My MS diagnosis

I decided it is time for me to tell the story of my MS diagnosis. Because I think it can help others who are facing a similar situation and because I think I need it.

isadora bilas

I have been trying to "hide" this part of my story to myself and to others. Truth is: when you are diagnosed a chronic illness you might feel ashamed of it. Or at least this is how I felt.

I felt as if it was my fault that I got sick. Because I didn't cope well with stress, trauma, and life in general.

How it all started

It started while I was living in England - Newcastle to be exact. I was doing my MA in International Relations and Cross-Cultural Communication. I was struggling with nordic weather, uni, living by myself with a depressed flatmate - sorry Marco, I think you were - and more than anything I was in a very dangerous relationship and I could feel the danger, yet couldn't come out of it.

Now, I am still in contact with my ex and we are really good friends now, but it doesn't change the fact that our relationship was really hurtful for me. After a few months together in England, I found out he had another (Italian!) girlfriend! They split up, we didn't, because I was really in love and I thought he really loved me, but from there on, I was not able of trusting him and I was in constant vigilant mode.

Now that I look back, I think I stayed for a very long time (2 years) in a situation where I didn't feel safe.

Anyhow, funny enough after this drama came out, I gradually started seeing double. At the beginning, just at the corners of my vision, then within a month my vision was doubled and I could not even recognize people unless they came close and spoke to me, I couldn't drive, nor read or watch TV. It was quite scary, but after a month or two, it was all gone.

At that point, I was about to move to Istanbul for this guy I was really in love with and so I did. Our relationship went on with betrayals, lies, fights until I decided to accept a job in Kenya with the UN. I lived a year in Nairobi, during which I hiked mountains, biked in National Parks, travelled all over the countries with no problems. I moved back to Italy, I was not with my Turkish boyfriend anymore but we were still in touch and I was still really in love with him. I decided to move back to Istanbul - maybe in the hope of getting back together?

And there it came again. The sight of my right eye started to have problems. I was seeing things as if I had grey clouds passing and coming, I was really sensitive to lights and I could not really look at stars, traffic lights, lamps, car lights. Again, reading became hard. And there again I went to see an eye doctor, who told me everything was fine there and that I should see a neurologist. That was when I was asked to do an MRI to my brain (?!?  -I thought).

I went to a private clinic and went to take my results by myself. I opened them and that is when I realized there was something wrong IN MY BRAIN! I remember that ride back on the bus with this new awareness. My brain had scars. It could be cancer. I could die or anyhow, in serious troubles since the brain controls the hole body.

You have MS - They said

And there I went back to the neurologist. She looked at me and in Turkish she said "You have MS". And I was like: "What is MS?"

And that's how it all started...