|I wish I could explain this to the younger version of me and save myself from years of heartache and pain.|
During the time my family owned Heartland, we had a huge dry-erase board on one of the walls where I would write the names of the 36 flavors of ice cream we featured. One evening I was working with a girl named Angie and as I was sweeping the front room of the store, I looked up at the sign and it was completely blank. I called out to her and asked why she had erased it. Angie looked at me, giggled and said it had not been erased. I was confused so I walked up to it and ran one of my fingers across where some of the words should have been, and sure enough.. my fingers had marker on them. What was going on? Angie looked thoroughly dumbfounded as I stepped back and still could not see a damn thing on the sign EXCEPT the silver frame that held the white dry-erase board. I was frightened. I immediately called my mom, who drove to pick me up that evening, and made an appointment the following day with our family doctor. This was my first symptom of MS.. Optic Neuritis.
When I was told I had Optic Neuritis, it was simply that and nothing more, although I was sent to a neurologist after seeing the eye doctor. Over the next few months, I had two more completely separate issues that led to my diagnosis of MS on November 12, 1990. Although those six months seemed eternal, compared to most, it really wasn't long at all.. but in those six months, I matured far beyond my 21 years.
|Studio pic of my Abuelito in his younger days.|
In my mom's absence, I was given the roll of manager of our store and it was a huge responsibility for me. At the same time, I was also dealing with fatigue, numbness, pain and still getting used to the thought of living with MS for the rest of my life. It was a difficult time, to say the least. One other thing happened while Mom was gone, too. We had to put our beloved dog, Tootsie, to sleep, after many years of her health diminishing. 1990 was just a bad year! But as I always say, life goes on and we have somehow moved on and become stronger within ourselves and as a family.