A little over a year ago, my fear became factual. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I have been under the care of a neurologist for two years prior and knew there was a strong possibility that I could have the disease. In reality, there is a world in between possibility and certainty.
Upon hearing the words multiple sclerosis, I began to wonder what that really meant. Tears began to stream down my face. I was inconsolable and I’m sure my husband was devastated. I began to think about what was going to happen to me. I knew people who had MS, but never imagined myself as one of them. I was too busy fighting and surviving Congenital Heart Disease.
Today, I realize that in addition to the physical limitations and effects of my MS, the other most difficult part of my diagnosis is the fear of the unknown. The inability to foresee the future. This remains my achilles heel. Most of us with MS have imagined instances and situations that may compromise our quality of life. We are anxious because concrete answers are difficult to come by. Medical professionals cannot really provide definite answers to many of the questions and fears we have. The only thing we are certain of is that MS affects everyone differently.
The vividness of my imagination often sent me into a depression. Trying to process my diagnosis and everything that could occur as a result of it was overwhelming. I am a determined person with a strong faith and at times, it seemed as though my faith wavered.
A self proclaimed poet and writer, I have been writing poetry and prose for years. The pen is mightier than the sword. A pen and paper are my refuge. Writing is therapeutic. It allows me to express my pain and triumphs, sharing it with others, while reassuring myself that I am a worthy contender in overcoming adversity. Writing has been my life jacket in the ocean of life.
I wrote a poem when I was told I may have MS. At times, I still read it. The poem gives someone a look into the shock, grief, denial and acceptance of having the disease. Although this journey is new to me, I try to remember that I am alive for a reason. I am learning to resist the urge to imagine my future, focusing on living one day at a time…sometimes that is all I have the energy to do.
My fellow warriors and survivors, stay encouraged. Fight fear with courage. We are more than a conundrum. We are beautiful roses, made of petals and thorns. Fervent, resilient and a mixture of grace, triumph and pain.
Teresa Wright-Johnson is a 43-year-old MS Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She has had multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 2014. She also is a community activist with a background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. She aspires to use her life to empower and inspire others. A retired Sr. Parole Officer, a Poet and an Inspirational Speaker, she enjoys spending time with her loving family and friends, writing, reading and listening to music.