“You have a choice to make; which one of the MS medications do you want to start?” asked my MS doctor. Believe it or not, this came as relief to myself. I knew something was not quite right within me, but my first neurologist said everything was fine and I was normal. This was the moment that I realized not all doctors were the same. It was also the moment that I started my journey into the realization that this wacky disease was not the same for everyone!
Driving back from the doctor’s office was numbing. I was appreciative that I was told bluntly that I had MS, but “I had MS!” A million things raced through my mind; the first and foremost involved my family. How would they accept this diagnosis? Would they look at me and treat me differently? Would my wife no longer see me as the man she married? Would I be able to still coach my kids or walk my daughters’ down the aisle at their weddings? Some may laugh at this, but this is reality. Just like the movies, everything flashes through your mind.
After the initial shock wore off, I realized I was a State Trooper with a neurological disease. I had attained my dream of becoming a trooper approximately 8 years earlier, and was now wondering if my job would be jeapordized. For the next month I would drive the patrol car aimlessly through my assigned zones logging over 200 miles. MS took over of mind with the “what if’s, what now, etc…. ” Looking back, I now view this as a normal reaction to a new diagnosis; but it was anything but normal during that time period. I am over 11 years into this battle, and the one thing I have learned the most is how one manages and copes with MS. Adapting and overcoming is my mantra in dealing with this disease! This is the same attitude that the state police instilled in myself.
Positivity and openness has always been a big part of who I am. It is these attributes that I lean on in dealing with MS. Talking about MS has never been a problem, sometimes to the chagrin of my family I’m sure. That is who I am and how I deal with this journey. This blog is my way of trying to cope and convey my thoughts and feelings. Staying positive has been a challenge the past two years, as new symptoms have occurred. The first nine years after diagnosis was a breeze. My life was basically the same and nothing changed. I was coaching soccer and playing on two teams, competing in Tough Mudders, working out on a regular basis, riding my Harley Davidson Fatboy (my baby!) and much more. I tended to often forget I had MS! Abruptly this all changed about two years ago with the development of drop foot. Things taken for granted like walking normally suddenly became a new battle. Forget about jogging, jumping or having my active lifestyle I was accustomed too. Running / jogging is never something I enjoyed, but I would kill to run a 5k now that it was taken away from me!
I have a new normal but strive to get back to my old normal. This is how I get through each day. I have a goal and won’t stop until it is achieved.
Everyday is a battle, and I will continue to fight!