I chose to be the change I wanted to see in the world
Ace on how she’s found purpose thanks to her diagnosis
You might remember reading my story back in March 2019 (issue 114 New Pathways page 14, How you react to your situation defines you as a person) where I explained how I’d been diagnosed ages 22 just after university.
I’d studied for three years on a design craft degree, and I’d set up a business in my second year as an illustrator. I’d worked so hard to build that business to make sure I had a way of earning money when I left. I had an agent ready to represent me at trade shows worldwide, I had a children’s book deal, and I had my work ready to be stocked in boutique stores all over the UK. Life never goes to plan, though, does it?
Things didn’t start to get better till about four years after I was diagnosed. Luckily my left side came back, and my right hand that also lost feeling a few weeks after my diagnosis came back too. But by that time, I’d lost all confidence in myself. The agent, book deal, and boutique stores all disappeared. I felt like I‘d lost who I was. I didn’t trust my body anymore.
It wasn’t until I joined my then-fiance and started our wedding advice business for brides to be that I started sharing more of my story. Until this point, I hadn’t told anyone about my MS. Brides started asking me for help with how to plan their wedding around their illness. It was at that point I realized my story could help someone else.
Now, seven years after my diagnosis, I build my confidence, and now I do things I never thought I would.
Somehow, unconfident, shy little me is the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast, interviewing famous radio DJ’s, Paralympians, celebrity chefs, CEOs, and people who, like me, got a diagnosis and found a way to help others.
Even the ENabled Warriors in our Facebook group get involved in asking questions, which I love.
I’ve now worked with the biggest MS charities; writing, illustrating and sharing my story, and talking about the things that don’t get said. My words and illustrations help to inspire others with chronic illnesses live their best lives, filling the internet with positivity in case doctors say, as they did to me, to ‘go home and google it’.
The thing I’m most proud of is that I’m now an author! I created the ENabled Warrior Symptom Tracker to help people with chronic illnesses track and manage their symptoms and lifestyle. It also enables you to keep accurate symptom records so you can access the best possible treatment. I’m giving a donation to MS-UK if you order it here Order symptom tracker
Waking up with a numb left side gave my life purpose and meaning. I decided to turn around in that negative state and chose instead to be the change I wanted to see in the world.
I would love to find out about your diagnosis story, so please get in touch with me. Find me @DISabledtoENabled on Instagram or in our Facebook group ‘ENabled Warriors’. Make sure to catch my live Instagram videos.
I don’t like the term ‘DISability’, find what why on www.JessieAce.com.