The overall support and love that I have felt at this time is very palpable from family and friends – each person demonstrating these very differently yet effectively. I don’t think words will ever be able to express my gratitude. As difficult as this new diagnosis is for me, I know now loved ones struggle with it, too. Recently, my mother opened up to me about how difficult this has been for her. I hadn’t really wanted her to tell too many people because I don’t want people looking at or treating me differently. As much as I need a support group, so does she. I cannot deprive this of her, especially since she no longer can share things like this with her mother because my grandmother has Alzheimer’s. Speaking of my grandmother, that is one person that I had to tell about my diagnosis myself, even if she didn’t know who I was or what I was talking about. It was an emotional day for me and this was the one time that I broke down while telling someone about my MS. She just nodded and made some noncommittal noises, but for my sake, I believe she understands.
Family and friends just seem a lot more important these days. Therefore, I wish there was some way I could help ease everyone’s fears and worries, and reassure them that everything will be O.K. Perhaps this is where my drive to complete the Chicago Marathon came, I wanted to prove not only to myself, but to everyone around me I am strong. I signed up for the 26.2 mile run the day I was diagnosed. It was a personal achievement I wanted to complete since being on cross county in high school, but nothing motivated me to train for it until the fateful day. Not only did I run all those miles, I ran for charity – Children’s Memorial Hospital. Maybe through my support, I helped change one child’s life so they can get better, and don’t have to live a life of fear about their health. In addition, those little kids are so strong and positive, that the inspiration was endless and kept me going on those long runs. Most importantly though, the Chicago Marathon was my chance to prove to myself that I can take on any challenge presented to me and accomplish it, even if I have multiple sclerosis. Even though at the time of diagnosis my life felt flipped upside down, I fight through the aches, pains, at times negative thoughts, and fatigue because LIFE IS GOING ON.