OTHERS

Multiple Sclerosis Struggles

Deven Townsel

The Big Shock

My life was really simple before my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. I was the kid in the classroom always doodling in his notebook, reading books, or talking. I was ALWAYS talking. I had dreams of becoming an animator for Disney or making comic books, but then life decided to drop a bomb instead of a curve ball.

After having a seizure on Christmas morning in 2007, I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) at the start of the new year. I wasn't aware of it but my life was suddenly about to change in ways I couldn't imagine.

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Dis-Ability?

I was never willing to accept my disability. I didn't want to be labeled, or looked at as different, just because I had changed. MS and seizures had become apart of my life, but it wasn't MY LIFE. No matter how many seizures I had, or how my symptoms changed I didn't want to be treated as different, I still wanted to be normal. But after a severe relapse caused my lesions to progress to my spine and my neurologist had admitted me to the hospital for physical and occupational therapy, I realized the harsh truth. This was my new normal.

Multiple Sclerosis Made Me Stronger

I was completely immobile from the waist down due to nerve damage. I relied on a wheelchair for daily activity, and I confined myself to my bedroom for an entire year. I couldn't handle all of the changes.  I wouldn't do any physical therapy exercises because it hurt too much, and I didn't want to get my hopes up. I didn't want to be reminded that things had changed, but I had to realize that there were a lot more people out there in the world who had it worst than me. Even if my friends rejected me, or left me, I owed myself more. I owed myself a good life, even if my dreams and abilities had to be adjusted.

Accepting Myself

After more physical therapy than I could count (including home exercises) I was able to walk again with the help of a cane. More importantly I was able to accept my disability was ok, whether I used a wheelchair or a cane. After connecting with a lot of new friends who also have MS, I was able to see that this disability doesn't have to be a struggle. Something I thought was the end of my world could actually be the beginning of something new. I saw people with all kinds of disabilities being successful, thriving, and actively living life joyfully. I knew that would be me, and no one would stop me.

What Now? 🤔

These days I am living my life and smiling every day. I won't lie I have my days with depression, but I don't focus on it. Instead I look for the bright side, focusing on what I have instead of what I've lost. I have a new lease on life thanks to my disability. I want to help people who're going through their own struggles with disability, and be an advocate for everyone that has a disability of any kind. My goal these days is to spread awareness that just because someone has a "disability" doesn't mean they can't do something, it just means they do things differently.

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