Living in Spite of the Unknown

February 4, 2019


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 OMS 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 OMS 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 of 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.

Chris lives in Connecticut with her cat, Bez. You can follow her on Instagram at @chriscerillo. 






12 thoughts on ‘Living in Spite of the Unknown

  1. Chris, thank you for sharing your story. You’ve got the right attitude and courage, that’s 50% of the recipe/battle for success. Your strength, resourcefulness, will and tenacity are the other 50% of my “whatever works” plan. Fyi, As MS progresses and you’re forced to accept and learn about the systemic complications know that there are thousands of us here to support you and share our survival techniques. Well wishes, Lee in Seattle

  2. Hi Chris,
    Loved reading your story, I understand the stress of all that has happened to you as I have been through all the same things. I feel so hopeful for your future as you are such a positive person. Keep it up and stay healthy.
    Regards Maree

  3. My Dear Chris,
    Very good day….wow!!! It’s very crucial to say that you’ve done a great job! It became a milestone to Explore some one..

  4. Hi Chris – well done for sharing all aspects of your story. I was diagnosed nearly four years ago. After a brief period in denial, I discovered OMS and have followed the pathway ever since. It works.

  5. Well done Chris and thanks for sharing, v unlucky to get MS when you were vegan , unless you were a bit of a junk food vegan before? All the best

  6. Well done Chris, a couple of big adjustments for you at the same time! I was pescetarian with a tendency to binge on cheese (though overall reducing dairy) before adopting the Overcoming MS diet, luckily it wasn’t hard to do as I was on that track already.

    I am considering a career change from a stressful office-based job to something more physical. I lead 0-5k running groups for women, and I find that so rewarding I’m looking to make physical activity more of a career and move into Exercise on Referral – working with people for whom increasing physical activity would have a real impact on their health. It’s going to be a long road to get there but I’m going to take it step by step. I’m concerned it would be a big drop in pay for me as well – and what if my health gets worse? But helping people to increase fitness, watching them learn, seeing their breakthroughs, really makes my heart sing in a way nothing else has yet.

    I love your vest, and your hat by the way – is it hand knit? That used to be my main way to relax before I discovered running 🙂

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