A letter to a younger me newly diagnosed with MS

Feel your feelings, even the ones hopeless and bleak, but stay kind to yourself

Desiree Lama avatar

by Desiree Lama |

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Dear younger self,

As I sit down to write this letter, I can’t help but tear up at the thought of you. First and foremost, you’re an amazing soul, full of life and with a bright future ahead of you. But you’ve just received life-changing news, and it feels as though your whole world is caving in on you.

Just yesterday, you were diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) as a 17-year-old waiting to finish your senior year of high school with a bang. MS doesn’t quite fit into your idea of an extraordinary ending to this chapter of your life.

I know that right now you’re feeling scared and overwhelmed, but you’re trying your best to avoid those emotions. And I know you’re succeeding at bottling up those feelings and locking them away into a less used part of your mind. Please don’t do this.

I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to feel your feelings, including the hopeless and bleak ones. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is a lot to process and absorb, but just take it one day at a time.

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As your older self, I’m writing to assure you that this diagnosis isn’t the end. Hard times are inevitable and your health will fluctuate, but you’ll prosper despite how you feel right now. During the days when it feels as if the weight of your MS is too much to bear on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for support. You’re never alone.

As you embark on your college journey, I need you to remember to be kind to yourself. You are not your peers, and they are not you. Being at a highly competitive university doesn’t mean you have to belittle yourself and compare yourself with those around you. You don’t have to put on a facade for the sake of others, even if that makes them uncomfortable.

Just do what you can and remember that you don’t owe anybody an explanation. Your circumstances are different, and if someone doesn’t understand that, it’s their loss.

MS doesn’t define you, but it’s a significant part of your identity. You’re still the vibrant, loving, bright-eyed person you’ve always been. MS will never diminish the qualities that make you who you are.

Above all, you’re resilient. But sometimes it’s OK to feel defeated or that you’ve succumbed to MS. That doesn’t make you any less strong; it makes you human.

With all my love,

20-something-year-old Desiree


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Comments

Amy Pierno avatar

Amy Pierno

Love this, Desiree. You are very insightful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it.

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Desiree Lama avatar

Desiree Lama

Thank you so much for reading, it means the absolute world to me!

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Lisa Miller avatar

Lisa Miller

BRAVO! BRAVO! I never imagined that my symptoms were from MS. And I had a cousin with MS. I cried when I heard tbe words, but I also replied that MS had picked the wrong girl! I have been a fighter for over 35 years. I had a child when I was 41. I continue my fight with MS every day. Go after every dream! Stay as beautiful as your inspiring words. Stay MS Strong!

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Desiree Lama avatar

Desiree Lama

Hearing those words is definitely one of the hardest pills to swallow. Stay fighting! I wish you all the very best. 🧡

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Paul Nederhof avatar

Paul Nederhof

Thank you Desiree for your wonderful letter. Sometimes I try to call in my future self 's aid.
Good luck to you!

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Desiree Lama avatar

Desiree Lama

Thank you for reading! Our future selves probably know-all!

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Tru avatar

Tru

This is beautiful ❤️.

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Desiree Lama avatar

Desiree Lama

Thank you so much for reading! 🧡

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Leonore Lord avatar

Leonore Lord

Thanks you for sharing a powerful tool and a personal insight. We often forget how far we have come this is a gentle reminder

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Desiree Lama avatar

Desiree Lama

It is definitely easy to forget all that we have gone through, especially when we don't want to remember such adversity. Thank you so much for reading!

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Tom A. avatar

Tom A.

If it were possible to accumulate this sentiment from a variety of MSr's, I think it would be invaluable for those newly diagnosed. How could that be done? One place on the internet where people could go.

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Maggie Reddy avatar

Maggie Reddy

Amazing story, it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you

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