This Was Me Before Multiple Sclerosis: A Letter to MS

This Was Me Before Multiple Sclerosis: A Letter to MS

Patiently Awakened

At times I find myself speaking of and referencing my life before my MS diagnosis. My thoughts led to the creation of the following epistle. I believe that words are curative and the spirit absorbs what we speak. As you read my letter to multiple sclerosis, remember that you are still you.

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Dear MS,

I was a vibrant, ambitious, and optimistic woman before you arrived. Even though I had congenital heart disease, I lived and excelled in my endeavors. Aside from the cardiac surgeries I endured, the anticipation of those yet to come, the discomfort I felt at times and the follow-up appointments, my prognosis was good. It was a far cry from the early, uncertain diagnosis. No one knew what lay ahead as I aged into adulthood. Thankfully, science, research, technology, medical professionals, faith, and prayer moved mountains.

Multiple sclerosis, you knocked on my door for approximately two years. We were uncertain of you, so we dared not open the door. We watched you closely, knowing that at any moment you could infiltrate. You waited patiently until we identified you. We were forced to allow you access into our lives. You have become an unwanted resident in my home and my life. I already had enough tribulations. You were inconsiderate of the other tragedies I endured, such as an injury that already had me in excruciating pain and discomfort. You were unaffected by the grief I endured from losing my loved ones and by my unexpected retirement. It became clear that you were here to stay. I had less anxiety and emotional “baggage” before you. I had less depression and more peace. I had hope that my future was limitless and I was going to set the world ablaze. That is who I was. You were not comfortable just letting me be. You triumph in uncertainty and doubt. You’ve caused me to question myself at times. I had another epiphany. I am still me.

Multiple sclerosis, my core is unaltered. During my weak, unpleasant, unsightly moments, I am still me. On those days I want to bury my head under the cover and stay there, or on those days when I’m ready to conquer the world, I am still me. You cannot take ME away from me. My vibrant spirit and ambition prevail. I may suffer from pain and fatigue or need a little more time to complete tasks, but I continue to live with intensity and excitement. My aspirations drive me to reach outside my comfort zone. I am striving to live my best life in spite of you. That is a win. MS, before you I had hope for the future, and after you, it persists. My hope encourages me to be great and appreciative of life, especially when you venture to prevent me from doing so.

In closing, multiple sclerosis, you are who you are. There are aspects of your existence that are beyond my scope. I cannot control your manifestation in my life. I can’t predict the exact time or date my condition will worsen. I can’t foresee how I will feel from one day to the next. Change is inevitable, yet my core is unwavering. My character has strengthened in the midst of your tsunami. In your bitterness and amid your ruins, I have experienced love, grace, and mercy by the formation of new friendships and an increased desire to live authentically. I have the opportunity and privilege to love my family and friends, advocate for the communities I serve, and uplift others as I live. MS you have done what congenital heart disease did for me a long time ago. You’ve given me a greater appreciation of life and a deeper spiritual existence. During the worst days of my mess, I try to do my best. I am still, and always will be, ME.

Destined and Determined,
Teresa

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Warriors, survivors, and friends, this week’s column is to embolden your spirit. We are triumphant and called by name. This was our truth before multiple sclerosis, and it remains as such.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:12

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

21 comments

  1. Keith Layton says:

    Great story and Spirit. I have that now and again, although in many ways and in many things I have come undone and will remain undone. So it goes for this one who has this disease of ONE. One and done.

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Keith,
      Thanks for reading the column and for your response. I understand your sentiment and I wish you the best.

      Teresa

  2. Carol says:

    Well said Teresa.
    A moving letter from your heart. I too will not have my spirit broken by this unwanted guest. I will still travel the world and paint.
    Every day is a challenge but I draw strength from my inner self.
    Carol from UK

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Carol,
      Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. I applaud you for you courage and you inspire me. Best wishes to you.

      Teresa

  3. Cynthia King says:

    I consider ms my evil twin or ugly stepsister. She won’t go away and I had to learn to live with her. I fought the good fight, raged many a battle to hold on to what’s left of me. But in the end this disease took its toll on me and changed who I was. But the thing is, life changes everything and everybody. It just does. So it changed me in ways I never predicted but that is ok. Instead of keeping up my in my lane of the rat race, I was able to be there when my kids got off the bus. I had the time to sit and talk to them. Sure I had bad days but I believe overall ms had a hand in raising my kids. They both are grown and off on their own, successful at being adults because I was there for them. Ms taught us all life is imperfect and we have to try anyway. Ms didn’t affect my ears and what they needed most was someone to listen to them and brainstorm solutions to their problems. So my loss was their gain. But I do miss the old me. The one that danced and ice skated, but not the stressed out maniac who tried to do it all.

    • Rick Boehm says:

      Great words and gresater effort! I also have MS but continue to sing Southern Gospel. I draw on my faith in God and know he gives me the power to stand without a cane and sing his Praises. Also know someday it may change. But until that day will continue on. Pray for a cure, and on the day he calls me home know MS will no longer have the hold on me it does now. Amen

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Cynthia,
      Thanks for reading the column and for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate you. With MS, we have to be okay with change because every day is different. I miss the “old” me at times, however, I acknowledge that I am still me and I am alive. Best wishes to you.

  4. Martha Diaz says:

    Thank you for the reminder that in spite of what MS throws at me, I am still me. I have been touched by your articles.

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Martha,
      Thank you so much. I appreciate you taking the time to read my column. I hope that my words will continue to resonate. You have touched me. Best wishes to you.

      Teresa

  5. Rob says:

    Thank you for your story I’m new to all this an still trying to find my way an reading other people’s battles helps me cause I know I’m not all alone in this fight

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Rob,
      Thank you for reading the column and for your response. You are never alone. We are in this together. There is a plethora of information that will can help you navigate this illness. Best wishes to you.

      Teresa

  6. Carole Santiago says:

    I have had MS for 40 years. Like you, I still have the essential me living inside. I just can’t keep up with all my thoughts and unfilled dreams. I am very thankful for the many blessings I have had raising 3 wonderful children. I started out working in health care in NYC in the 1970’s. I was surrounded by the best physicians and available knowledge of the disease at Mount Sinai Hospital. When I was diagnosed, there were no MRI’s or disease-modifying medications or treatments yet available. Many years later, I have progressed to secondary progressive MS with many challenges and limitations. It is hard to remain optimistic, but we must remind MS that we are still humans who will still have meaning and purpose as we battle this Mean Sucker. Keep the faith!

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Carol,
      Thanks for reading the column and for sharing your story. I can feel your words. I agree that remaining optimistic can be challenging at times, yet it is necessary. I remind myself that having a positive outlook and hope for the future helps. Yes, we have meaning and purpose! That alone is powerful. I will keep the faith. Thanks again for inspiring me. Bless you.

      Teresa

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Debi,
      Thanks for your lovely words of encouragement and for reading the column. They mean so much. I appreciate you.

      Teresa

  7. Tracy says:

    Dear MS

    I miss walking, running, shopping with friends, walking my dog, my significant other, being able to do it on my own.
    Basically, I miss my life cause the one I have now is absolutely miserable and I am tired of it.

    Go away now MS. I am done with you. Want my old self back!

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Tracy,
      Thank you for sharing your letter. I am sorry that you are miserable and I hope that better days are ahead. You are in my thoughts. It is also my wish that MS will go away someday soon.

      Teresa

  8. Yvonne jones says:

    Thankyou you for sharing your thoughts.Good ,Bad or indifferent. Our stories are so similar it’s scarie but with MS no two are the same. At first I wrote letters to MS and to those that walked away.At the end of the day my heart is still the same, I am still me.I can’t control what has happened to me.I must learned to live with MS and what has happened. I hope that happens someday soon I trying not to loose ME🎗🎗🎗

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