19 msfocusmagazine.org ask. After my exam, I headed straight to the radiology center to get the MRI scan. Later that night the optometrist called me at home and said, “I made an appointment for you to see a neurologist.” Two days later, my parents and sister met me at the office of LSU’s chief of neurology. The doctor got right down to business. He began explaining my MRI scan. I impatiently pleaded, “Could you please tell me what’s going on with my sight?” He calmly stepped into my personal space and said, “Nicole, I am 99.9 percent sure you have multiple sclerosis.” From that point, the lights went out for me mentally and emotionally. I’m so happy I had my family there to speak for me. While the doctor was giving me the facts about living with MS, I was foreseeing my future. I saw visions of me rolling in a wheel- chair to the bursar’s office and withdrawing from nursing school. I left the doctors office not really knowing what to expect, but I knew this event would mark a turning point in my 25-year existence. In my mind I was anticipating the worst. And because I didn’t know much about MS, all I could think about was wheelchairs and Richard Pryor. I know it sounds silly, but at that moment, that was my mindset. Two days later, I received the recommended dose of outpatient intravenous steroids. The next week, I went back to class and began running at the park again. And soon after, my eyesight returned to baseline. To my relief and surprise, my initial thoughts did not become my reality at all. I completed nursing school and married my boyfriend, Tommy. And for nine years, I lived relatively symptom free. Since then, unfortunately, the disease has progressed. I now use a wheelchair. I had to retire at the age of 37 from my medical device sales job. And I have difficulty with fine motor skills. Yes, MS continuously tests me in ways I never thought I would have to experience. But I always adjust after every exacerbation. Today, I have a very happy life. I write a blog, My New Normals, study Spanish, and participate in therapeutic horseback riding. Despite my challenges, I always try. And when I try, I win. I develop. And I laugh with the universe.