Beating Multiple Sclerosis Before It Beats You

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Multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease to be diagnosed with at a young age. You don’t know when it will take its full toll on you, if ever. I was diagnosed almost 6 years ago at the age of 22. Up until now, not a lot of people knew I even had the disease. I have relapsing remitting, so I rarely show signs of the condition, and when I do have symptoms I try to keep them to myself and hide them the best that I can. It isn’t that I’m insecure of having the condition; it’s that I don’t want anyone to have pity on me or treat me any different than before.

Similar to myself, I have seen people that are newly diagnosed with a condition that go about dealing with it in so many different ways. Some people get angry, sad, depressed, live in denial, or occasionally use it for something positive. They use it as a motivation to fight against something they can now relate to first hand.

I for one was literally heartbroken. My initial reaction to my diagnosis was, “Well, now what am I supposed to do? I love to run, bike, kayak, camp, climb, play sports, and not to mention I’m half way through obtaining a master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology.” The entire plan for my life involved MOVING; not becoming disabled!

After I went through the initial shock and pain, I got over it pretty fast. I thought to myself, “Hey! Wait a minute! I can still move! No one knew I had this condition before it had a name! Why should I change my lifestyle now?”

So, I changed my attitude immediately. I started fundraising annually for the MS Society through rides and races, & I’ve participated in all of them. I am now inspired to push my body to its limits while I still can. Immediately folIowing my diagnosis in 2008, I participated in my 1st 5K race, 1st sprint triathlon, and I completed 175 miles for my 1st MS bike ride. Since then, I graduated with my master’s degree, participated & placed in more 5Ks than I can even count, completed & placed in the Baton Rouge half marathon, & completed 2 full marathons (both under 4 hours). 

The year 2014, I want to make epic in my physical & fundraising endeavor. As part of becoming a relay runner for MS Run the US I have pledged to raise at least $10,000 & I will run 5 consecutive marathons in 5 days. I know the road ahead will be challenging, but the drive inside to make a difference & imagining a world without MS is worth every bit of effort, sweat, & tears.

As the MS Society says, “Move to create a world free of MS.” I will continue to move to prove that MS has not beaten me yet. It may overcome me someday, but that someday is not here yet & just because of a diagnosis I won’t let it overtake me now. I’m going to continue to move & fight in this battle not only for myself, but for those that MS has already consumed.

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