A Letter From Your Friend with MS

Dear friend,

I hope this letter finds you well. I know that you have been wondering about me – specifically, about my MS.  As I share some struggles, please know that I am happy and healthy in every other way! My every day is filled with JOY! and peace, and God truly is my strength and comfort.

People say, “I have MS, but MS does not have me.” That was pretty easy to say the first 21 years. At this point (year 26), every single movement screams MS has me! As I sit still to recover from any slight activity (like making a sandwich), even the sitting screams, I have MS!  I’m not sure I have a moment of thought that doesn’t hold in the background the fact that this disease is present in all aspects of life.  Friendships, weddings, church, work, housecleaning, grandbabies…nothing in my life will not be touched by this disease.  But I believe there will be joy and victory in it without a doubt.

The past 5 years have been a gradual, but steady progression of disease. I believe my MS is fairly typical in its resulting disability, my extremities being affected first. Thankfully, mostly one side has been affected, the right side. I say thankfully, because my strong left side has been a blessing. I have learned to eat left handed. You can quickly become left handed, if necessary, to eat!

Not walking well has been difficult. Without a brace to correct severe “drop foot”, I cannot walk. However, not being able to use my hands and arms is worse than struggling to walk. Fine motor skills are exhausting. Our nervous system must work very hard to send those messages!

All if this is old information, but now we come to what you really want to know. How am I today?

Well, in June I had an exacerbation. My neurologist says it was a “breakthrough” of activity despite being on a disease modifying treatment. Phil and I had some scary, sleepless nights as the disease was attacking me in new ways.

Dear friend, I truly believe this is harder on him than me. I weep for that fact and pray for his strength, as I simultaneously give thanks for the true heart of a caregiver which belongs to my husband. 

My biggest fear in the midst of this exacerbation was the thought, “what if this is the (rare) side effect” of my tecfidera? I had headaches, joint pain, new weakness… all listed warning signs of a terminal brain infection…(also pretty normal symptoms of MS…go figure). I tossed in bed for a few nights, praying for God to protect me from this disease, and its treatment.

The worst passed, and I am thankful to the many who prayed me through, and for those who pray on a regular basis (I kept this one close to the vest, sorry if you didn’t know the specifics).

My MRI showed no new lesions in my brain (huge praise!), but an increase in areas of my spine which explain my symptoms.

So, again, how am I today? I am facing a new “normal”. After this exacerbation, I am weaker. I tire quite easily. I am experiencing new numbness and tingling on my left side (previously not effected). My face and lips tingle if I do too much. My right hand would rather not be bothered and lets me know. I have graduated from cane to walker – which is a relief, really, and easier on my back. We are working toward getting me set up on the ground level. Stairs are too hard.

I have faced a new “normal” before. After the initial complaints from our bodies, and struggles, we find new ways to do things. We adapt. We find our victories, and find the strength to do more than we thought possible. I will get there. Until then, Phil has been waiting on me, and I kind of like that. Maybe you could send me a bell to ring? He would love it, don’t you think?!

God bless & keep you, my friend.
All my love,
Your Friend with MS

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV




  1. Teresa Lerew said,

    July 22, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    You are always so positive in your outlook, Annita. You are a blessing to all who know you!

    • annita said,

      July 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks, Teresa. Looking forward to a hug when you get back! Love you!

  2. hippylostintime said,

    July 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Wow … you are such a trooper. I hate this disease and I hate that it chips away at you. I am extremely proud of your attitude and your determination to live fully despite this “condition.” I love you … thanks for sharing and know we continually pray for you.

    • annita said,

      July 24, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      “condition” Lol! Love you so much I can’t stand it! I hold you guys, and in fact, your whole community in prayer. I’m excited to see what God is doing in this next generation. Your kids are cutting edge there. Love all of you. May God’s blessing be mighty!

  3. Gwyn said,

    July 22, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Dear Annita, what a marvelous spirit and faith you have. My stepson also has MS and I wonder what his future holds since he has no one to be caretaker like Phil is for you. I admire the ability God has given you to find the nugget of good in every situation. Love to you friend.

    • annita said,

      July 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      So good to hear from you and Denny both. I did not know about Jon. I pray he is well for many years. God is good. He provides. Miss you. All my love!

  4. July 23, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Annita, God brings you to mind so often. There isn’t much encouragement I know how to articulate other than I’m sorry for the progressive decline. BUT I pray for YOU AND PHIL regularly. God has blessed you a husband whose heart is so concerned for you. Be very grateful, and I know you are. Thank you for this update so I can pray with confidence when I bring you to the Lord. Love and blessings, elaine

    • annita said,

      July 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Love you, Elaine. God has entwined my heart with yours! I am truly thankful for Phil. He is God’s provision for me. Love & prayers for you always!

  5. Cheryl Davis said,

    July 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing more of the specifics of your illness. Your attitude and faith are definitely an inspiration to me! I can only try to imagine what you go through on a daily basis! May God continue to give you what you need every day! Much love to you!

    • annita said,

      July 24, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks so much, Cheryl. My love to you & yours! God bless!

  6. Joyce Bloom said,

    July 25, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I am so blessed to know you Annita. You inspirer me to turn to God more love God and love life..Hugs to you my dear…

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