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 seems to surround 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. As the years passed my symptoms deteriorated and became 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 has 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 believes it is fighting something — an infection, a toxin, an allergen, a food or the stress response. As someone 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 my body’s response to long term exposure to anger and fear. This had produced the ‘fight or flight’ chemicals that cause inflammation which in turn causes pain, or worse, causes our immune system to attack itself and misread 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…