Dear My MS,
You and I have been together for more than two decades. I know you remember I had just turned 20 when we first met. I was a college student and just a kid for all intent and purposes. It was such a scary time- I didn’t know who you were and I felt so vulnerable. Of course 20+ years later… you are still scary because I never know what you are going to do next.
The thing is, I’ve never been an adult without your initials tattooed on my brain. I never found out what my life choices would have been. My career path, my social life; even the fun stuff I would have liked to do- so many things weren't an option with you at my side.
And in some ways it might have been good meeting you when I was so young; I didn’t have to give up any long-held passions. (The optimist in me) But you freaked me out. You had such a long list of terrible things you’ve done in previous relationships. How will you treat me? I often thought, “I’ll never tolerate that!” But the thing is MS, you have done some pretty awful things to me and I’ve coped with far more than I thought I could.
And you know what? My successes (ie. finding a husband who didn’t care about MS, having an awesome baby girl and earning a Master’s Degree) are even sweeter, knowing that I did it all in spite of you. On top of all that, I write a blog that is very well received (I didn’t even know I could write!) and founded a non-profit dedicated to help others like me learn about our own version of MS, the way they want to. (mssoftserve.org)
Many people say “I have MS, but it doesn’t have me”. For me, I AM MS. I don’t know who I am without you. And when it comes down to it…I like the resilient, inspired, optimistic me that I’ve become while dealing with you. (And with a life mission, no less!)
So while many times I hate you and pray there will be a time when you leave forever, I also know that I can handle whatever you throw my way. And I believe I have a very meaningful life because of you.
Granted, I’m having an optimistic moment right now. If this had been on a different day, I might be furious and curse all that you are. I’m sure you understand!)
Sincerely (and good riddance!)