Here I am with MS, being the best that I can be

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by BioNews Staff |

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Five photos showing individuals with multiple sclerosis, who are sharing their real-life stories during MS Awareness Month, are hung with clips on a string above the words 'MS Community Spotlight.'

Julie Stamm was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. (Courtesy of Colorado Parent magazine)

Day 5 of 31

This is Julie Stamm’s (@iamstamm) story:

I was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) on Jan. 8, 2007.

While I can date my symptoms back to six years before that, it was in 2005 that they became too debilitating for me to live the life I once knew and loved. I felt vindicated after I was diagnosed with MS. I’d known something was wrong for many years and was dismissed by doctors. But knowing gave me power. Knowing who the man was behind the curtain gave me the courage to fight. It hasn’t been — and isn’t now — an easy battle and the unpredictability of this disease is by far the most challenging thing to accept.

Julie Stamm is shown sitting in a chair.

Julie Stamm was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. (Courtesy of Colorado Parent magazine)

There is no cure, but I do believe that one day in the not so distant future there will be one. When I was diagnosed 17 years ago there were only three options available to me. Since then, new treatments have been introduced at a rapid pace. There are oral medications, medications with greater success rates for reducing relapses, and options for all forms of the disease which, in the past, seemed to have fallen by the wayside.

Many aspects of this disease seem unbearable at first, but you fight through it. We MSers fight! We fight to support each other and give each other strength. This disease has changed me in so many ways. In some ways, I’m a shell of the woman I once was and the woman I dreamed I would be, but I truly believe I am where I am today because this is where I should be, need to be, and belong.

Julie Stamm sits on a ledge with her son, Jack, 7.

Julie Stamm smiles for the camera with her son, Jack, 7. (Courtesy of Amy Ciscool Photography)

I have a perfect, loving, and supportive husband. We have a beautiful 7-year-old son and each day, regardless of the pain, the worry, the lack of control, I am grateful. Yes, I would love to one day wake up and not have to look down at my legs and wait for them to wake up. I would love to one day wake up and not have to worry about where every bathroom will be and if I will be able to make it there. I would love to one day wake up being able to walk and dance as much as I used to. I would love, most of all, to one day be the best mom in this world.

For now, I will be the best me I can be. I will find solace in knowing that I’m not doing such a bad job. The reality is life evolves for all of us. We all want more for our families. We all face obstacles that we need to overcome. My goal, for now, is to find the best care, stop the disease’s progression, and live my life. We are only here on this earth for a blink of an eye and I hope my moments here will matter.

In recognition of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March, the MS Community Spotlight campaign features a series of stories highlighting the real-life experiences of people affected by MS, written in their own words. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more stories like this, using the hashtag #MSSpotlight, or read the full series.