World MS Day 2012: Letter to my newly diagnosed self

Two years ago, the organisation of World MS Day, asked us to write a letter to our newly diagnoses self, no matter how long ago we were diagnosed: “If asked to write a letter to yourself today, to be read on the day you were first diagnosed, what would you say? Would you tell yourself to slow down and take stock? Or tell yourself to dive head first into living?”

Dear me,

“You have mild MS…”

“Mild” is good, “mild” means that I can keep on working, “mild” means that I will be able to live with it.

“It is just “mild” so nothing is wrong with me…”

I remember every single minute of today, of my diagnosis. What was said; done; not acknowledged.

I was told I would have to change my lifestyle. I think these words are even worse than hearing I have mild MS. I don’t want to change my lifestyle, and besides, how do you change your lifestyle?

How, when all this started?

Denial is setting in because I don’t want this illness inside me, I want to live, to travel, to study, to work.

To work. Will I tell my employer?

Will I tell my colleagues, friends, family?

Denial somehow turning into joy because I am not imaging the symptoms I have, because the consultant in hospital thought I was “just-another-Monday-morning-I-don’t-want-to-go-to-work-today” case when I checked myself in hospital just weeks before my diagnosis. Joy because it is not a tumour. Joy because I want to live, because I need to live.

So here I am now. An illness that cannot be cured, and I am told to change my lifestyle. I am not going to because this is my life, and I want to live. And I will. I will work, and enjoy life, every single second of it. Because this life is only just beginning.

“You look after yourself girl…”

I am, and I will, no matter how far this illness will take me.

© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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