I never get sick. People can be dropping like flies about me with all manner of infections and viruses but their germs are never able to penetrate the cloak of super-immunity that surrounds me. And yet on 22 September 2016, at age fifty-six I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
It began with a vague weakness in my right leg accompanied by a corresponding tightness of the gluteal muscle in my left buttock. Nothing major, but as the years passed my symptoms deteriorated and inter-mingled with the nightmare of menopause. What started as little more than a weird sensation escalated into a perplexing and disabling condition that took four years to be diagnosed.
Initially I was puzzled as to why I had fallen victim to MS. No-one in my family had it. I didn’t know anybody with it. In fact I knew virtually nothing about the disease at all. Yet as I uncovered more and more by reading, by observing my own body’s reactions, and just by observing my own thought processes (both past and present), a light began to turn on.
MS falls into a group of diseases known as ‘auto-immune’ disorders where the immune system launches an attack on its own body believing it is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response. As an empath who readily absorbs the negative energy of others and who has experienced psychologically manipulative relationships in the past, I knew that in my case, it was the latter.
Long term exposure to the body’s fight or flight chemicals causes inflammation which in turn causes pain, or worse, causes our immune system to attack itself because it misreads the inflammation as being caused by a disease it needs to eradicate.
Everyone’s auto-immune story is unique, and this my story of how my own shame, guilt and fear caused me to embark on an eventful journey that I believe, led me to develop MS…