For those who do not know me, I routinely enjoy over stepping my bounds. That is my nature and what comes naturally to me. If there are three roads and one is definitely the hardest, I will choose road three exclusively. Growing up, I enjoyed sports and competition which fueled my love of taking on the hardest task, but it could be the other way around? Whatever the matter, I figured my love of overcoming and thriving no matter the case would serve me well in life.
In April of 2012, I had become obsessed with kickboxing, and would go to the gym every night to get into better shape. I was thirty, and maybe this was my mid-life crises? After a month or so of over the top workouts, I awoke one morning to my midsection being completely numb. I figured I had pulled a muscle during a workout and thought nothing of it. On the third day, my wife convinced me to go to the hospital and have it looked into.
I never thought that something that seemed so simple would come with a six day hospital stay with numerous tests being performed. I had at least four MRI’s, at least two cat scans, and even a spinal tap. By this point I figured something was happening and my entire family had become worried about what was going on.
On the fourth day of the six, I was surprised when a neurosurgeon came to my room to inform me of my condition, and what all these tests had proven. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), but being that it was the first “event” it could not be entitled MS until I came in for another test, hence the multiple in its title.
So here I am, with MS and the inability to express any other symptoms as that will come with the consequence of a life changing decision. Upon a second test, not only will all my insurance rates go up, it will be on my official record and will have a dynamic impact on my life. Luckily for me, my symptoms are manageable and I feel like I will overcome this new challenge. Even though it has now been five years of living with this condition, my only concern is mental capacity, as Tiff will be the one that will have to deal with that. We will have an autistic son and a father/husband who is starting to lose his war with MS. This to me is biggest fear.
I tried the medication at the very start of my diagnosis, which was not official yet. The medication I started on made me extremely nauseous and I would routinely throw up while at work. I then made the conscious decision to “man up” about it and just live with the condition and prove that the medication was in fact worse for a person rather than choosing to live without it. A half decade in with no medication and I still have symptoms but I rise above them and do the best I can for our family. I have seen people who have taken medication for some time for their MS and how large of an impact the MS has taken in their lives. I still feel alright but only time will tell if I am being foolish for taking no medication?
My love of overcoming is probably what fuels me on a daily basis. My job, for instance is not the easiest one. I am the purchasing manager for a small manufacturing company here in Phoenix. It often gets above 100 degrees for about what feels like 5-6 months. Heat is a big issue for my MS, as it really does impact my numbness and leads to migraines on a fairly common basis. I enjoy doing my job, which is not ideal with my condition like nothing is wrong, even though the impact is much more than the people I work with will ever know.
In summation, every person has a cross to bear and this is mine. What defines us is not how we take a punch, but how we react to it. While my condition worries me for my wife’s future, I am more than determined to prove the odds wrong and show that MS is nothing but as small crutch people use to define them and what they can or cannot do. If something in life gets you down or makes you feel like giving up, I think that it is human nature to rise above and shine. Life will never be easy, despite what some people’s Facebook accounts will portray. The question then becomes how do we take the punch and respond to the punch that life will continue throwing at us?