It was New Years Eve 2019. I had been in the hospital all day, with people coughing all around me, and a body that was numb from the waist down. When the doctor finally saw me and said, “I'm sorry Miss John, you have multiple sclerosis." I collapsed. Even though I had already heard it could be a possibility, to officially hear the diagnosis was too much. I had a new job, a two-year-old, all these redonculous wedding plans with my partner. And now I had a body that was fighting itself.
I told my partner candidly, "If you want to go, it's okay. You're marrying me because you love me. I don’t want this to transition into you marrying a patient.” He told me. "Love, this is what this is, and we're going to have to power through.” That night, we just held each other and cried.
For months I lived in survival mode. Racial tensions were already high, and then Covid broke out. My MS symptoms made it hard to live. I was only doing the basics. I was functioning, of course, I still had to parent. I had to work and do all these other adulting things. But life felt heavy.
Around April-May, I said, “All right. I’ve got to pick up the pieces. I don't have the luxury to be this upset all the time and still try to function.” Processing my emotions was the biggest thing that helped me. It took a lot of self-evaluation. A lot of looking onto the internet for answers. A lot of crying and anger. It’s what drove me to get to the point of, look, this is life. Even if I cry every day, MS is not going anywhere. Once I was able to get my emotions under control, I could start looking for the good.
I didn’t know anyone brown that had MS. I wondered where my little chocolate face was going to fall in the MS community. I started a website and social media pages to show representation where it is lacking. I became passionate about sharing my MS experience. At first, I was nervous about being so candid about my condition in such an open place. But, the MS community has been great. They have been so open and accepting. It has been a refreshing change