Today I watched a movie called, The Cabin in the Woods (not the greatest movie), which was the movie I watched when I returned home from the hospital after getting an MS diagnosis two years ago. It reminded me of that moment. “Kayla, you have Multiple Sclerosis.”
Those were the words that forever changed my life. I was scared, confused and alone. What’s MS? Am I dying? What’s going to happen to me? I’m sure those same questions were asked by almost everyone who heard the same words I did. When I returned home, my house was filled with friends, family, a lot of tears and a lot of “I’m so sorry, Kayla.” I really hope no one felt like this, but I felt like my house was a funeral home, and even though my friends and family meant no harm, they made me feel even more scared.
Weeks went by and I got over the shock. So I began to educate myself and realized that MS isn’t how it used to be anymore. I’m not dying and I won’t be in a wheelchair in 5 years. I can still grow up, finish my education, get into a career, get married and have as many children as I want. I can live a normal life. It’s not a death sentence. But it is a life sentence. I was left with two options; let it destroy me or let it strengthen me.
It’s tough, but I learned that you don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. I was still so sad that I had an illness that doctors couldn’t cure. Being the social media geek I am, I connected and built such amazing friendships with other MSers all over the world on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It was so inspiring to see all the comfort, support and positivity that runs through the MS community. I saw a instagram post that said “How to be happy: Wake up every morning and tell yourself you’re in a good mood.” It inspired me to attempt it and see if it would make a difference.
So I woke up one morning and said, “Kayla, you are happy.” And now, two years later, I still say it every day, because I am happy. There are so many things in life to be happy about. I have an education, a loving family, great friends, food on the table every day and a roof over my head. And for all of that I will always have a smile on my face. Yes, MS is a total bummer and it has it’s effects on us every day, but be happy with life. Teach yourself that positive thoughts are happy thoughts and when you’re happy, you will find your smile.