Justin | North York, ON
“I remember my brother-in-law asking me over dinner, ‘Did you ever think that maybe there was something wrong with you?’
I was like, well, sure, there’s something wrong with everybody. But he was being serious. We’d recently been on a vacation together and he’d noticed that I was moving kind of slowly and awkwardly, that I didn’t seem as mobile as I’d once been. He’d seen his mother struggle to get a diagnosis for a rare neurological condition, and he was seeing echoes of that journey in me. And he was right.
It was 2012, I was 27 years old, and that conversation was a wake-up call. I spent over a year getting tested for everything, increasingly convinced that it must be something very serious. Even so, I wasn’t ready for the diagnosis of aggressive multiple sclerosis (MS). It was overwhelming.
My family was my support system, and they were amazing. I moved back in with my mom straight after my first hospital stay, and I’m certain that was the right decision. Faced with so much new uncertainty about my future, I decided to take a swing and open a business. I threw myself into it entirely and it wasn’t until we had to shutter it during COVID that I realized the business had been distracting me from my own healing. So I decided that my new business was going to *be* healing.
“Each step I now take feels like a triumph, even if it comes with more pain than the last.”
Dealing with MS is a formidable challenge — especially wrestling with fatigue, substantial pain, and mobility issues. Currently, I'm navigating the decision between using a walker or scooter for my outings. Having been warned early in my diagnosis that I might never walk again, each step I now take feels like a triumph, even if it comes with more pain than the last.
It’s hard to resist taking on more. I constantly reassure myself that I'm in control, although there are instances when I push myself too hard and face reality. Despite these hurdles, the payoffs are immense: I’m learning new skills, discovering novel ways to communicate, and embracing the digital space through my podcast, The Just MS Show. This online community has been therapeutic in its own special way. As I heal myself, my hope is to aid others on their healing path too.”