My On This Day Facebook app tells me that today is the second anniversary of my “coming out” with MS and I’d like to share that original post with you. I won’t preface this with an explanation of why I waited seven months to broaden my support system past family and a very select group of close friends, or why it was so important for me to finally “go public” (it’s all in the post below), but I do want to impress upon anyone who may be struggling with a major life change how important it is to get it out and establish a support system. If you’re comfortable, cast a wide net–while some people will disappoint you, others will come forward and truly surprise you. Don’t do it alone. Allow others to shine.
It’s a little bit surreal, reading this post I made two years ago. I remember how nervous I was, but how free and empowered I felt once it was out. I don’t know how Jamie-Lynn Sigler was able to do it for fifteen years!
I’ve kept quiet about something major going on in my life and I think I’m needing to come out of the closet. A handful of people are in the know and have been my source of sanity for the last seven months. However, I’m really struggling, emotionally and mentally, lately and I feel like some of that might be alleviated if I allow myself to discuss it openly. So, here it is:
This past June, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Yep. I went 29 years without a broken bone, stitches, allergies, surgery, or an overnight hospital stay. And now, according to doctors, my body is basically trying to eat itself.
These past seven months or so have been extremely trying. I’ve had invasive medical procedures performed, medical bills up the wazoo, been on scary medication, seen multiple specialists and integrative doctors–all with polar opposite opinions/diagnoses/treatment plans…
I’m overwhelmed and confused–far more than I let on. They tell me one of the best things to do is avoid stress. How, when I have multiple doctors with opposing views, telling me the others are completely wrong?
I’ve kept this (mostly) quiet because I don’t want to be “The Girl With MS.” It doesn’t define me and I won’t let it. As a friend (and fellow “bruised apple”) told me: “You have the disease; it doesn’t have you.” It’s just that now I feel like I have a label on my forehead and it’s just not one I can relate to.
I’ve also kept it quiet because I need positivity in my life. I can’t handle the sad puppy eyes, the immediate “I’m so sorry”, followed by an anecdote about someone’s best friend’s mom’s cousin’s college roommate’s dog groomer, who is currently in a wheelchair.
I’ve made myself into a hermit and I haven’t reached out to the people that HAVE known about this as much as I should’ve. Maybe I felt like I might be bothering them? At the same time, though, I’m not allowing my friends to be friends, if that makes sense.
So, there it is. I don’t want it to be a big deal, but I’m fine to talk about it, if anyone should ever ask me. I just needed to get it out.
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2 thoughts on “Coming Out Of The Closet”
Cat, so glad you opened the closet door. You turned the knob with bravery and eloquence…and in so doing, you began to educate your family and friends with the true meaning of living with MS. Your blog, “It’s Only A Bruise”, is well written, informative and let’s us know what it is like to live with an invisible disease. Applause, applause. Well done YOU!
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I love your writing style. I wish I could articulate my thoughts as well; but reading yours are cathartic. Several beliefs of mine are;
If you can’t change it, accept it
Attitude is everything
Everyone has “something”
God is good all the time; all the time, God is good
In my family, my eldest brother was diagnosed at 26 (chronic progressive ), and died 10 yrs later when he choked on food in 1984. I was diagnosed in 1986 at 28yo and have RR (invisible symptoms, but drop foot after 25 yrs). I’m still truckin’. My sister was diagnosed about 2yrs after me but probably had it much earlier. She has secondary progressive.
My saving grace is my faith in Jesus Christ.
Glad I ran across your blog. Keep the faith.