Contributed by: Mark Southerland
Before we begin, let me start off by saying that I am NOT inspirational, a role model, exceptional or any other box used to characterize people. To quote the comedienne and cerebral palsy advocate, Maysoon Zayid, someone in a similar boat, “I have 99 problems and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of them.”
Back in April 2014, I was diagnosed with MS. It came rather suddenly and without warning. One day I noticed that my balance just wasn’t quite right. Having an exceptional long-term relationship with my Doctor (who I consider to be a friend), I scheduled an appointment to discuss what I was experiencing. After some testing in his office he ordered an emergency MRI. Within a couple of days, he called me at work to discuss the results. He said, “I have some bad news for You . . . You have MS”.
After hanging up the phone, I made the necessary arrangements with work, and immediately left for home. My 15-minute drive seemed to take a lifetime. I hit every red light between work and home and was stuck behind every incompetent driver within a 5-state radius. When I arrived home, I opened the car door, and threw up all over the driveway.
I wiped off my face and clothes and told myself, “Time to pull up my big boy panties, and Deal!” That moment was the proverbial “first day of the rest of my NEW life” (Plan B). That’s what I told myself, but it wasn’t quite that simple; but WHO has a contingency plan for the wheels flying completely off? Big boy panties, or not, I didn’t. I was comfortably cruising down the highway of Plan A; not giving anything else the slightest consideration.
I eventually got to my Plan B, but, it took about 18 months. To be honest, it is, a daily and ever-evolving process.
“Dealing” is, and continues to be, a daily struggle! Please sign up below to follow my latest adventure tackling MS on Route 66. It’s just one more way that I maintain normalcy in a life that is anything but normal. This is a completely self-funded trip. I am asking everyone, to consider donating to MSCENTER.ORG. I hope by sharing my adventure with others, they will share a little kindness with the center, and more importantly, with the people who benefit from is services, every day.