Georgia Chapter Member's Corner
Here we take the time to share the courageous stories of our members, get comfy and enjoy the amazing story of Faye
MY MS, MY STORY
In April 2008 my neurologist ordered a spinal tap to confirm his diagnosis…
I HAD MS! I heard the words but I am not sure I even knew what they meant. I honestly didn't know a lot about the disease. I explained to my neurologist that MS had been ruled out by another neurologist just two months prior. A week later my spinal tap confirmed it and my MRI now showed four lesions on my brain and one on my spine.
I don't remember crying, I don't remember being scared, I just remembered being ANGRY and then came the depression. On the outside I was "functioning" but inside I was falling apart. I stayed in that state for the better part of the year.
I didn't want to be a victim. I didn't want anyone feeling sorry for me. I didn't want anyone to think I was weak. I'm not sure if it was obvious to friends and family but I checked out.
A few months after starting on a disease modifying therapy to treat my MS, while surfing the web I noticed an ad for Walk MS - Atlanta in Piedmont Park. Unfortunately it was the same date I was to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding so I could not participate. I was relieved; I had a great excuse to stay checked out.
In April 2010 I called the National MS Society, Georgia Chapter to donate to
Walk MS. I decided that I did not want to walk because I wasn't ready for everyone in my life to know I had this disease. The staff person simply asked me "who are you donating for?" and I remember saying, almost in a whisper, "ME."
I realized at that moment that except for a few people I was keeping this disease a secret and I had just admitted it to myself...I HAVE MS. The staff person suggested that I send emails to close family and friends asking for donations to support Walk MS. Within hours not only did people donate, some actually joined a team. I now had a team... Caribbean Sistahs Against MS. I had no idea what I was doing but I managed to raise $1,500 and my team raised another $1,500, however, most people still didn't know that I had MS.
It wasn't until the following year while on vacation in L.A. my friend sent an email that she started a New York Walk MS team and then email after email after email... more friends signed up to walk. I finally cried and then I could not stop crying. I felt a weight lifted from me immediately. I posted on Facebook that same day and thanked my friends for their support. I also thanked them for being the voice I couldn't find in myself. I had finally "checked back in" and I was no longer ashamed of having this disease.
I now have two Walk MS teams, one in Atlanta and one in New York named BFF’s Against MS because I walk with all my Best Friends Forever (BFF) and they walk with me. We were no longer just 'Caribbean Sistahs'. Together, we have raised over $50,000 and now we also walk in memory of one of my friend's moms who passed away in 2011 after fighting MS for years. The only way I can honor her memory is to walk alongside her son, my BFF.
MS has tried to take a lot from me over the years, but in the process, I've found my voice and more importantly I have found peace. My life is forever changed but MS no longer controls me. I walk because I CAN and for others that can't.
I am the face of MS.
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