Being Young with MS

As we all know, MS doesn’t have an “age limit”… It’s not very often you come across the younger generation that have disabling illnesses, so a lot of onlookers give you that “what the heck is wrong with her…” look.

I was 22 when I was diagnosed in August 2010 and I live in Central Texas. My life has completely changed since I was diagnosed. I know a lot of people who are my age and have MS or a lot of people with MS in general, worry about dating, marriage, kids, etc.

Well, I have two kids that are three and six and I’ve been married for almost seven years, so that’s not something I really had to think about for my future with MS but I can tell you this, being a young married couple with kids is hard enough and when you add MS into the mix, it is not an “easy life”.

I now have to worry about… what’s the temperature going to be like outside, are my kids contagious when they get sick, how am I going to clean the house or keep up with the laundry, the list goes on and on…

After I was diagnosed, my good “friends” were no longer… it was very hard for me to handle with everything I had going on in my life. Now I have come to realize, that they were never the friends I thought they were to begin with.

I had received my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice two-weeks before I was diagnosed with MS, I even had a job interview set with the county jail to be a correctional officer, but I was diagnosed the day before the interview when I was hit with a huge flare… I couldn’t take the written test because I couldn’t see straight.

I tried to go back to school for my Bachelors but during the first semester my GPA went from being Honors Level to barely meeting the minimum GPA requirements for the University. I decided that I needed a break from the stress and I didn’t want to ruin my GPA completely.

I have a handicapped-parking placard in my car and I don’t “like” to use it unless I really need to. When I have used my parking placard I see everyone staring and whispering (it reminds me of being back in high school)… I’ve even had people tell me, “You’re a disgrace for abusing your grandparent’s parking pass…”

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m not AS irritated with the ignorance of onlookers. I don’t get as upset or angry and I don’t lash back out at them anymore.

As for having a relationship and being young with MS… it’s a struggle but I’m glad that I have the support from my husband. Yes it’s stressful, but what relationship is perfect? I’ve told many other young people with MS that if the person you’re in a relationship with can’t stay in a relationship because of the strain of MS, then you may need to accept that and move forward and that goes for the friends issue as well.

I went from being a very active person, always outside… loving to do yard work and going to the lake, to being home a lot. I still TRY to do these things when I can, but lets face it, in the Texas heat… I’m a couch potato. I am now more focused on my life and well being than the drama of having fake friends and doing what “healthy” people my age do. I know that my choices on how I live my life now will reflect on what happens in my future and that’s the big picture. I don’t expect anyone my age without MS to understand that, and that’s okay.

MS has taught me many things… But most importantly it has taught me… If you live your life with negativity then that’s all that you will have surrounding you. But by embracing life for what it is, and making the most of everyday… You know you are doing everything you can, not only for yourself but also for those surrounding you to make this life the best it CAN be.

I’m not happy I was diagnosed with MS, who is… but I can say that I’m happier now with my life than I was before.

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Comments

  • Jeanne Miller says:

    I was diagnosed in May 1989. I had been able to stand and walk up until June 2011.

    I used to be very active in walking, cooking, and cleaning. I can’t drive anymore

    My husband and two of my kids help me as much as they can.

    I miss the old days of independence; I can’t help feeling that way.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Jeanne

    • Ashley says:

      Jeanne, thank you for replying to my blog. I’m glad to hear that you have a supportive family, I don’t know what I would do without mine. I think we all miss the days of our life before MS in general, I just feel that I was diagnosed for a reason and to make a difference. That’s what I strive to do everyday. Wishing you well in your continued journey. You can also check out MSWorld.org, this is where my support group is for MS.

      Best Wishes <3 Ashley

  • Caroline says:

    Great blig Ashley! I couldn’t agree more!

  • Caroline says:

    I meant blog…lol!

  • Beth says:

    I loved reading your story. Your situation is so similar to mine.

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