Real Talk

Life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows especially when living with a chronic illness … My goal with this blog has been to create a positive space to motivate others who are experiencing similar health challenges- motivation can also come from vulnerabilities of our conditions as #warriors.  

Feeling uncertain and vulnerable is part of the process and as much as we try to stay positive, we’re bound to feel some kind of blues.  

This week my anxiety has been off the charts which make my symptoms worse, but as hard as I try to keep it together, I seem to lose it. I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at masking it and that is part of the reason I’ve had an extremely busy week.  

I’ve gotten much better at dealing with my panic attacks and anxiety in general (it is still work in progress)..

Over time I’ve learned to include the following into my routine:

1) Seeing a professional

2) Taking deep breaths

3) Meditating (I’ll discuss my practices in a future blog)

4) Writing my thoughts down in the moment really help channel those emotion 

5) Questioning the thought process- I ask myself if I can do anything about the thought and control it before it controls me.

I share this as a reminder that no matter what, you are stronger than your struggles. You control what you do and how you want to live.

I hope this was somewhat helpful. Please let me know if there is something in particular you’d like me to talk about and I’d love to connect with you on social.. Instagram @strongerwithmsblog | Twitter @strongerwithms

Stay strong and keep fighting warriors!!! 🧡

2020 Reflection

2020 was filled with trials and tribulations and it affected everyone in a different way; however, the common denominator was #adaptingtochange. It wasn’t easy, but everyone learned to #pivot and #adapt to the #newnormal.

2021 might not be any easier but you made it this far and you’re a #warrior, so continue the fight because you’re the #force, and the #force is with you! (No pun intended #starwars)

Remember to appreciate your family and friends who support you because at least for me without them, 2020 would have been much difficult. I took some much needed time off and spent it with my family this past week.

Let’s create an environment filled with support and gratitude as we continue to fight together!

Happy New Year!!! 🎉🎉

Mental Health

This is a sensitive subject to even begin talking about. Issues associated with mental health differ from one patient to another, and if you include the stigma associated to it just changes everything.

I am nowhere close to being in the mental state of mind I’d like to be in, but I sure am doing much better than I was even six months ago. I am still learning and working through all of it but I am feeling better and in control of how and what I feel.

Things that have helped me so far include but are not limited to:

  • Recognizing that I need help
  • Seeking professional help including medication
  • Figuring out triggers
  • Establishing a routine
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity

These are the few things I’ve been focusing on while I try to make some lifestyle changes. I am continuously working on this aspect of health and there definitely are days when I need a push or a reality check.

MS Buddy..

MS symptoms are different from one patient to another because of its effect on the central nervous system… And it is difficult for MS patients to explain what they are actually feeling or how they are feeling to people around them. It is a lot easier to talk about what you’re experiencing to somebody who is going through a similar journey.

My MS Buddies and I text each other regularly; because we live in different states, it is harder to see each other in person. There are days I feel a certain way and it is easier for me to text my buddy than texting my family or my non MS friends because I know I am experiencing a symptom during that moment or just an after effect of the condition.

There will be days that you will wake up sad or upset but you won’t know why but that’s okay.. Your body is going through a lot that is not visible to the eye but instead of continuing to feel that way, text, call, or email your buddy because they’ll understand what you’re feeling.

As you progress through your diagnosis and treatment, make sure to connect with people who are in the same boat as you. There are a lot of resources available through the MS society, Neurologists, and social media platforms.. Or just shoot me an email and I would be more than happy to be your MS Buddy because I would want you as my MS Buddy in our Warrior Society.. 😉

Support System..

Whenever we learn of something drastic or life changing, it is important for us to have a strong support system; people who we can count on to support us through the event emotionally and physically.

Thankfully my family and friends are people who I can count on. We may not always agree with each other but that’s what makes our relationship unique.. This particular post is dedicated to my wonderful support system just to thank each one of them without mentioning names.. I cannot imagine being able to function without them.

I have experienced multiple emotional breakdowns, which I am still experiencing but my people are always with me. Every time I’ve wanted to cry, one of them has been  there to just let me cry and get it out of my system.

To the patient who is trying to adapt to the forever new normal, I urge you to have people or at least someone who you can trust to be there for you. Some days will be great, others won’t.. But you need to let people in so that they can be there to support and help you through it.

Acceptance is Key!

Finding out that you have to live with a chronic illness for the rest of your life is not easy. Depending on your symptoms and other health conditions, there is a lot you’d need to factor in as a patient.

I am in no way telling you that you’ve got to move on right away, but I suggest you take your time and utilize your resources to understand your condition, what treatment options are available for you, and how you plan the process ahead.. Do what you think would be best for you.

My way to cope with the reality was isolating myself and taking it all in and understanding the process. That might not have been the best way but that is how I deal with things.. I try to be alone.. Guess that’s because I am an introvert..

Remember you are not alone. You have a team of healthcare providers – start by talking to them and clarify your doubts. The national MS Society has a lot of information especially for new patients, so sign up for the news letter. Try to connect with other patients and create your warrior squad.

Do not overthink because you are stronger than you think!

About

Hi! I’m Komal Bhatti — a 25 year old college student who was diagnosed with Relapsing- Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) in June 2020. I started documenting my journey during my diagnosis and I hope to continue documenting it.

My goal with this blog is to help others during their diagnosis process. A lot of others’ stories helped me cope with my diagnosis, I hope to be able to help others cope with theirs.  

Come along with me as I explore my demyelinating journey!! 

A New Normal..

The year 2020 has been an eventful year in so many ways primarily due to the pandemic; however, everyone is battling a different battle. My battle represents me, who I am and who I sought to be.

I constantly say and hear others say that, “2020 was supposed to be my year.” The global pandemic has changed lives from working from home, homeschooling, social distancing to people losing jobs. 

While in lockdown a lot of people have had the opportunity to look within and ask themselves about what means the most to them? What are some values that they’ve had but haven’t put to practice? What are some relationships that they want to improve? How do they want to use this time in isolation to improve themselves?  These are some of the questions I’ve asked myself and I am sure others have asked questions based on their lives.

While everyone tried to adjust their lives with the given circumstances and talk ed about the “new normal”, little did I know that my life was taking a 180 degrees turn to a forever “new normal”. 

On May 8th, I woke up with blurry vision in my right eye, throbbing pain in the eye and the right side of my face with increasing pain with eye movement. I immediately knew it was an Optic Neuritis of the right eye because around the same time four years ago I was diagnosed with an optic neuritis of the left eye, after experiencing complete vision loss and pain in the eye. I let the weekend pass and made sure the Neuro-Ophthalmologist I saw was still in network with my current insurance plan. 

The whole time I knew what he was going to order and at that point I was ready to go through the diagnostic process. On Monday when I saw the specialist, he saw inflammation behind my eye so he ran some in house visual tests, ordered MRIs, and referred me to see a Neurologist- I knew the drill and like I mentioned before I was anticipating the same process; the only difference this time was that he said, “it’s about time you see a neurologist!” I left the office, informed my family of what was going on and started scheduling appointments. 

After my MRI report was written, I was told over the phone that there are unusual white matters on my brain scan compared to my scans from 4 years ago. As any other person would, I consulted Dr. Google and read about lesions and what the next steps are in the determination of a diagnosis; I read all that was available to read about lesions and Neurological disorders. 

The whole time I remained calm around my family and friends and acted like yeah whatever we’ll find out what’s going on, all while deep down I was freaking out. 

I had a Neuro consult and the provider showed me the lesions from my scans and talked to me about a possibility of Multiple Sclerosis; however, she wanted to rule out Neuromyelitis Optica, deficiencies, viruses and infections at the same time. 

After hearing her say those words out loud, I burst out into tears because I didn’t want all those things I read online to be true or even a possibility. She ordered more scans and an extensive panel of blood work to determine the diagnosis. 

I spent the next 2 weeks getting tests and scans done and waiting for my next appointment to find out the diagnosis. In the meantime, I started seeing reports being released to my patient portal; some I understood, some not so much. 

I couldn’t sleep two nights before my appointment. I tried to stay as positive as I could but now that I look back I was anxious about finding out what I had and how to move on to the next step more than having a chronic illness.  

At my appointment, I was told that I had Multiple Sclerosis based on the lesions in my brain, optic nerve, and the spine. Based on my results, I was presented with a couple of treatment options and I was given time to consult with my family and PCP. I decided and started treatment in July, a lot has changed since starting my treatment as I keep learning new things about my body and how to cope with it all.  

xoxo

Komal