31 Days of MS: From Loss of Identity to New Life Purpose
Day 13 of 31
This is Susan Carey’s story:
My name is Susan Carey, and I was diagnosed with MS in 2004 at age 14. As you can imagine, it came as a surprise to me and others. Having to go through puberty with a chronic illness was something nobody was prepared for.
I was an active child involved in sporting clubs, with a particular interest in basketball and golf. I often joked how I was “the son my father never had,” a true tomboy. Unfortunately, due to my MS rapidly progressing and affecting my ability to walk, within two years, I was no longer able to participate in my sporting passions. I struggled with this loss of my identity and connection with my peers.
As the years went by, I depended on adults to guide me through this unfamiliar territory. I was advised upon leaving school to choose a desk job with minimal stress. All I knew at that point was about loss, so I gave up even trying to plan a future. My physical abilities declined through college. I found myself scaling walls/furniture and holding on to people in order to get around. I soon began my collection of mobility aids, and my confidence was at an all-time low. I was different, merely existing in a clouded world.
However, there was a turning point, an outlet. For me, that was exercising at the gym. At first, even making my way up the stairs, one literal step at a time, was a triumph. I used to scale from machine to machine but it was the only place I felt like I had a purpose.
After failed medications, I received an MS trial chemo drug. On day 3 of 7 in hospital, I declared to my mother that, with her standing at a distance, I would walk independently to the nearby lift. On day 7, I achieved that goal and it was the beginning of my sense of living again!
Today, I am grateful to share this part of my story with you, as a strong independent lady who, during this pandemic, left my eight-year desk job to pursue my purpose in life.
As the proud owner of Susan Carey Mind & Body Coaching, I am a qualified personal trainer and happiness life coach, helping individuals of all abilities achieve more healthy, happy, and enriched lives.
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.