My Story: After MS Robbed Her Of Mobility, She Hiked A Mountain

Angela White MS GirlTrek

In 2002, I had just landed a dream job that combined my love of learning with college students and a grounding in how faith shapes who we are, how we understand life and the world around us, as well as how we prioritize based upon those factors and understandings. I was already struggling with uncertainty and no small amount of self-doubt and fear because I was the the youngest member of the faculty, the newest, the only one without a PhD, and the only Black person outside of the chef who prepared meals for the students.

READ: #BlackGirlHealing: “I Have Been Afraid That Stress Will Kill Me”

Angela White MS GirlTrek

Fall 2008

Although there had been some indications that my body and mind were struggling—the sense of being overwhelmed and tired no matter how much rest I got; the cramp in my leg that developed as I stepped off a stair, lasted for a week, and that left a bruise that lasted another two weeks—it wasn’t until a Wednesday that fall (late September/early October) that I grew concerned because there was  a “hole” in my vision; a place in which no matter where I looked, no matter how many drops I used, or how much I cleaned my glasses, nothing was visible.

Because my maternal grandmother had had diabetes, and because I was quite obese, my mind first conjured up ideas that perhaps it was a detached retina that had developed due to an undiagnosed case of diabetes. I was able to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist that same day, which meant I would need to leave class early. Despite how I thought that would make me look—to my colleagues and to the students—I was just frightened enough to leave for the appointment anyway.