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Multiple Sclerosis: My Blessing in Disguise

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Jessica Shockley shares how the disease has taught her to live in the moment

Written by Jessica Shockley | Photography by Sarah Crum Photography

SUGAR LAND, Texas (SLM) – In 2002, just three weeks before my wedding, I was told that I may have multiple sclerosis (MS). A week before the wedding, doctors confirmed it. MS is a disease whose course is unknown, and it affects each individual it plagues differently.

At the age of 26, my life changed forever. at year was one of the hardest of our lives. My husband and I had no idea what to expect. It is a testament to God that we made it through. I had visions of wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. The plans we had made for our lives would have to change. There was anger and sadness. There was fear, and years of plaguing myself with self-guilt as the disease began to run its course.

Jessica Shockley's family helps her cope with her multiple sclerosis

Learning to Trust
Throughout the past 11 years I have oen felt so tired aer taking a shower that it takes hours to recover. There are times where my face is so numb that I feel as though a dentist has given me Novocain. Pain and burning has been added to the mix over the years. I had to train myself to take shots and meds to ease the symptoms. It is a battle every day to and strength. There have been months when I have pretended my MS is not there. I have pretended that I felt well – even when I didn’t. Sometimes it felt easier to say, “I’m OK,” when I was not.

My husband and I had to learn how to live with the unknown. We learned that MS was just an illness; and we had to trust God. I was given the blessing of my first son, and two years later the blessing of a second. They are my miracles because I didn’t think I could have them. Through their early years God gave me the strength each day to care for them – my sons keep me going.

Finding My Greatest Value
Aer several years of relapses, God gave me the blessing of two years without needing treatment just when I needed it the most. They were an incredible two years. In December of 2012 my MS made itself known again. Since that time, I have been on and off treatment. I have never fully regained the health I had before, but the lesson I’ve learned is far greater – value what is in front of you.

Making lunches, emptying the dishwasher, or a making a meal for my family has never meant more to me. I can no longer plan for tomorrow, the week, or the month. My boys know that their mom is sick but also that it is not an excuse to never face life head on in our greatest of trials. They are teaching my husband and me to just live for the day and cherish what we have.

Jessica says that making lunch for her sons, Wyatt and Bennett has never meant more to her

Living for Today
I have realized, even more so, that the house does not have to be perfect (it never is) and not to complain about the little things that drive me crazy. rough the pain and the suffering of this disease, I have learned that God is holding my hand through it all. He has taught me that just living for the day is far better than worrying about tomorrow. I get to spend time focused on the most important part of my life – my family.

I do not believe for a moment that circumstances should hold you down if you trust God. He has carried me through all of these years. He has taught me to love, sacrifice, have passion, and not fear the outcome. My life has changed again, but He will pull me through just as He always does. My MS is just a circumstance – nothing more, nothing less – but also one of my greatest blessings.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to thank Jessica Shockley for sharing her story of grief and hope. If you have an inspirational story you would like to share, email

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