I am Florența Cernescu, I am 29 years old and I have been diagnosed with both multiple sclerosis and Lyme disease.
I had thought that one would exclude the other but it wasn’t the case. I have struggled with this reality but finally came to realise that…life is not a fight. I also started a blog with this name. You can find it here.
My initial plan was to reach other people facing similar challenges but I later understood that I was also doing this in order to help others feel less isolated by their health condition. Now I am convinced that, if we stick together, we will be able to take the positives out of all this chaos.
Letting hope lead the way
I will admit though that my path was not easy. When my Lyme diagnosis was confirmed at a clinic in Germany, the doctors there recommended that I visit a number of support websites. Instead of finding success stories there I found depressing ones. Granted, they were real. But it was not something I wanted to see under the effect of antibiotics, when all my symptoms flared up, when I didn’t know if I would walk again.
So it was at that point that I decided to write my own success story. For me this this meant clinging on to that last shred of hope and seeing where that hope would lead me.
As I mentioned, I am also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It happened in 2005 and back then I would have described my disease management as a fight. Every step was a struggle and I felt devoid of power in my legs. However I had the hope that I would win the fight. Only the disease did not consider my ambition. Instead it progressed in its own rhythm until I started thinking that maybe there was something I was doing wrong.
I was finally able to ask myself: ‘How about looking at this from another angle? What if, instead of fighting something that is internal, I just made peace with it? What if I accepted my health conditions as a part of my life?’
Ideals. Case study: the partner
The consequence was that – helped by psychotherapy and reading – I started to change things in my life or approach them in another way. One example is what I look for in a partner. My mother always advised that I should find somebody who is very handy around the house, so that he would be able to fix or replace anything that gets broken. I still agree with her that – in theory – such a partner would make some things easier. But would that be enough to make me happy? What I decided was to let things happen naturally. (I am actually happy to call a mechanic or plumber to deal with household matters.)
Step by step I started changing my perceptions and beliefs to fit my new approach. I stopped dancing but engaged in different types of physical exercise. I continued to lead a healthy life but with less self-criticism.
‘Fighting doesn’t work for me’
So why do I now think that living with a disease should not be considered a fight? Because I understood that – in my case – this fight cannot be won. Multiple sclerosis showed me that life can get worse at any moment. It can be MS itself, but also other factors. Shortly after my first symptoms, my father passed away. Then I lost touch with my high school friends. My mother also fell ill. And all this time MS was progressing. I was tackling every problem, of course, but the fighting was just not working for me. I only started being more relaxed when I switched from the ‘forever warrior’ to a more spiritual person.
This does not mean I found a magic MS cure, but only that now everything seems easier. I am more careful with both my body and my soul. I am also more grateful for what life has to bring, even in the darkest periods.
Since I embraced what was happening to me, I started meeting different people, new doors opened and new opportunities emerged.
This is how I deal with things. For others, the idea of fighting works and this is fine with me.
For me #lifeisnotafight works.