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Now I have MS

by Dana Harrison

I used to be a writer and an artist. Now it’s hard to hold a pencil. Now I have MS. I used to be a great conversationalist. Now I can’t find the words. Now I have MS. I used to be energetic. Now I’m tired. Now I have MS. I used to feel rested and refreshed and revitalized. Now I don’t sleep. Now I have MS. People think I don’t listen to them. I do—I just don’t remember. Now I have MS. I used to be a violinist. Now my left side is too weak. Now I have MS. I used to be fearless, when things were more predictable. Now I’m afraid. Now I have MS. I used to be in control of my emotions. Now my emotions control me. Now I have MS. I used to make plans and look forward to those plans. Now I don’t know how I’ll be feeling. Now I have MS. It took a lifetime for me to “find myself.” Now I live with a foreign brain. Now I have MS. When I used to get sick I knew exactly what I had and how long it would last. Now I have MS. In 2011, I followed my dream when I fell in love. I was finally excited about my future. In 2012, I found out I have MS. Now I don’t know what the future holds for me. Now I have MS. I always gave my best. I still do, but my “new best” is my new normal, not what it used to be. Now I have MS. I’m still a wonderful person with a good heart. People still see my beauty within. Now I have MS, but I am not nor will I ever be MS.

Editor’s note: Many people associate poetry with meter, rhyme and line breaks. However, Dana Harrison’s piece is what’s known as a “prose poem,” a poetic form usually written as a block of text. With its rhythmic repetition of the line, “Now I have MS” in response to all the activities in her life that MS has affected, Harrison powerfully conveys the emotional impact of her disease.

Dana Harrison lives in Mentone, Indiana.
Spring 2016

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