Mission Stadiums for Multiple Sclerosis

My MS Story by Lissette Galarza

“Dear Multiple Sclerosis,

 

I wish I did not have you. I wish I did not feel you every day or every hour. However, thank you for making me appreciate what I have; for pushing me to do better and be better. If you could kindly leave, I would love that and appreciate it. But if you decided to stay with me for the rest of my life, I will not give up. You are just along for the ride.”

Love with not so much love, Lissette. 

Multiple Sclerosis.

Those two words alone leave you pondering.
Multiple things come to mind – not to be puny.
It literally gives me multiple sensations – physically, mentally, medically, emotionally.

 

Most who have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) have a similar story like they knew something was wrong. For a LONG time. Most thought it might be anxiety, shrugged it off as if it was something normal, or thought they were just tired. Then BOOM they were diagnosed. Even though we all have similarities, there are differences. One thing I know to be true is we also have a CHOICE – a choice to LIVE or to let life pass us by. We are MS Warriors and I take that to heart because just like all the rest we have goals, dreams, and ambitions with a side of an MS obstacle.

Now I get that life is NOT EASY. We are all dealt with difficult circumstances day by day. We ALL have multiple things happening. But I began to rewire myself during these times figuring out that I am my own problem and yet my own solution.

At the age 14, I mixed up puberty with my MS symptoms. Growing up in a Hispanic household, culture, and atmosphere left me thinking my symptoms are a common thing or just puberty. I felt like my tremors and constant nausea came from anxiety, that my bones hurt (nerves) because I was growing and of course everyone had headaches. When you sit on your legs, they fall asleep but mine never woke up. I felt crazy going to the doctor. Having a busy schedule at a young age and all, I just thought it was the stress. From being in multiple sports, clubs, having a “job” and insane busy weekends. I remember one time my mom changed my school because I would constantly faint. Excuse after excuse and no answers. I let it be. I let it go. I did not want any medical attention because they never found the answers.

After moving to college, it gradually got worse. From back pain, to brain fog, insomnia, cognitive issues, then alas vision loss. 2013 was a tough cookie but I ate it.

I was told many things during this time; drop out of school, go back to my family, I wouldn’t walk soon, that my life is now a disability. NO, no because I still have control of my life, I still want to live. We take our life and health for granted until it’s no longer there or we missed the “opportunity to do it”.

I went on a quest for inspiration, for motivation, for someone to tell me that I WILL BE OKAY. Even though I had my family; I felt alone, unsupported and misunderstood. Going to support groups did not help, it was negative. My search was difficult, that was when I decided to be that role model and my own advocate.

I consistently went to physical therapy and applied for studies just to learn more about what I had and find my capabilities. I set up milestones and had to rebuild myself. Saying to myself “What else can I improve upon? What else can I do?”

I might not be able to control the uncontrollable. I can however control how I react and relate to it. Realizing that we all have journeys, and this is just my journey. If I can make a small difference to someone, just one person to realize their truest potential and make a positive impact I will be happy with that.

I have always wanted to be a strong person; I like getting out of my comfort zone. Basically, I seek discomfort because within that discomfort I grow, I see, I learn, I do. I did so many things while I “felt sick” so why not keep doing it?

I fall so many times in all aspects in life; medically, physically, and emotionally but if you have ever heard of “fall down seven times get back up eight” I will keep falling and I WILL keep getting back up. Medications and MS did slow me down but WILL NOT stop me. I love the outdoors, I have a huge passion of being an active person from trail running, hiking, backpacking, crazy fanatic of sunrises, sunsets and nature. I broke my mental barrier slowly and the I cannot do this changed to I CAN DO EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING I SET MY MIND TO with or without MS. So here I am this year 2020, I hiked more than I have ever hiked before. As I was doing my typical jog, I struggled and cried because I felt weak and sick and thought of someone special in my life. She was recently diagnosed with MS and it led me to wonder if I could do a half marathon for her? I never wanted her to feel defined by MS. Many half marathons later I signed up to do a full Ironman. It is something I have been wanting to do for years. Why not?! Why not me?! I see myself doing ultramarathons, I see myself crossing the finish line of an Ironman, I see myself doing many things because no matter what I will still find a way to do it. That is how it should be.

Do whatever it is you want to do, work for it and work on yourself. Never give up, do whatever you can do for yourself. That is where it’s really at. It is so important not to let what happens in life’s journey define you, but it can shape you.

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