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Living with MS, but living life my way

Getrude Kamuyu, in her cap and gown, stands with her mother, Grace Kamuyu. (Photos courtesy of Getrude Kamuyu)

This is Getrude Kamuyu’s story:

At Easter in 2022, I developed sudden pain in my left eye. Then blindness started to creep in, moving in quickly.

Three visits to three hospitals plus three side consultations left me convinced I needed immediate hospitalization. I knew (MS) by the time I did my self-admission.

A woman, wearing a backpack, poses for the camera.

Kamuyu, on her first day back at school, shows off a facial piercing.

I was 24 and a — indicative . I also was a student of medicine, a finalist racing through the last year of medical school. I thought that six-year journey would culminate in a prestigious surgical discipline. When the news came, it broke my heart.

It wasn’t just the feeling of helplessness that but the confusion of what it meant. My mom prayed and said God would heal me, despite knowing the disease is chronic, has no cure, and needs long-term management. I quietly let that sentiment pass. The rest of the disease’s details were jibber-jabber to the family. How could they understand that this seemingly healthy 24-year-old had a disease that was eating up her nerves?

I’d been a health freak from way before. Now I was furious with myself for getting duped into believing that all of my healthy life choices would help secure a future in surgery.

I had done all I needed to do, if not more, to deserve a chance to be a surgeon. Yet here I was, diagnosed with a disease that could leave me without control over my body. I could only dream of the possibility of holding a scalpel. My future was not all up to me.

A woman, sitting on a stool, poses in her cap and gown with her arms outstretched.

Kamuyu poses in her cap and gown, with her arms outstretched.

Five days on a hospital bed were the hardest I’ve ever lived, doing so with a shattered dream and a broken spirit.

The medication, crude chemicals coursing through my veins, made me feel much worse. The side effects, including weight gain and mood disturbance, left me in a pit from which I found no reason to climb out.

It’s been two years since. Today I have an awakened heart. I’ve learned I cannot control what I have no control over, but I can be satisfied with my choices and their consequences, whatever those are.

I may still practice surgery, a desire my heart still yearns for, and perhaps find joy in it for the few years I can. I may do something entirely different!

I am focused today on my health and happiness, to . This gives me the joy of living.