#3 - I am FREE

Freedom! Freedom! I can't move 
Freedom, cut me loose! 
Freedom! Freedom! Where are you? 
Cause I need freedom too! 

The Beginning Stages of MS 

Stage one- CONFUSION 
In the earliest stage, you might experience new symptoms you've never felt before.  It might be tingling in your arms or legs, tremors, vertigo, or muscle spasms.  You go to your general doctor and he says you are just getting old.  You see a chiropractor because you think you have a pinched nerve.  You see an orthopedic doctor because your knee hurts.  Then your ankle hurts.  You bounce around from doctor to doctor and nobody can figure out what is wrong with you. 

Stage two- SHOCK 
After several MRIs you finally get the news.  You have MS.  You are in shock.  You are not exactly sure of what it is.  When you get home, you google and webMD what multiple sclerosis is.  Then you break down and cry because you believe MS is basically a death sentence.  It's only a matter of time until you are in a wheelchair.  Your world starts to crumble. 

Stage three- DENIAL 
You convince yourself that you are just fine.  You don't tell anybody what you are going through.  Who knows?  Maybe it's a mistake and your symptoms will go away.  No need to overreact and say something you might regret.  You are able to hide your symptoms easily.  Maybe you will wake up tomorrow and find out it was all just a terrible dream. 

Stage four- MOURNING 
Now there is no denying it.  Your symptoms won't go away.  Sometimes you get something called relapses and you don't know if it's going to get better or worse.  You have lost all control of your body.  You start to go through depression.  You question why this is happening to you, what you did to deserve this, and what you can do to fix it.  Nobody has any answers. You start to reach out to your closest friends.  They don't have any answers and they don't understand what you are going through because in their eyes, you look just fine.  You start your MS medication and you absolutely despise it.  It requires you to inject yourself three times a week and every time you do it, a piece of you dies inside.  Of course there are risks and side effects, and even through all the trial and errors, it's still not going to cure your condition.  You haven't told anybody because you fear they might look and treat you differently.  You are not the same person you were before and things will never be the same again. 

Stage five- ACCEPTANCE. 
At this point you have accepted the fact that your symptoms are not going to go away.  You have started paying closer attention to your body and are starting to learn what to do when certain things happen.  You know when you need to drink water, when you need to take a break, and when you need to breathe.   In some ways your symptoms are starting to show.  People see you limping and ask you what's wrong, but you still can't tell them the truth.  As each day passes, the pressure keeps building until you can't take it any longer.  You finally expose yourself to the world and are able to say it out loud.  I am living with MS. 

Stage six- BLISS 
The thing that happens next is something you never would have imagined.  Love.  The world welcomes you  and uplifts you with the most supportive, unconditional love that you've never felt before.  Probably since the day you came into this world.   A huge weight has been lifted off of your chest.  The beautiful love and compassion you start to receive makes you wonder why you didn't tell people from the very beginning.  You are reborn into something stronger and hopefully better than before.  Most importantly, you feel alive again. 

"God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.  On the other side of your maximum fear are all of the best things in life." ~Will Smith 

I break chains all by myself 
Won't let my freedom rot in hell 
Hey! I'ma keep running 
Cause a winner don't quit on themselves

Song on rotation: "Freedom" by Beyonce


** Written in 2017, Reposted 2022 ***

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