I am not a writer or a 9 to 5 business woman. I do not work…but for me, every day is a full-time job.
I had a job and a life and friends and all the things someone in their 20’s wishes for. I had a baby, got married to the love of my life, and then – like a flash of lightening – my life stood still. Everything changed and I had no clue of the fight I had to fight for the rest of my life.
I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a neurological monster that attacks your nerves, brain, and neurological system. It gives no warning, no hints, and it owns you forever. I have a life sentence, but not a death sentence. MS is a life sentence that no real criminal would ever choose. Battling a disease that destroys everyone in its path including children, husbands, wives, parents.
MS chose me as its victim when I was 25, newly married with a new baby boy. It took my ability to feel anything from my waist down, giving me a constant numb feeling. I was overcome with severe tiredness, my legs were weak, and I couldn’t even walk down the street.
I fell apart emotionally and physically. I was scared to death and knew I was in a deep depression. In all senses, I just gave up.
But something told me to find my inner strength and to fight this. Fighting was my only option. MS was a constant opponent. It would slowly and sneakily creep up and attack me, and then give me a small break to try and live my life. Every time I thought I was in the clear, MS would come back and break me down. Sometimes I lost my ability to see, talk, walk, and would eventually wind up in hospital.
I am 32 now, I cannot work and I was forced to go on disability. MS never gave me a break and even though I take medication to stop the progression, the disease continues to bash me. Everyday is a struggle, a battle I don’t want to fight. But I know I am not alone. My true love is still here fighting along side me, he is still loving me and staying by me. I have lost a lot, not just my job, but my ability to raise and play with my friends. MS has taken friends, close friends, and those who are not strong enough to fight with me.
The Girl with the MS Tattoo
The two reasons I fight are: my man who never left my side and my child who needs me. I try my best to be a good wife and a loving mother. I have learned that happiness sometimes must come not only from the ones you love, but also from the things you fight for. Everyday I wear my battle on me. I have MS t-shirts and necklaces and ribbons but the things that give me the most hope are my tattoos.
MS causes physical and emotional pain and tattoos are my way to show my strength. These tattoos show the kind of pain I can handle. I have 12 tattoos, three are dedicated to my battle with MS. My motto is, “Pain cannot hurt you unless you let it.” I will forever have that reminder because it is tattooed on my rib cage. Once I felt the pain of that tattoo, I wanted to challenge myself again by spreading MS awareness.
I have a love for fairies, so I combined fairies and tattoos and I now have a fairy MS tattoo on my right forearm. My tattoo artists warned me that the wrist would be painful, but I didn’t care, I knew I could do it and I never made a sound. After that tattoo, I fell very ll and started having seizures. But I did not give up! I went back to the same artists and got another fairy on my left arm. This tattoo is very special because she is the fairy of hope and healing. Again, I managed to sit three hours in the tattoo seat and never flinched.
I am not done yet! I am strong and I have learned to fight my own way. Never give in. I have MS but I also have a beautiful child and a loving husband to fight with me.
If anything, I have learned from fighting this never ending battle, that I have a strong, persistent will to live. I have found my inner strength and I will never stop fighting. MS may always be a step ahead of me, but I will never stop trying to catch up because pain cannot hurt you, unless you let it!
About the Author:
Nicole Rowe is a creative thinker, fashionista, and MS awareness pioneer. She has MS but MS doesn’t have her. She lives in Delaware with her husband, her son, and her two pets: a wiener dog, Tootsie and her fat cat Winston.
Featured image by Jetske