#MSMakesMe find my inner strength

Fri 28 April 2023

Harveel Heer

 “If I was to diagnose you with relapsing remitting MS today, what would that mean for you?” the neurologist asked me back in 2014. And straight away, I said “Can I still work?”

That was my immediate reaction but there were many things I thought MS would deny me – from my health and fitness, to progressing in my career.

I’ve been on a journey since (9 years this year) - full of highs and lows. Part of the healing process was to find the positives – to flip the script when the negative thoughts were taking over.

And with help and support over the last few years, MS now makes me want to go after all those things I thought I’d lose when I was diagnosed.

My health

Since my diagnosis, I’m always researching the environmental factors that may help me in keeping well with MS. I believe there’s a vital connection between the gut and the brain, each affecting the other. I think there might be triggers through food and stress that affect my MS. So I make decisions to try and control that.  

There is so much advice on social media, in books, some great podcasts and webinars but please seek medical advice before making any drastic changes to your regime. This approach is in addition to any disease modifying therapies I have been on.

My fitness

I’ve always had a vision of what Harveel looked like – I’d visualise her in the mirror and knew there was no magic pill I could take to achieve her. For many years, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. But last year I invested in a fitness coach - he understood the brief and we got working. Although the goal was physical, the mental benefits have far outweighed this.

I’m not only in the best shape of my life, but I’m able to navigate the lows of MS a lot better with an improved mindset. I feel in control of my body again. And I can’t deny that MS makes me want to fight it everyday to get closer to my goals.

My career

I’m a marketing professional which comes with a lot of pressure, tight deadlines and spinning a lot of plates. I initially thought the dream of progressing in my career at my marketing agency was over.  

When I spoke to my employers to tell them of my diagnosis, I remember saying to them something along the lines of “I’ll no longer be able to do my job”. But their unwavering support, belief and adapting to my MS needs has proved me wrong.

In return I want to give back more. At times, I can’t believe the opportunities they have presented me with – YES me, someone with MS! MS now makes me want to go even further – what’s the next challenge? And can I (someone living with MS) actually accomplish that?

These victories hit different with a chronic illness

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that despite feeling like I’d failed myself when I was first diagnosed, I’ve taken the steps to go after my goals more than ever. It’s never going to leave me: MS is here to stay. I don’t know about tomorrow and instead of worrying about it, I’m just grateful of what I’ve achieved today. In a weird way, MS has been, is and hopefully will continue to be my secret weapon.

Before I go, I just want to leave you a little something, this #MSWEEK

Accept and grieve your diagnosis. Take as long as you need. You can’t put a time on something like this, take each day as it comes but never stop dreaming. You may need to take an alternative route, it may be more challenging with your MS but don’t tell yourself a story that isn’t true. Seek the help, and just take the first step.

To all the MS warriors out there – may MS make you find your inner strength you didn’t know you had.

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