31 Days of MS: MS Has Taught Me That Timing Is Everything

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31 Days of MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | 31 Days 2022 graphic

Photo courtesy of Alexios Touloupis

Day 7 of 31

This is Alexios Touloupis’ (@alexios4real) story:

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March 2016, my junior year of high school, when I was only 16. For months I struggled with one health problem after another. It was so frustrating that by the time the doctors did have an answer for me — a chronic, incurable disease I knew nothing about — I didn’t really care. What I did care about was finally having an answer to my problems.

In the beginning, life with MS didn’t make sense. I had been diagnosed in 6th grade with ADHD, so the cognitive problems that came with MS made for a tremendous combo pack. It took a while to relearn myself. It honestly started with a “rebirth.”

For the first 16 years of my life, I went by “Alexi.” Once I was diagnosed, I knew that guy — what he knew, how he lived — was done. There was no going back. So, in college, I starting using my full name, “Alexios.” Being the same person, yet in a healthy way, being aware of my new identity, has helped me cope with the changes. But it’s something I still work at every day.

Now, I’m a 22-year-old dropout, living at home with my parents. No shame, I’m following my dreams.

Thanks to the incredible support of family, friends, and some teachers (one actually made me take a final exam a month after my diagnosis), I’ve learned I need to prioritize myself, my interests, and my passions. Life’s too short for headache-inducing crap. I dropped out of film school, traveled to the UAE with my brother, and pursued our dream of making a TV show — we’re editing a feature-length doc right now! I also work for an exciting green tech startup.

MS has taught me that timing is everything, to appreciate the little things while looking for the bigger picture, to see people, and seek to understand them, rather than judge or dismiss them. So much of life is based on perception. I’m thankful MS opened up my perspective and allowed me to build a better relationship with myself, others, and this world.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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