Over the years, I have frequently questioned why I happened to develop multiple forms of chronic illness. After all, both of my parents were very healthy individuals.
Neither of them struggled with any form of chronic illness as I was growing up. I frequently do contemplate the negative impact of being heavily exposed to pesticides, having played outside often, on the beef farm where I grew up in rural Western NY.
I remember viewing the glossy yellow droplets of toxic pesticides that accumulated on the crops we raised. I frequently played outside in my sandbox during those long, hot summer months, my loyal dog always serving as a faithful companion nearby.
I think about how Western New York is notoriously known as an “MS belt,” given that there is a disproportionate incidence of this chronic neurological disorder. I have two older sisters, one of whom also has been diagnosed with MS.
I experienced the normal range of childhood diseases, including chickenpox, measles, and mumps. However, I rarely missed attending school as a result of experiencing illness.
During 10th grade, I began to show multiple signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. It was unbelievably devastating. I would eventually be diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS several years later, at age 29.
Honestly, I may never truly know why I would eventually develop multiple forms of chronic illness.