Dear Ellie of 2014,
On June 18th, 2014, you will get your first Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. The type of MS you have will be changed a few times over the coming years. You’ll end up with Malignant MS, the rarest type, the most difficult type to treat. You’ll Google your diagnosis and learn that MS is rarely fatal, except for the kind you have. Well, Ellie, welcome to the world of rare diseases!
You’ll be in and out of hospitals a whole lot. Your condition will be so rare that doctors in your city won’t be able to completely treat you, even though you live in the capital city, and they’re some of the top doctors in your state. You’ll have to travel out of state often, sometimes in life or death situations.
But Ellie, always, always remember that you are stronger than you could ever imagine. Life is about to show you that in a huge way.
Here’s what I want you to know about yourself now, and about what’s to come. Ellie, you need to know this before you get sicker than you could ever imagine being.
Stay ready: You aren’t sick yet, not like you’re going to be. You are healthy for now. You are vibrant and full of dreams. You work hard and play harder. You are very open about everything and feel ready to conquer anything, ready for whatever the future holds. You feel ready, but not for the reasons you think. Just stay ready.
You have a story: The life you have now will soon change to reveal your purpose. The woman you are now will be shaped, like a mound of clay, into something of beauty. This clay will take a while to shape into something you recognize, but it’ll happen.
You have amazing family and friends: You think you know how amazing they are now, but you don’t have a clue yet. You’re going to learn what friendship really means. Things are going to get so much harder for you. These bonds you have will get tested like never before. Some bonds will break, but the best ones get even stronger. Never forget to tell the amazing people in your life how much you love them, every chance you get.
There are going to be hard times: There will be days, weeks, even months of painful struggle. You aren’t going to see the end in sight. The reward for staying steadfast will come, and it will be everything you’ve ever hoped for. You are brave, strong and a warrior. You have what you need to get through this already inside of you. You can do this. I believe in you.
With utmost encouragement,
Ellie Bartone of 2016
What would you write in a letter to yourself?