My MS Story

As I sat in the doctor's office, a thought crossed my mind,"Happy Birthday to me." I was 23 that day, young working in downtown Chicago. I didn't have big plans, just a to-do list.
"Well, Miss Rhodes, we've ruled out everything and it is Multiple Sclerosis." He suggested I read some book that would familiarize me with the disease and its impact on some people. I never read it. I can't even remember the title. On three separate occasions he suggested I read it. I would dutifully take a copy of the book cover and shove it in my bag. I didn't want to read about how bad it might get, what if it never got that bad??
My 23rd birthday. I just went home to celebrate like normal. Oh, I forgot to mention that he told me I should probably consider not having kids. Not that I couldn't, but that I shouldn't. Well two months later I found myself pregnant, unmarried, and with MS. Was that such a big deal? In the fall, I married my best friend, not the sperm donor. I felt great, things were fine. I still had my great job, now a husband and a gorgeous son. Fast forward nine years.
"Mom, we're moving to Texas." Now 4 kids and still no symptoms to deal with on a daily basis, just occasional things.
A month before we moved, my left foot was dropping and dragging. We moved, I found a new neurologist, and he put me on MS drug therapy (I had never even heard about MS drugs in Illinois!).Fast forward again...
Now, after being in Texas 14 years, my left leg is much worse, and my right for that matter. As of 2004, I spend my days in an electric wheelchair, a nice one! I just got an adjustable bed (not a hospital bed - one from the furniture store). While my kids were little I was mobile, mostly normal with minor eye irritations. Now that my kids are grown (my youngest is 16 and she has seen the worst of it) I consider myself to be getting a much-needed rest. I don't have to walk around the mall, I get to ride. I don't have to rise at the crack of dawn to fight traffic to go to work, I get to sleep in (except when my daughter comes to do math at 9 a.m. - I homeschool her and have homeschooled all four of my kids). Not having to work and being able to stay home with my kids has been a blessing. Do I hate having MS? Yes. I miss walking on the beach and being able to sit in the water on the shore Now, if I sat down on the shore, I would never get up again, but I wouldn't trade the opportunities I got as a result of having MS.

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