As a family doctor and self-proclaimed health nut, I thought I'd never get sick. Although I saw patients every day with unexpected illness, with the right combination of a vegetarian diet + obsessive hand-washing + exercise + adequate sleep, I thought I would live to be 100. I knew the secret ingredients, the formula, for avoiding chronic disease.
And then, nine years ago, I woke up dizzy. I thought I was getting a cold that would pass in a few days. But instead of a sore throat and cough, I developed double vision and taste changes.
My MRI showed white spots; my spinal tap showed oligoclonal bands. I had MS.
Suddenly, I was no longer the physician, but the patient. I was the anxious woman sitting in waiting rooms, arguing with insurance companies, struggling to understand my doctor's instructions through a foggy, MS-induced haze. The tables were turned, and I hated it. MS, it seemed, was a thief; it had stolen my future, my certainty of health. I was angry. I still am angry.
(To keep reading, please go to the National MS Society's Momentum Blog.)