The Reflection. (MS)

Hi Everyone🧡

I wanted to share a little bit more about how I was feeling mentally/physically with my initial MS diagnosis..so this will get pretty personal/emotional/sensitive, you name it. With everything that was happening so fast at the time, it was difficult to really stop & take it all in..


 

ACCEPTANCE

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I am so used to being on the go & not having anything limit me from living.. so, it was very difficult to adjust. Especially, when I progressively lost my eyesight in my LEFT EYE. Sounds so stupid & such a 'DUH moment'.. but having both of your eyes to see is so essential for living. But of course, life goes on.. I could tell that the only vision I had to use was learning to compensate for the vision loss (fight or flight response), I could also tell that this one sense I had was getting stronger. Throughout everything, once I started experiencing all these symptoms. The first initial thing I did was look up whatever I could find on it.. all I really wanted was peace of mind & answers. Especially since I wasn't getting them right away. But once the Ophthalmologist placed my case as an EMERGENCY that's when everything was speeding up & it became more real as the days passed. It's pretty strange how it all happened.. since it was so sudden, I really thought this was just a minor thing.. & it would go away on its own. But deep down in the back of my mind I knew something.. something that with everything going on clouded my judgement. Maybe I was scared? Idk.

Before I was diagnosed with possible MS I do recall reading up on MS, based on my symptoms. I was told.. stop looking for stuff. But once I did the brain MRI -- my boyfriend mentioned, " Maybe it is good to aware yourself about it.. just in case if it were true. You'd be prepared." (I appreciate his realistic advice) Strangely, it was so true.. it actually helped me take the news a little easier when it came. No surprises just learning to accept. My first reaction was just shock & lots of tears..  I thought I was this healthy girl, wouldn't have ever thought something was wrong if it weren't for my episode. When re-visiting symptoms, it is crazy how I was facing symptoms that I didn't even know I had then.. I can specifically say it was all stress-related that triggered my flare ups for me. The doctor's say it was caused by a viral infection (Possibly.. There is a deadly virus going around unfortunately.) As much as possible, i'm trying to live a stress-free life.. because 'worrying' was all I ever did this previous year..

The news was manageable to accept because I didn't feel sick.. it didn't feel completely real to me at the time. I wouldn't say I was in denial either.. in the back of my mind, I knew. All until I started feeling body aches, slurred speech everything i've experienced during my neurology evaluation. That's when I really knew I am a MS patient.. the symptoms became more apparent.

To be honest, I was still 50/50 with all of this. Selfish but also understanding? I did have a hard time accepting it at first because I was filled with anger & disappointment. So many what if's and scenarios running through my head. This was the year I was going to start school again & get my life right.. then MS happened. Before this happened, I was the selfless one doing the 'helping' not the one receiving the help. That was my purpose. Everything was so 'new' to me.. I hated the thought of being helpless. I know it isn't my fault but I felt guilt or like I was letting people down. I felt more concern for the individuals in my life & kept telling them that MS not only affects me but them too.. the strength in me knew, I could handle this. But what about my family & my boyfriend? As much as possible since my diagnosis I keep mentioning that I want/need to live life as normally as possible.. i'm most positively sure that I will be, with strength & a positive attitude.. I would just have a to adjust to a "new normal" .  I didn't want this to be a dramatic change in my life that hinders me from living life to the fullest. Yes, it is life-long & there is no cure. But I am extremely thankful.. for everything. That we were able to catch this now & get the proper care to prevent any worsening MS. Trust me, it could be worse & that's how I have to look at it as.. I consider myself to be lucky.

  • I could've been paralyzed.
  • I could've lost vision in BOTH of my eyes.
  • I'm still young & the sooner I can treat this right away.. the better.

I've spoken to friends about my diagnosis & many of them wouldn't have even guessed something was wrong with me.. because I felt so normal & my spirit was so high. Everything that is going on, I don't ever want to lose sight of  my positive attitude..I take the most pride in how I have managed to carry myself throughout all of this. I know I will have my days but I also know I will be ok. I'm hanging in there & taking it day by day. This is just a bump in the road, not a complete setback. I feel that the only way to be.. is positive in this case. If I turn negative.. i'll lose myself & I can't have that. I have to be strong. All the blood work (I hate getting blood drawn) & imaging..it just needs to be done! Definitely, teaching me patience..


GOD

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During my brain MRI I just laid there as still as I could, tearing up because I felt I had a sign from God.. I thought of my deceased grandmother & that she was telling me  "It is going to be ok anako (my child)." I didn't know how to take the sign as.. good or bad? As far as news. Something was telling me, nothing is wrong.. Grandma's got me. Another thing was.. If something is wrong.. Grandma's got me. I felt her presence & love.. it was so strong that morning.

On December 31, 2017 I posted a picture for the New Year along with the caption "Going into the New Year with a reminder that, God is leading you somewhere. No matter how happy or sad you are. No matter what's going on in your life, everything is the way it is for a reason. Have saith in his plan. God's got you." when I look back, I find it is so ironic of me to post something unintentionally not realizing that God had already determined my fate.. It was like he was speaking to me. I took all of these as reasons and not coincidences. These were all signs of God.

I have been praying so much, I've changed my lifestyle, I'm willing to try everything & comply.. After learning about my MS I've gotten closer to God on a spiritual level. As a disciple of God this has helped me cope with my MS so much.. "GOD WOULDN'T GIVE US ANYTHING WE COULDN'T HANDLE.. GOD CHOSE ME TO FIGHT, SO I WILL FIGHT FOR GOD." God is teaching me something and this whole thing has been a learning experience.. it made me look at life differently. I've become more appreciative and learning patience, I've grown closer in relationships. I am learning first-hand through God. God is shaping me into becoming a more better person..everything that God and MS is trying to teach  me throughout this journey, is a lesson I need to learn. This really makes me take a step back & wonder..What is this teaching me? Is it necessary for me? & What can I take from this?

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We have done everything in the power of prayer to keep my spirit and faith strong. I grew up Catholic tradition so i've always turned to God with love. Attended prayers and novenas in my honor and many others also held prayers out of state/country for me.. I'm filled with so much gratitude. Just about a 45-60 minute drive on the old California Highway my family & I visited a healing mass one Sunday at a church called St. Therese in Tecopa, California..this particular day was the blessing of Santo Niño . So many people gathered to pay a dedication/novena for healing. It was a great experience to witness. Not your traditional mass but more of a celebration. It was something I've never witnessed before. I was filled with so much emotion.. After mass, I was also blessed by the Father to pray for me & my diagnosis.

 

“Seeing a miracle will inspire you, but knowing you are a miracle will change you.”

My family & I attended a devotional prayer to "Our Lady of Lourdes" also known as Mother Mary. This day I learned a lot & how much Lady of Lourdes is so relevant to my life..

Background story: God sent the Blessed Mother to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes to show the world that she is real. Mary asked the girl to dig in the dry ground for a spring of healing water. Bernadette dug on faith and uncovered the spring. In Lourdes, France there is a landmark of holy water for miraculous healing.

During mass I was sitting there & it really hit home, that we were attending this 'anointing of the sick' mass for me because usually we just attend masses for prayer.. but this one was so specific & it was the most educational and beautiful mass I've ever witnessed. Before I was born, my family went to visit Lourdes, France along with the fountain. I did not know this but 2 months after their visit to Lourdes, on Valentine's Day my mother had found out she was pregnant with me.. (me & my brother are a 11 years apart) which is why they called me a "miracle baby" & how Our Lady of Lourdes gave my family a miracle. The Father blessed each of us with the holy water from Lourdes from his last visit in September (My birthday is in September) he was also so kind to give me my own bottle of holy water from Lourdes and anointed me with oil.


SUPPORT

When I was diagnosed, my research continued.. I enrolled as a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. There are many people who walk amongst us with MS that you would never know they were diagnosed. I don't know anyone personally with MS.. but I want to be involved in support groups and be aware of MS as much as possible. I found Facebook support groups & am currently looking in the Las Vegas community. I know I need to be apart of an organization that can help me get through this.. you can never get too much support.  Especially something health related..

  • Everyone has been so supportive.. Immense gratitude for my parents/family & boyfriend (they are my #1 supporters) They have been there for me throughout this WHOLE THING.. the Dr. appointments, blood work & infusions. Getting me all the help I need in quick time.. having me be seen by a specialist although appointments were booked until April. I don't know what I would've done without them. Thank you for being so strong for me.. I love you.
  • My nephew, JENSON O’NEILL. Throughout all of this, my nephew is so inspirational. He has kept me strong & he doesn’t even know it... this baby boy is a miracle blessing for my family and has gone through so much at such a young age. Jenson is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy & has shown so much improvement with his therapy. I am so proud! Whenever I get down and need uplifting I always remind myelf.. “be strong like Jenson” thank you Jenson, for being auntie’s hero! I love youu.
  • Special THANKS to all the healthcare professionals and services that have taken such great care of me during my diagnosis and treatments.
  • Thank you to EVERYONE for all your continued love & prayers during this difficult time.. appreciation is an understatement. Along with all the church services/novenas held in my honor.

 


I believe I am stronger from this through everyone's thoughtful blessings. I have experienced some minor altercations, but as a result I know this is something I need.. It is time to take care and focus on myself. Any mishaps or assumptions I am now looking at this from a different perspective that everything happens for a reason.. & that I have to worry about myself now. To let go of any nonsense & just embrace it.. just because I don't have a "serious case of MS" where I am "paralyzed"..MS is MS and everyone's MS is different, only I can be the judge of my illness. My days start and end with me & the support that stands alongside me. I will do whatever is best for my well being & try my best to not let anxiety harm me..

Xo, Risha