31 Days of MS: An Unexpected Discovery
Day 23 of 31
This is Dawn Morgan’s story:
Hi! I’m Dawn Morgan. I have been living with relapsing-remitting MS since 2000, when I was 25. It was a complete shock. At the time, I was just beginning my professional career as a teacher and was in my first year of graduate school. Hearing the news that I had a chronic illness with no cure was devastating, especially to a young woman who — at that time — just wanted to enjoy nights out with friends and her exciting new job.
People ask me if anyone in my family had MS and the answer is no. I was not familiar with autoimmune illnesses; no one I knew had ever been chronically ill.
I embarked on a never-ending journey to find information after hearing those three words: “You have MS.” My neurologist had pamphlets about the therapies offered to treat MS. They handed me the “ABC” drugs, and in my attempt to bring humor to this dark situation, I selected option A. You cannot go wrong with the first letter of the alphabet, I thought. Avonex started well, but I slowly slipped into deep denial that I had MS. I felt angry. My protest was denying my body treatment. I switched to Copaxone, then Tysabri, and then my last disease-modifying therapy, Lemtrada. Taking Lemtrada changed my life.
During my journey, I met a fellow MSer, Daana Townsend, and in 2018, we started the “Myelin and Melanin” podcast. We are two Black women sharing our musings on life, MS, and everything in between. Over the past three seasons, we have covered such topics as the language of MS, intimacy, paradigm-shifting, and grieving your former self.
Receiving my diagnosis altered everything. Often, I would speak with someone who had the “remedy” for MS, through spiritual bypass or an offering of what they deemed as the empathetic words “get well soon.” Having conversations such as this opened the door to sharing how we felt in several podcast episodes. We aim to continuously speak about topics that move the needle in our community and bring awareness to those who wish to understand MS.
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.