Guest post by Kayla Dalley
To some, multiple sclerosis could be viewed as a force intended to push you apart from your friends and family, but in my case, my MS diagnosis has acted as a glue. Both my brother, Michael, and I live with MS. We were close growing up. He’s my big brother and he always looked out for me and I looked up to him – except for the times when we drove each other crazy!
I was the first to be diagnosed, at the age of 13. It was tough. I was too young to even really comprehend what was happening. Michael was there for me through all the symptoms – the pain, the doctor’s appointments, and everything that came after. He, along with my mom, formed the basis of my support system. A few years later, Michael started having symptoms and it didn’t take long before he received his MS diagnosis, just after finishing high school.
We have become closer as siblings because of our MS, so I guess that’s one good thing to come from all of this. Through his battle, Michael has taught me to push through – to live with my MS not as an obstacle, but as a hurdle to jump over. It takes courage and strength, but I can do it. We can do it, with the support of one another. Through my journey, my brother has learned perseverance and to keep trying to get over that same hurdle by never giving up.
We push each other every day to be the best we can be. Reflecting on where we were and where we are now, is a reminder to keep going everyday, and to keep pushing through because we have each other.
We also have bookend siblings! We have an older sister, Melissa and a younger brother, Liam; both of whom we adore. Fortunately, they have not shown any signs of MS, so we’re grateful for that, but they are also affected by this disease. They go through it with us and are a huge part of our support system, in both small and large ways.
Siblings have plenty of things in common, which helps form that special bond. But for us, I believe our bond goes deeper because of the challenges we’ve faced and continue to face. While Michael and I both have different experiences with our MS diagnoses, we can understand each other better because we know what the other is going through.
For example, I have incontinence issues daily, as well as issues with my mobility. Michael has some mobility issues too, especially if he doesn’t wear his leg braces. Michael also has constant hand tremors. We both understand each other’s difficulty getting around day-to-day. Our range of symptoms goes to show the unique ways this disease touches each person living with MS and allows us to develop a deeper understanding of our individual struggles.
My wish would be to find a cure so that we don’t have to live with MS anymore, but in the meantime, I am so very thankful Michael and I have each other. Together, we will live our best lives.