18 msfocusmagazine.org Life with MS Whenyou make plans, the universe laughs. For years, that saying never pertained to me. I lived my life taking premeditated steps. My goals were completely thought-out, closely following a life plan created in my head. Each step guided me towards a rosy future. Step 1 - I graduated from high school with a scholarship to college. Step 2 - I received a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. Step 3 - I was accepted into nursing school. Step 4 - The universe laughed. Duringthespringof2000,half-waythrough completing my nursing degree requirements, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My peculiar journey to this discovery began a few weeks earlier with some weird physical warning signs. Periodically, I would feel a brief jolting pain shooting from my eye. Then one day, I haphazardly covered my right eye with my hand and discovered I could not see out of my left eye. Deep inside, I knew something wasn’t quite right. But I was in nursing school, and at that point in my life nothing was more important. All of my time was spent studying and going to class. For a while I was able to ignore my sight issues – until I walked face first into a cinderblock wall in my dorm room. I was afraid, because I just didn’t see the wall. The pain was so relentless that I conceded defeat to the throbbing discomfort and reluctantly made an appointment with an eye doctor. Once I got to the optometrist’s office, I nervously sat in the waiting room. Twenty minutes later the nurse brought me to the back. When the doctor entered the exam room, I told him my story. He did a quick assessment, then proclaimed I had tired eyes and prescribed me eye drops. I was headed towards the office front door when I remembered my fading eyesight and being so scared. So I made an about-face and went back to the examination room. I burst in and desperately squawked, “But I can’t see out of my left eye!” The doctor examined me again. Then he began asking me about my family history. I could barely answer his questions. I was fighting back tears. He then said, “I want you to get an MRI today.” Thanks to nursing school I was familiar with that test, but I didn’t knowwhy he wanted me to have one done. And I was too upset to Laughing with the Universe By Nicole Lemelle