I was sent an urgent email last night from my cousin Gabriela – I call her Gaby or Bela.It was a forward from an email of a girl in the States she had connected with.Desperate to connect with more Multiple Sclerosis Suffers Gaby wants her story out there.She wants to connect and encourage others.That’s my beautiful girl ,a great smile and a positive outlook on life , putting her own fears and concerns aside and wanting to help others.It took some time for Gab’s to come to terms with the diagnosis she was given,I remember wanting to tell everyone we knew that Gaby had Multiple Sclerosis from the word go , I’ve learn t from my own experience (with my Luca) once you put it out there its doesn’t feel like the “Elephant in the Room”, but Gaby wasn’t ready and I respected that.
There are bonds that begin early in our lives.I fell in love with my baby cousin the day I tried to squint and see the tiny bundle from where I was outside the hospital on the ground floor to my aunt and baby up on the 3rd or 4th floor( I was 9)I remember the day they came home from the hospital, their 1st stop was my house ,my mom had prepared Sunday Lunch,there she was in her little navy blue cocoon ,my little Gabriela (Gaby) , born April 27th just 3 days before my own birthday .Even at birth she was so beautiful I fell in love with her instantly.
After that she was pretty much mine, my Gaby , when we returned from living abroad I stayed with my aunt and uncle and cousins, Gaby was always with me and that’s the way it’s always been.
Today she isn’t a little girl – she’s 25, she has grown into a beautiful woman.exuding beauty both inside and out.To sum her up , I’d use two words ……..”Beautiful soul”.
Its will be a year in October since Gabriela was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and there is still adjusting, the worry never leaves us.I say us because Gabriela is surrounded by so many family members and friends that love her and worry for her.
When Gab’s called from the hospital to tell me,tears rolled down my face, I tried my best to control my voice , to support her as much as possible, she had a Lumbar Puncture due the next day and having had one before I offered to be there to hold my baby’s hand,and cried some more that night.What was goings to happen to Gaby?You instinctively Google MS and fear runs up and down your spin. We have a family friend who has long suffered from MS (MS Fighter Alex Galvao) and I’ve witnessed the excruciating pain he’s been in written all over his face (Jesse’s 18th Birthday).
How it all came to light;
I recall Gaby mentioning she felt she had a pinched nerve down her left leg, Gaby had recently qualified as a Pilates Instructor i figured she probably had over done it.She d even gone for a few massage therapy sessions in the hope to alleviate her pain.It was only days later her whole body felt numb,then the vision on her left eye became blurry and the worry really kick in,by the early hours of the morning the left eye was in darkness or at least 90%( This was Gaby’s worst fear even before the MS…Going Blind). She was seen by an Eye Specialist and diagnosis was Optic Neuritis and referred to a Neurologist.
Life with MS alongside Gabriela:
We all went down to the coast over Christmas and New Year’s,I kept a hawk’s eye on her.Made sure Gaby ate, made sure she wasn’t over doing the sun bathing , made sure she didn’t forget to take her vitamins.However there wasn’t ever any need for me to do so – Gaby leads a normal life and is sure to look after herself.
Have there been relapses?…….Yes, upon our return from our December Holiday her fingers went nub – attributed to the heat,returning from her trip overseas in April it was facial numbness.flying really takes a lot out of Gabriela,it doesn’t help that flying isn’t her most favourite mode of transportation (Stress and Anxiety aren’t friends of MS Sufferers).
At this stage Gabs has refused to go onto any clinical drugs and has taken a more holistic approach by changing her diet , living a more positive and calmer life ,or at least she tries to, Gaby’s big heart sometimes gets her into trouble as she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders because she cares for others so much.
I see a counter full of vitamins and natural remedies, I still hear about the dreams she’s has for the wonderful future ahead.I’ve witnessed Gabriela returning to The Lord and her Christian faith.I’ve seen a worry in her eyes , but I also see a hunger for life , to achieve her dreams of traveling.Gaby has had an “itchy” passport since she left college but has always hesitated for one reason or other but with the MS has come pro’s and con’s ,Gaby has questioned her limitations regarding travel,what if she has a relapse what if she gets sick overseas and there isn’t anyone to help her?That’s where I like to think I come in….”Don’t come to me with problems come to me with solutions” , we’ve sat up into the late hours discussing alternatives. So traveling doesn’t have to be weeks and months on end, you can still see the world one Contiki Tour at a time lol.
Are there fears?……..”YES” Gaby says?Fear that she isn’t living life to the fullest,making sure her day meant something.
Gabriela and her family
Clowning around with her nephews
Having Fun! Gaby 2nd one on the left
Hanging out with J’Something from the amazing band Mi Casa
Gab’s and I
Our new word/motto:
There have been times from the outside looking in that I have felt helpless in understanding Gaby’s daily struggle.I’ve made it a point to find fellow sufferers close to her age, we have connected with amazing people.I came across Elizabeth via my favourite blogger; Natalie from The Busy Budgeting Mama. Then Gaby connected with Elizabeth via http://www.thesparkledlife.org/ ,Kayla from @KeepSmyelin(Instagram) who is working hard at raising money towards awareness and the fight against Multiple Sclerosis, please visit Kayla on Esty to help support this worthy cause (Information Below).These three young woman,Gabriela , Eliz and Kayla are my heroes, they have been diagnosed with MS but they fight ,they positive and they have faith, amazing awesome faith, if today wasn’t great tomorrow and the next day will be.Thank you.
Please connect with Gabriela via her facebook Page or email:
To date this has been the hardest post to write,I’ve saved the draft 4 times and rewritten several times,how do you write about someone so special who is suffering so much?How do you put into words their fears and struggles?Father God I pray that this story has the substance needed to touch and give hope to those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis and those fighting alongside them.In Jesus name Amen.
Websites to visit:
- http://cleancuisineandmore.com/about/our-story/ – MS-er Ivy has been MS symptom free for over 15 years read her story
- http://www.etsy.com/shop/KeepSmyelin – Support Kayla and her fight against MS Awareness
- http://www.thesparkledlife.org/ – Eliz
- http://www.thebusybudgetingmama.com/2012/08/ms-awareness.html – Natalie @ The Busy Budgeting Mama
- (Yolo Pic above courtesy of) http://www.hillcrestbc.com/media/2012.09.05-YOLO-Revo-Series.jpg)
- Main MS logo – http://longsaturday.wordpress.com/2012/03/