Love, life, AND MS? This past year has taught me that they can in fact coexist. I’m Maria, I’m 20 years old, and I have MS. I was diagnosed at the age of fifteen, and hadn’t quite recovered from the shock until recently. When they told me, you have MS, I honestly thought my life was over. I had nothing left to stand on. I had spent the past fifteen years power planning my life down to the last detail. Being told I had MS made me feel blind and lost. No one would ever love me, I was no longer ‘flawless’, and I had no future. I quickly learned otherwise.
When I was seventeen I got an internship for IBM, and by the following summer another one through Intel. I went onto to study Construction Engineering at Oregon State University, and the sense of pride within me that I had lost with the diagnosis was slowly but surely regained. As for ‘love’, growing up I didn’t have a solid idea of what love was. My parents were either fighting or walking on glass, and TV shows were scripted, aka, the Bachelor (sorry ladies but seriously, it’s totally scripted). I dated in high school and college but never really connected with anyone. I started to think it was embedded in me, and that since I never saw what a true functional relationship looked like, I had nothing to go off of. The summer before my sophomore year, however, I started talking to this guy.
He was older than me, four years older to be exact, but he was so much fun to hang out with. I found out he had just gotten back from Afghanistan a year ago and was also attending OSU. We became good friends and started dating a few months after. I love him, and I know that this is what love is. Like the song goes, ‘you’re a part time lover and a full time friend’, and that’s what Aaron is to me. He knows about my MS, he knows that I have trouble with calculus, and he knows I don’t like my carrots boiled, and he still loves me! Let’s recap: I’m a 20 year old engineering student, with an upcoming internship in design and development (sounds nerdy, but it’s way cool, trust me), I am in love with my best friend, and I have MS. There, life, love and MS, they can coexist.