The MS Society of Ottawa sent out an email a little while ago suggesting to team captains that they should tell their story. Why do I walk the MS Walk? I walk because, for a while, I had forgotten how.
On December 31st, 2012, I woke to find that my world had changed. I was unable to walk very well. In fact, I could barely stand upright. I felt as if I was walking in an upside down world where nothing made sense. From that moment until August 21st, I had no idea what was wrong with me.
I had been diagnosed with Labyrinthitis, a disorder that affects the balance that is cause by trauma to the inner ear. It was supposed to go away in two weeks. I spent most of my time sitting on my couch when I could get to it or sleeping.
As the two weeks neared its end, I thought I would go out to dinner with an ex-boyfriend. We had take out Chinese food. I admit I over indulged quite a bit, but it was a treat to have food that wasn’t rice, saltines or chocolate pudding; those had been the only things I could keep down for two weeks.
The Chinese food turned out to be a horrible mistake. I woke up in the night and was horribly sick. I just remember vomiting everything up. It just kept coming and when I thought I was done, it would continue. In the morning, the imbalance had returned with a vengeance and I could barely lift my head upright. My dad came to get me to bring me home and for the next three weeks, I slept.
The left side of my face went completely numb as did my left hand. I felt like Two-Face from Batman. Though I could have thought of a few more super heroes’ I would have rather been. I had also lost all the hearing in my left ear and I had gone partially blind.
I could see, but only just. It was as if someone had placed several layers of plastic over my eyes. Everything was blurry and I had a hard time reading. Bathing with no balance was a chore. Someone would come every day to make sure I didn’t fall or hurt myself as I had no balance. I had to be helped in and out of the bath.
I remember trying to go back to work after a month and a half pretty much housebound. I had to learn to walk again with the help of a cane. I could see, but only just. Taking a bus was a frightening. I had no balance on a moving vehicle and kept falling into people. Thankfully they were very nice about it.
It was when I lost the power of speech and the ability to type that my boss sent me to the hospital where my mother was waiting to meet me. The words were there, waiting in my mouth to be spoken, but I could only get one out of every five out. Likewise, my brain knew the words that it wanted my hands to type, but I couldn’t get my fingers to go where I wanted them to. There was a blockage somewhere.
I had known that something was wrong. We all know our own bodies, right? Since December 31st, I knew it wasn’t just the Cerebral Palsy I was born with. It was something deeper. We were lucky that there was a neurologist on staff in the emergency room that night. He said he had an idea of what it was, but they would have to run some test to be sure.
On August 21st, 2013, eight months after the whole ordeal had started, I found out what I was carrying inside of me. The neurologist gave it a name. He said I had Multiple Sclerosis. This news came the day before my birthday.
Some people said that that was a horrible thing to happen right before my birthday but I didn’t think so. It had a name now. I knew the name of what I would be fighting against.
It’s been a long haul to get to where I am now and many dark times where I almost gave up. When I did the MS Walk in 2014, I almost didn’t think I would be able to do it. By the end of 3KM, I was shaky and spent. But I had done it.
So I went back in 2015 and will go back on Sunday April 24th to do it again. I walked 5KM last year and will do so again this year. And the year after that…
I walk for everyone that can’t. I walk so that, one day, there will be a cure. I walk to show myself I can. I walk to prove that miracles can and do happen. I walk because I had forgotten how.
So this year, on Sunday April 24th, won’t you come and walk with me? Click below to walk with The Wolf Pack. It’s guaranteed to be a fun day (though last year was a little too cold for my taste!)
Or, if you can’t walk with us, consider donating to my team. Every penny helps fund research to help end MS and find a cure.
Click below to learn more
And in the meantime, keep on walking.