Not long ago, I was chatting to my friend Dilma and I said to her: “Sometimes, people think that a miracle happened to me to be as I am, but that’s not what happened.” Dilma knowingly replied, “People see your smile, but they didn’t see your tears and what they want is to smile when they have something to cry about.” That is right… sometimes we have to look back at what happened to understand how everything makes sense today.
A few years ago, my husband, Filipe, said to me repeatedly: “Your headaches and this tiredness isn’t normal. Go and see a doctor.” Every time he said this, I just shrugged it off. Until the time came when MS decided to make its presence felt with numbness and a lack of feeling all over my left side. At this point, it was just Filipe, me, and our two-year-old daughter, miles away from either of our families. I could say that they were tough times. In a cry for help, I asked my parents for assistance. After all, I had a two-year-old daughter who needed a lot of attention, which I just couldn’t give.
I remember… one day, I stood behind the door listening to my husband talking to my parents. He said, “I’m asking you to take care of your daughter and granddaughter because I’m going to have to work for the two of us and, as much as I want to, I just can’t help her”. That sentence still hurts me today. At the time, I thought he was going to leave us high and dry, but I was wrong. Over time, I realised that this Man, man with a capital M, was doing all that he could to get us through one of the most difficult storms we were going to run into in our lives.
When we’re first diagnosed with MS, we often want people to do things in a certain way and it’s easy to think we are the centre of the universe at that time because our pain is greater than the pain of others but… we’re wrong. Those who are by our side and love us also suffer, you know?
I’ve lost count of the amount of times Filipe clenched his fists, hit the table and said “Get up. You’re alive, aren’t you? Thank God for that and fight back!” and went running out the door. I now know that he ran out because he was crying and he couldn’t bear seeing me giving up on life.
Today, I thank him for all the times when he refused to keep quiet and forced me to fight. There were so many nights, and there still are, when we shared our fears and became closer and closer. He was the one who made me look for a nutritionist to keep an eye on what I was eating and encouraged me to go to the gym. Today, I thank him for absolutely everything. And bit by bit, I’ve started to smile again.
Now it’s your turn! Challenge your perceptions of living with MS or step outside your comfort zone by taking on our game of Truth or Dare.