This is a story about a woman named Maria. Some time ago, Maria was working in sales for a large company. As we all know, sales can be a demanding and stressful job. Maria’s everyday routine had become difficult because she had to deal with rude clients, traffic and a very strict boss, who put a lot of pressure on her to up her sales. Maria, had headaches, sleep problems and no social life. She felt like an ”exhausted robot.”
Then one day she had numbness in her fingers. At first she didn’t pay attention to it, thinking it was caused by her carrying a very heavy briefcase. Meanwhile, the numbness spread all up her arm. Ten days later, almost unable to carry her brief case, she was forced to go the emergency room. There, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Maria was shocked. She had no idea what MS was, or why this was happening to her.
She immediately started treatment and meetings with a MS Nurse Specialist once a week. These meetings helped her to overcome the stage of shock and denial and ultimately accept the diagnosis.
Over time, she learned more about MS, how the treatment would affect her, and how to deal with everyday symptoms that she had never even thought of before.
Throughout the entire process, her MS nurse specialist kept on telling her this: “you are exactly the same person as you used to be before MS came knocking on your door. Continue to be a good friend, love yourself, move on with your life, and follow your dreams.”
Over the next 12 months Maria stopped showing up to her meetings with the nurse. One day, a year later, Maria asked to see her MS nurse specialist. The nurse didn’t even recognize her!
She was a completed different person, different hair and a different wardrobe, now dressing in a t-shirt and jeans. “You look so different, so young…” said the nurse.
Maria started telling her story: “I did exactly as you said; I faced the truth and reconciled with myself. MS helped me to open my eyes to the realities of my life. I recognize that I hated my life, so I quit my job and made a new start. I knew this was the right time for me!
After that, I rented a smaller flat and learned to live on a much smaller budget. I followed my dreams and started art school. Not only that, but my teachers were enthusiastic about my talent in painting. I’m now more calm and happy than ever before. I finally feel like the real me!
I’m here today because I wanted to thank you for all the help you gave me back then. I believed then that MS would ruin my life, but it has proven to be quite the opposite. MS is still here, but it is operating in the background.
Two years later, the nurse received an unknown letter with the rest of her daily mail. It was Maria’s invitation to her individual painting exhibition with the title: ‘’from dark to light.’’ Of course, she went to the exhibition and stayed to listen to Maria’s speech at the end. Maria ended her speech by saying: ‘’As I was once told by my nurse, in life it doesn’t matter what happens to you, but how you deal with it. My MS diagnosis ultimately led me to be here today, and to pursue my dream of being a painter. My diagnosis made me take a look in the mirror and ask myself who I really was. How did I want to live my life? Although I have no idea what the future holds, I know now that I feel strong and happy enough to deal with it.