Class of 2011

I’ve been to many graduations, but my little cousin’s really struck personal chords. The entire afternoon reopened wounds I thought were completely healed, forgotten, and shoved aside.

Yet again I was wrong.

At this point, my high school graduation was almost twenty years ago. My over zealous excitement, optimism and naivety danced within my words and engulfed any self-doubt or limitation. The little girl then had absolutely no idea what her future held. I wonder how she would react to the reality of today? I wonder if I could somehow prepare her?

I don’t think she’d respond too well. I wonder what I could tell her to ease the blow?

Not only was MS faceless, meaningless initials, I question her innate strength and fortitude to receive such news. Although, I truly believe I had Multiple Sclerosis then, my symptoms were small and foreign to me; hence they too could be waved aside. They were easy to ignore or to chalk up to “a bad day.” I believe sometimes “ignorance is bliss” and called for!

The most important things to me then and now bare a slight resemblance, but for the most part are different to say the least. I wanted a car, to “go off to” college, cash and a boyfriend. By those standards I actually faired pretty well. I have two degrees, a husband, and an apartment. Oh, also a truck I’m physically unable to drive! No, big deal. I’m sure the world of drivers… don’t miss me.

I took cognition (thinking), walking and driving for granted. I believe most of us do, until we are forced into a new normal. Speaking of cognition, I recognize I’m not the sharp focus-minded girl I use to be. I have MS related concerns with memory and perception.

Luckily, it would be seven years later before I was introduced to my life’s co-pilot, multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, I count nine more years until MS started steering solo. Now, I like to think that MS is just sitting in the front seat with me. I wasn’t ready to share the front seat twelve years earlier!

The ladies at church use to say, ”He only gives you what you can handle.” I know what they meant now.

By the way, congratulations little cousin!

Author: Nicole Lemelle

My name is Nicole Lemelle. I am a writer, activist and a person living with Multiple Sclerosis. I created My New Normals to educate those who do not understand MS, reassure people with similar plights and inspire everyone to seize command of their lives.

13 thoughts on “Class of 2011”

  1. Everything is potentially a possibility when we are young. I knew of the usual things in my familial history…cancer, diabetes, obesity…but it never really stopped me from doing what I did. I don’t think we are fully capable of understanding the truth behind the warnings we may or may not receive when we are young. Funny thing is my MS made itself undeniably known right after my 20th high school reunion. That was a great day, so hard to imagine what was waiting for me just a week after it…


  2. Nicole, I like your style. I think I would not tell my younger self about the MS but I might try and warn her about the saving more money thing. but why spoil the fun?


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