Hey guys. What’s going on? My name is “Justice,” and I was diagnosed with MS in 2011. And I'm telling you, having MS can really be challenging itself, but then you add in being a parent and it can seem downright impossible.
Now, I'm speaking from experience because at the time of my diagnosis, my oldest son was 20, my daughter was 18, and my youngest daughter was 9. And the first thing, guys, that I had to do was one of the hardest things I think I had to do in life to date—sit my kids down and explain to them that MS was not a death sentence.
There was no need for me to get into what it was because we had some adults that may not understand that, but what I had to explain to them was that, “You know what? Daddy is not going anywhere.” Because I had to ask my kids, “Are you embarrassed about Daddy?” And I was kind of nervous about the answer that they would give me on that one, but luckily they told me that they weren’t.
And if they did, then I had to sit them down and explain to them that it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Because what I'm doing and what you can do is take this opportunity to show your kids that when life gets hard, you get harder. You can take this time to motivate and inspire your kids because that's exactly what I'm doing.
Every moment that I get, I use MS as a teaching moment. I use MS to tell my kids, “You know what? Life is short. You have to take advantage of the opportunities that you get when they're given to you. Because you know what? You never know what the next day may hold.”
You have to inform your kids as to what’s going on. You can also take this time to have an opportunity to do things with your kids. MS took my ability to move around using my legs—but I tell you guys, I still get out and I exercise with my kids. I do activities with my kids.
You just have to know and understand that there will be days where you can’t do the things that you want to do, and as long as you have made this aware to your kids, they won’t think that “You know what? Mommy and Daddy don't want to spend any time with me.” They would know and understand that Mommy and Daddy just has one of those MS days.
And then it will become more clear to them what to expect, when to expect it, and how to treat life. So guys, I want you to know and understand that you can be, and you are, a great parent with MS.