Stories to Inspire: MS and Me
By BeLynda “Bea” Davis
I remember it as if it were yesterday, my spirit was moved while attending the funeral of one of my husband’s distant family members.
I didn’t know much about his family member, but I did know of her battle with cancer.
At the service, loved ones spoke about her medical diagnosis, her physical hardships, AND all that she was still able to accomplish. I felt a strong connection to her and I began to cry, uncontrollably. As if we were best friends, I wept from the depths of my soul and, at the same time, I was inspired. I believe I was divinely “inspired to inspire!”
I was born in Madisonville, Kentucky, but I spent most of my formative years as an “Army Brat.” This allowed me to travel to Hawaii, Germany, and many other places around the world. Although I moved every few years to a different military base, I learned to be flexible and adapt very quickly.
I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 15 while still in high school. Try to imagine an extremely active teenager who loved running track, who was just beginning to think about the future, and who had the world ahead of her! Now imagine that same teenager fighting to make other people understand the “real” pain she was in, fighting to keep her faith in God, and fighting to hold on to the hopes that having a great life was still possible.
I can remember always being in pain. I also remember feeling like my eyeball was going to pop out of its socket. But my pain was misunderstood and my cries fell on deaf ears. It was difficult for me to explain what I was feeling. I was still a young girl and MS was new to me. At times, my doctors didn’t even understand my pain.
Forever changed, but still fighting, I found solace in attending church. After joining the choir, I discovered my passion and gift… singing. I love to sing and, as I’m often told, people love to listen. I also always knew I’d make people “look and feel good,” and I did so by graduating from Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Georgia. I accomplished my childhood dream by receiving my certificate and working as a cosmetologist.
I was so inspired, I continued to pursue higher education. I received my certification as a medical records specialist in 2016, but I didn’t stop there!
I’ve just published my first book, Let’s T.A.L.K.: Your 4-Step Guide To Getting Beyond The Pain Of Loss And The Uncertainty Of Illness So You Can Live Your Best Life Now.* I never knew God planned for me to be an author, let alone a bestselling author!
I would have never imagined the many hardships in my life, the chronic symptoms of MS, and the death of a woman I hardly knew, would inspire me during my darkest moments.
I would have never imagined I would be called upon to continuously inspire others to never give up and keep moving forward.
And I would have never imagined that the many doctor appointments, the medications, and the many lifestyle changes I’ve had to make over the years, would inspire me to stand up to MS and keep on LIVING!
Simply put, MS is life-altering! When you’ve experienced life-changing situations and circumstances due to a chronic illness, it’s important to learn to TRUST again. You may need to ACCEPT that your life is changed, but it’s NOT over! You may need to learn to LOVE yourself in a new way OR continue to cherish loved ones even when they don’t understand what you’re going through. Last, but not least, you may need to KNOW you are loved and “more than a conqueror!”
Now when I wake up, I give thanks to God for another day. After prayer, I review my goals and daily schedule. Then, I focus on the family that I’ve been blessed with – my two beautiful children, DJ and BriAna, and my husband, Steven (a United States Army Officer). Despite MS, my life has meaning and it will not cause me to lose sight of the love and life I still have.
So, the next time someone tells you he or she has MS, you better know that you’re looking at a warrior who is fighting every day to live, laugh, and love. So, give him or her a smile, and tell this MS warrior to “keep on fighting!”