Being diagnosed with a chronic illness isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. It comes with a new medical language to learn, a plethora of lengthy appointments, an impressive amount of blood tests, and a lot of frustration. But does it lead to a new and rare purpose?
When I received my diagnosis six years ago at 22 years old I thought my life was over. A little dramatic, right? But that’s who I was back then. The “old” me didn’t eat enough (and certainly nothing healthy) and worked far too much.
I took many things for granted: friends, family, boyfriends, even my health. I wasn’t grateful for my experiences and was overly anxious, sometimes about absolutely nothing. I worried about things I had no control over.
I was diagnosed with MS in May 2013. I’d never been admitted to the hospital as a patient before and was more scared than I’d ever been. I was in my 20s surrounded by stroke patients with dementia in their 70s.
In three days, I lost the career for which I’d worked so hard at university. I joined a minority of people who live with chronic illness. My life changed forever.
My doctor told me to go home and research my condition in my own time. As you can imagine, I came across many wheelchair pictures and countless negative stories. I learned about many scary symptoms experienced by others with MS.
I went from being a perfectly healthy 22-year-old woman to no longer being able to use the left side of my body and being labeled “disabled.” It was a complete shock, followed by a period of depression and confusion.
Learning from my rare disease
Over time, I started to change. I came face to face with my mortality. My appreciation of my life and gratitude for the people in it grew. I stopped worrying so much about the things that had once consumed my energy.
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