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31 Days of MS: Learning to Adapt

31 Days of MS: Learning to Adapt
Photo courtesy of Sandra Costello

Day 6 of 31

This is Dee DiFatta’s story:

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the day before my 22nd birthday was not something I expected or anticipated, but it has truly been a blessing.

Navigating MS has taught me to slow down and appreciate every little thing in life, including myself. Up until my diagnosis, I prided myself on being an overachieving stressed-out perfectionist, and I was so busy trying to be the person everyone else thought I should be that I lost sight of my authenticity.

I have finally realized that I was never meant to “fit in” and be ordinary. I was born to stand out and be extraordinary. I am proud to say I have redefined MS as “modified swagger” and “motivational spitfire,” and I have redefined myself as a work in progress. I have made a conscious choice to stop fixating on what is going wrong and be grateful for everything that is going right. And by making these little shifts, I have changed the trajectory of my life.

By redefining my circumstances, I have set myself free to be me. I am no longer ashamed to walk with my walker “DIVA” or be pushed in my wheelchair “Proud Mary.” I have befriended my fears of not belonging and embraced my life for what it is in this moment.

By taking responsibility for my life and the choices I have made (the good, the bad, and the ugly,) I have been able to heal myself of the blame, shame, guilt, and resentment of the past and step into the present with more confidence and courage. I have forgiven myself for thinking I was not enough and believing that I was a disabled victim. On the contrary, I have become awakened and aware that I am an amazingly resilient victor.

After living with MS for 27 years, I am grateful for the knowledge and wisdom that what you think, you create, and what you speak, you affirm. So, I will no longer own this disease. It may be a fact that I was diagnosed with MS, but I will not allow this label or my limitations to define me. I am free and proud to be authentically me, and I choose to be an inspiration and serve others with my perspective and positivity.

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 go here to see the full series.

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