Guest blog post –
Sarah Le Huray, MS Walk ambassador
As soon as I saw my scans on the doctor’s computer screen, I knew exactly what my diagnosis was. It was Multiple Sclerosis (MS). A lot was racing through my mind, but my biggest concern was how MS would affect my ability to be a mom. I was only 32 at the time and had two young kids to take care of.
The diagnosis didn’t come as a huge surprise, as I had been having mysterious symptoms for years. I visited countless doctors but was never given an MRI and was usually told I was “stressed” from working and being a mom. It took a serious case of optic neuritis, with almost complete loss of vision in one eye, to verify that I had MS.
Coming to terms with this surreal diagnosis and understanding that I was now living with a lifelong degenerative disease meant that I needed an outlet to cope. I started writing random questions and ideas in a journal, then the next day decided to start a blog. My hope was that perhaps someone else would read my blog and be able to relate.
I wrote the first post before even naming the blog, that’s how urgent it was for me to put my fingers to the keyboard. Then it hit me, as cliché as it may be: Life handed me lemons, so I was going to make lemonade. And there came the name for my blog and MS Walk team – “Making Lemonade.”
I’ve now chronicled almost seven years of my journey with MS
on my blog. Sometimes good, sometimes
bad, sometimes nothing. It’s a replay of
my personal story – specifics about medications or appointments, definitions of
MS terms, or just what’s happening in life.
But mostly, I try to convey a sense of positivity. This is very important to me. And I think ultimately affects how I live
In life, the only things you can control are your actions and your thoughts. MS is a huge part of my life, and has changed the person I am now, but it does not define me. I choose to be bigger than my MS.
Writing my blog pushed me to get further involved with the MS cause so I reached out to the MS Society and immediately signed up for the MS Walk. This has become my “thing” over the seven years I’ve participated. We make it fun – we wear crazy yellow outfits (hence the lemonade) and make it a positive experience. It’s hard to describe the intense emotion I get at MS Walks. It truly is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. The MS community is so strong, so supportive, and has helped me immensely. Having all those people together in one place, for one purpose is absolutely the best feeling.
Without question, the hardest part of my MS journey is also being a mother. The uncertainty about my life and my ability to take care of my children scares me the most. It’s difficult for them to understand when I need to say no to them or when I can’t do something physical with them. Or explaining how debilitating MS fatigue can be. When I think about what the future holds, I worry. Growing up with a perpetually sick mom has been a process They’ve had to adapt. And so have I.
It’s taken MS Society self-help groups, a lot of reading, and some therapy to get me to a place where I can accept my MS. Sometimes I need to be easier on myself; let the guilt go. Sometimes I need to enjoy the good days. Enjoy what I can do. And I do. This has been the most difficult aspect of having MS for me, with the steepest learning curve, but together, we’ve done it. And, for my future with my children, it’s been worth it. MS is now my “normal.” And that’s OK. And we all adapt and move forward. Life is about what you can do, not what you can’t.