On July 22, 2008, I woke up feeling dizzy. At first I thought it was the California summer heat, but then I noticed in the bathroom mirror that I could not move my eyeballs around no matter how hard I tried.
My first action was to go to the ophthalmologist, but I was stirred away quickly, soon after I was sitting in the exam table of a neurologist and an MRI was ordered, “to make sure it is not multiple sclerosis” he said. But the black and blue pictures of my head showed white spots on my brain where my T cells had eaten away at my neurons; right there I was diagnosed with MS. The first thing I objected when I was listening to my sentence was “how can I fight this?” before I had the chance to tear up, I got mad and decided I was going to fight it all the way through.
Then they took spinal fluid from my back and sent it to a lab in Palo Alto to evaluate the disease’s advancement. I was lucky, it was in its first stages and a low dose of cortisone was administered, in two days my sight was back to normal.
The Doctor explained I had to make changes in my lifestyle beginning with my diet; no more canned or processed food, no more chemical based cosmetics, no more bad sleep habits and tossing aside exercise. If I was going to rise above this I was going to have to work and improve my choices. I’ll never forget that trip to the grocery store and that shopping spree of healthy foods, I was very conscious to select things that would improve my health and nurture my body. I changed most of the brands that I used to consume, I even changed my cleaning products, now I only clean with vinegar and my house always smells like a big delicious salad. But it worked, I felt better almost instantly and I made sure I had a brand new positive attitude to go along my crisp new start.
On January 2015, as a New Years resolution, I decided to write letters to my children in case I would leave this earth for whatever reason; I wasn’t ready to go and have my voice vanish forever. I realized it was very important for me to let my kids know how magical they made my life in the most ordinary of circumstances. When I began this project, the world around me was enhanced, I saw so much color and beauty all around me that my words would not just flow, they would gush out of my pencils and pens to create the most lovely verses.
I found delight in carpool, bathing my children, dinner… I observed simple family moments and they were all filled with wisdom and very important teachings to capture.
I thought of leaving behind a sort of manual for a good and honorable life. A document for my son and daughter to turn to for comfort and guidance. So I wrote to them about cultivating the qualities of humility and kindness, wisdom and courage. I compiled the letters and added my own artwork: fresh and colorful paintings. I put it all together in a stylish and brief fashion to invite them to read it and not be scared or bored.
I liked the results so much, I decided to share them with others in the hope they would appreciate these everyday adventures and maybe think about writing letters to their loved ones as well. We are not eternal, but our sentiments can live and inspire on through paper and computer hard drives.
My MS is under control now but still, it is a very unpredictable autoimmune disease and you never know how it’s going to creep up on you, so I stay vigilant and grounded to the present. I stay mesmerized by wonderful people and my surroundings.
I thank my MS everyday for giving me the generous gift of awareness and the power of voice, so that I can leave my essence to my family, friends and generations to come.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
I have accepted I have limitations. I do not have to do everything, I am happy with what I have and with what I can do. I have MS and I have learned to love me as I am.
I still have to work on my quick response, I wish I could manage uncomfortable moments with more ease and have teflon so things could just slide off. I continue to work on that.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I have learned to appreciate my generous spirit. I love that it is easy for me to find beauty everywhere and in everyone.
I would like to appreciate more my body. As I grow older, my body has changed and I guess I am nostalgic about it. I would like to appreciate my sagging skin and cellulite.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?
Being a mom is the most important thing that I have ever done. I wear the tittle like a badge of honor, to have the opportunity to bring up a human being into this world and nurture and guide them to contribute some thing wonderful is very humbling. I am very proud of my happy kids and I hope they make this word a better one.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth–we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are–your Identity?
I am not very organized, I am forgetful, even of loved ones’ birthdays! I love technology can help me organize a little bit more but I do not take medicines properly when I have too, I am care free but it is not helpful when there is an illness or a friend’s birthday party.
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my mind. It is quick and creative, reasonable and kind. It lets me see and write and raise my family with love.