Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The New 'Normal'

Today I am sharing a very personal post, something that I typically do not do, since I like to keep this space a happy site that inspires. I am opening up about the year that I have had so far, one that has literally knocked me off my feet. By writing this post I only hope to inspire everyone especially  if you are going through a struggle in life, you are not the only one.  I will say that writing this makes everything more real since I have yet to write down my thoughts on paper, mostly because they have been whirling around my head and because it is a truth I haven't wanted to accept. This is my first step in attempting to do so.

I have heard many great things this year, the best being 'I do' from my husband on our wedding day,  but the worst thing I heard this year was that 'You have Multiple Sclerosis'. Let me first start off by saying that I am sharing this not because I want people to feel bad for me by any means, but rather just like any obstacle in life if you face it head on you can still go after your dreams because after all nothing should hold you back in life.

It all started back in March when I had to go to the emergency room because my entire right side went numb. To be honest I didn't think much of it, I thought it was strange but thought it might have been a slipped disk from a few times that I fell last winter when I was running to and from the subway in sub-zero temperatures.  My doctor thought something else after seeing my MRI so he sent me to the ER, which turned into five long days spent in the hospital.  Never have been hospitalized before I didn't know that many people enter your room from actual doctors to those in residence and even interns. Each one told me something different about my condition, some said nothing was wrong. One doctor approached my bedside and told me that I needed to be prepared that I would receive a diagnosis that could be MS, an auto-immune disease that attacks the central nervous system, but doubted it when they said it. I was going to wait until a neurologist in my insurance network could read my MRIs and charts once I left the hospital. The neurologist at the hospital told me I would have to see a doctor that focused on MS. I still didn't believe it.  Flash forward to my first neurologists appointment right before my wedding where siting next to my husband, my rock, I was diagnosed with the disease. My reaction still shock. How could someone that is (fairly) young, eats healthy (the sweets on my site are my baking therapy, not necessarily my indulgence) and exercises five or six days a week receive such a diagnosis? I felt confused, but also very scared. It just so happened that I work in a building that houses an MS research center. I see the people coming and going, they are walking with canes or even worse have wheelchairs or service dogs. I think could this be me one day?  

The problem with this disease is that they don't have a cure and researchers do not understand why it runs different courses on different people. My doctor told me that I needed to start a drug therapy, a pill that I would have to take twice a day in order to stop future flare-ups. Not being a medicine person, I don't even like to take Tylenol unless I have no other choice. But here, I really had no choice. I am a person that loves life and wants to live it to the absolute fullest.  

The first months with the diagnosis and medicine were very rough, but mentally and physically. I was experiencing fatigue like never before, I couldn't get out of bed let alone exercise. I would come home from work and couldn't even cook dinner.  Over the past month or so thankfully the debilitating fatigue has subsided (however,  some days are still worse than others) and I am beginning to feel a bit more 'normal', although I cannot run like I used to run and believe me I love running.  This is what I say when I mean when I say 'the new normal'.  The things that I used to be able to do like walk city block by city block for miles or stand for extended periods of time, I cannot seem to do with as much ease anymore.  This upsets me, but I am not letting it stop me.  I am more engaged in life than ever before. I am focused, positive (even on those days that are hard, I still try) and I realize once again that you have no idea what life can send your way, bad or good.  I hope to inspire anyone that has had a set-back that things will be okay.  Now I just pray that I can live a full-life and not succumb to this disease because, boy, I am a fighter and fight I will continue to do.  

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  1. Hugs to you Alison! It is so crazy how life throws things your way that you could have never predicted. Thank you for letting us in and being so honest.

  2. What an inspriring post, thanks for sharing your story :-)

  3. I think of you so often. You are handling this with such grace and maturity. I can't wait to see all the fabulous things that you will be accomplishing. You are so brave and inspiring. Hugs and kisses

  4. I just read this and it breaks my heart!

    I know this is not the intention of the post, as I took in everything else as well: the grace you are handling this new normal with, the note of positivity, your strength and determination, you truly are an inspiration and I am sure that eventually every little piece will be falling back into its place. But I can't help but feel this diagnosis is not fair.

    Sending lots of hugs your way and wishing you nothing but health and more strength to go through it all. We are here for you <3