am so sorry to hear of another teacher who had to leave our career because of MS. In my thirtieth year as a teacher, after a brother and sister’s death from cancers and four years after I heard the diagnosis of RRMS I too had to leave the classrooms. Memory issues, decision making and word retrieval were all becoming more prevalent in my days. I was denied disability because I have a teacher’s partial pension – I needed two more years to reach a full pension but it just wasn’t meant to be. When I retired, I discontinued the nightly injections that I believed were wrong from the start (and which added to my anxiety, depression and fatigue) and began to feel better (whether from being able to let go of all the responsibilities teachers carry, or from discontinuing a bad medication will never be known, and doesn’t matter now.)

    I wish you well, Constance. I am sure the children will miss you.

  • Lexine Darden
    5 years ago

    Constance, thank you for sharing your experience. Like you sharing with groups for instane of FB helps me to encourage and recieve encouragement from others. I have poor mobility and trying to excercise, eat organic and take supplements and meditate on healing both emotionally and physically, to thwart further progression. Continue your healthful ways. I beleive they are of great benefit. Take care fellow MS Warrior.

  • Dawn
    5 years ago

    Hello Constance,
    Your story is just what I needed to hear, thank you. I like you had to stop my career as Call Center Manager. For me I stopped working and 4 yrs later my legs were so spastic that I wanted to make sure I didn’t cause an accident. Thank you for you story.

    Dawn

  • Laura Kolaczkowski
    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story and perspective. The ‘minority’ voice needs to be heard more and I am so happy that studying PPMS has been prioritized by MS research communities around the world. I can’t imagine what extreme spasticity must feel like – just the leg cramps I get with my MS are enough to leave me wracked with pain. I trust you have talked to your doctor about the spasticity and tried some of the options for the pain… you don’t have to just tough it out. thanks again for sharing, Laura

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