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Frederick Joseph @FredTJoseph
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Thread: Six years ago today, I found out that I have #MultipleSclerosis. A battle I wasn’t prepared for, but with the help of my family and friends, I continue to fight.

I hope my story will help someone else with #MS or a loved one of someone with MS.
I’ve always been in love with athletics and exercise, I played EVERYTHING growing up and that didn’t change as I entered adulthood.

I remained a very active person, so when my body began to feel “off”, I knew something was wrong.
One morning I woke up and my legs didn’t really have sensation, sort of like “pins and needles” when you’ve been sitting too long.

I didn’t think much of it, and I decided to go play football that day anyway. Most of the game I felt fine, but then my legs felt sensation-less.
I decided to sit the rest of the game out (I was playing like garbage and was likely going to get switched anyway). I went home and relaxed, figured I would hit the gym the next day and stretch it out, get some blood flowing. I’d feel better — I was wrong.
The next morning I woke up and could barely feel my hands, so I decided not go. The feeling of pins and needles persisted in various parts of my body for over a week. I wasn’t able to hold things, wasn’t able to walk or stand at times.

It was time to go to the doctor.
After a few days I went to my primary physician (she went off on me because I hadn’t been in years ... I know I know). She did the normal blood tests, asked me how much I’d been drinking (yikes), and what not.

A few days later the results came back, she couldn’t figure it out.
She recommended that I see a neurologist to run some scans. I was annoyed because I’m like, “listen, nothing is wrong with my mind, I can’t use my arms and legs man”.

She was annoyed and told me to just listen (she may have saved my life honestly). So I did.
A few days later I went to the neurologist. He ran a bunch of tests and scans, some of which were dope because he hooked things up to me and I ran on a treadmill, so I was going to stunt on IG like I was getting drafted.

Never got a chance to stunt, the news was too frightening.
The neurologist called me later that week and asked me to come in (no one EVER wants to get asked to come in after you’ve done tests).

When I got there they had me meet him in his office. So I sat down and he says “what do you know about Multiple Sclerosis?”
I told him I didn’t know anything, so he explained it to me in great detail (maybe too much detail about what could possibly happen to me).

All I heard was “blind”, “wheelchair”, “no cure”, and “death”.

I’m sure he also had some positive things to say, but I didn’t hear them.
I went to my apartment after leaving the neurologist’s office and I immediately walked into the bathroom and vomited.

I walked into my room, put on some Al Green (my grandmother’s favorite) and cried myself to sleep.
The next day I didn’t leave my room at all. I didn’t eat, I didn’t brush my teeth, I didn’t shower, I just wallowed in my fear, anger, and pain.

Somewhere in the darkness I thought about my grandmother who had bravely fought breast cancer twice (RIP). I gave myself one pity day.
The next day I woke up and I knew it was time to put in work, focus, and grow up.

I read everything I could find about MS. Treatments, workouts, medicines, foods, and more. I decided I wasn’t going to tell anyone until I had it under control (not my best decision).
Within a few days I was on medicine (there were HELLA pills).

I was already in fair shape, but wanted to try and push myself to another healthier and stronger level.

I also wanted to eat better (I was broke as hell, so this was difficult...damn You capitalism). I got to work.
The medicines were having some major side effects on me, I was dizzy, had no appetite, stomach sick, and more.

But I was hell bent on managing this my way. At this point I still hadn’t told my family. Until one day I realized I needed help — badly.
It was a Monday and I was at the gym after work. I felt pretty out of it, but I had a hard day and wanted to workout.

I was doing shoulder presses and I suddenly became extremely dizzy and tired and started wobbling. I dropped the weight and cut my hand and blacked out.
The Gym associates asked who they should call, I didn’t have anyone — because no one knew.

I decided to start telling people. The last person I told was my mother. She had recently given birth to my little brother so I didn’t want to stress her.
I told some friends who didn’t seem to care much (we aren’t friends now). I also told a woman I was dating who told me she could no longer see me (this wouldn’t be the last time).

Though, some of my ex girlfriends have supported me beyond measure with my MS (thank you 🖤)
My mom took it as well as any parent could who ran to WebMD 😂. But we made it through.

Her and my friends gave me the support I needed.

A friend brought up the fact that I should do the MS walk and raise money. So we did, and so many folks showed up!
The MS walk became a tradition for some time, though it’s a very interesting thing being at an event to raise money for an health issue you have.

But I learned a lot doing the walks and being around people who shared my pain and had insight.
Over the years my MS has taken me down roads I didn’t know whether I would make it back from.

The sensation-less feeling was followed by constant random exhaustion, memory loss, vision loss, anxiety, back problems, depression, hospital stays and more.

But, I’m here. Blessed.
MS is a lonely fight. It doesn’t manifest itself in the ways other things do. You can’t look at me and see that I have MS. People forget I have MS — I forget some days that I have MS.

But then it reminds you, and reminds everyone around you if it gets bad enough.
I’ve been lucky enough to transform my body and my mind by training myself with games to help my memory and working out in specific ways so I can still accomplish things if my hands hurt or my legs give out.

I’m working on fortifying every part of who I am as things get worse.
Every morning I wake up it’s something new...what’s my body going to do today. This story doesn’t have a happy ending, because managing to survive a battle just means you’re at war.

Without a cure, this war won’t end. But I will make sure this isn’t what beats me.
I hope I can serve as some sort of inspiration. MS doesn’t have to stop you or define you and it doesn’t have to stop your loved ones.

But, we do need your help and love.

If you’d like to learn more about #MultipleSclerosis, I suggest following @mssociety for more info.
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