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12 February 2019

Living in spite of the unknown

“I took the leap. And you can too. Don’t hold back because of MS.” Chris shares her story.

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in May 2017, three months after starting a new job, and at the same time I was realizing I was gay.

This was a lot to happen at once. To make matters more complicated, I was married. To a man. And we’d just bought a house.

Diagnosis and Coming Out

Since you are here, reading a blog on the Overcoming MS website, it is most likely true that you know what being diagnosed with MS is like. The multi-layered feelings that come with such a life-changing diagnosis: disbelief, fear, panic, relief and confusion, all of which can lead us to make some major decisions.

Realizing I was gay and that I had to end my relationship took a few months. I was in denial and scared. Part of coming out meant leaving a safe and secure long-term relationship, and for someone from a violent home, being in a stable relationship was a daily comfort – and a really difficult one to give up.

The unpredictable nature of multiple sclerosis is something that many people with MS (PwMS) consider when making major life decisions. Should I take this job that will require a lot of physical work? Should I travel now in case I can’t later? Do I leave safety for happiness?

Finding Overcoming MS

As soon as I received the diagnosis from my neurologist, I started googling everything I could about MS and how to treat it. Thankfully, I found the Overcoming MS program pretty quickly. As a vegan of a few years and a committed yogi, I knew that this way of life was the right path for me. I immediately bought George Jelinek’s Overcoming MS book, started taking vitamin D supplements, and bought a big bottle of flax oil from the local health food store. I jumped in head first.

Reading all of the stories of PwMS on the 7-step program who were doing well many years later, not just not in wheelchairs but running marathons, working full time, and living their best lives, gave me hope. I was now optimistic and starting to feel better with all of the increased exercise and leafy greens in my life, and decided it was time to truly live.

Finally Living

In December 2017, seven months after my MS diagnosis, I moved out of the house I shared with my spouse and started the divorce process. It was terrifying. It took a lot of energy to find an apartment, to come out to friends, coworkers, and family, to change my perception of myself entirely.

Without the OMS program, I might not be as happy as I am now. I’m in love with an amazing woman, working on my writing career, travelling the world, and crossing things off of my bucket list at every chance I get.

I took the leap. And you can too. Don’t hold back because of MS.