It comes every year. You would think its significance would diminish with time. But it doesn't. 17 years ago on Feb 11, after 3 years of not knowing, of wondering if this was all in my head, it came. "You have multiple sclerosis." So it has been 20 years.
The year I was diagnosed is mostly a dark blur that others recall. I lived in a dark room of a dorm, on the third floor, with my roommate Jenny, in Ohio, so far away from my parents in Colorado. I remember the college party-types down the hall who had no idea how often I was going for tests or how exhausted and alone I felt. I remember losing my balance and falling during Christmas break, hitting my head and getting stitches. I remember taking my first Economics class and that being the highlight of the year. I remember asking our pastor for help shortly after my diagnosis. I remember praying with him and the church secretary. I remember that being the first time I really felt God. It was strong... I felt held.
I remember going home early for spring break, telling a professor it was due to health problems, and him saying happily, "Well then, it will get better." I remember feeling like a knife just jabbed me in the stomach.
I remember going home for spring break and sitting by a stream. I remember the water flowing, and watching the water. It continued to flow, slowing changing course at times, but never stopping. And I remember deciding that is how I wanted to live my life.
I remember the Easter after being diagnosed, that I was able to run again. I ran down a hill in the crisp morning air and felt the freshness of Spring all around me. A woman drove past in her car, rolled down her window, and with great enthusiasm, yelled "Happy Easter!"
So, 20 years later, I live. It is better to know something is wrong than to think you're making it up. I always wanted to be a mom, and I got to be a mom. That is an incredible gift. I wanted to run as long as I could, and I did. I wanted to find alternatives for things I could no longer do, and I have. I wanted to continue to be me. And I am still me. I'm a wife, a mom, an athlete, someone who loves music, someone who won't quit, and someone who believes that God has been with me this whole time, good and bad.