Multiple Sclerosis

Why My (and Your) MS Diagnosis Anniversary Matters

July 3, 2024

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Why My (and Your) MS Diagnosis Anniversary Matters

It’s been eight-year since my diagnosis. Is that something to celebrate – the anniversary of getting diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ? It’s certainly not a happy milestone in my life. But MS was definitely life-changing, so ignoring it doesn’t feel right either.

I remember the shock, the fear, and the overwhelm.

It felt like my world was flipped upside down, and I had no idea what the future would hold.

But over time, my MS diagnosis became more than just an incurable illness. It became an opportunity to slow down, reassess, and prioritize what truly matters in life.

So, let’s dive into why my MS anniversary holds so much significance and how I view it now, eight years later.

Processing the Diagnosis

When I first heard the words “You have MS”, it was like a bomb going off in my life. Fear and uncertainty consumed me. I tried to piece together a future that suddenly felt so uncertain.

But what did this diagnosis mean for my health, my life, and my future?

I liked my life before MS. It wasn’t perfect, but it was mine. It was a life I was in control of. Suddenly, all that was in question.

Would I still…

  • Get married?
  • Have a baby?
  • Build the dream nutrition practice I had worked so hard to start?

The fear, resentment, and overwhelming sense of “what now?” set in.

Like many of us, I had LOTS of questions and very few answers.

  • Would I be disabled?
  • How disabled would I be and what would it feel like?
  • Would someone need to take care of me?

Nothing about my future seemed certain anymore.

Why I Celebrate My MS Anniversary

So, why do I “celebrate” the anniversary of my diagnosis?

I’ve been asked this many times over the years.

My answer: “Because MS is the gift I didn’t know I needed.”

Yes, it brought life-altering news, but it also changed my life for the better. MS forced me to slow down and appreciate the small moments in life that I would have otherwise taken for granted.

It’s not a cliché Hallmark message.

This is real… if you choose it.

By acknowledging the day, I can bring a sense of closure and acceptance to a chapter of my life that was scary and fear-based. It shows that I didn’t just park my life there.

The Wahls Protocol and Small Wins

Now, before you shut down the idea, thinking you’re not doing the Wahls Protocol fully yet or you fell off the bandwagon, remember this: if you’re reading this or listening to My MS Podcast, you’re still in the game.

Nobody does this diet or journey perfectly. We’re all figuring it out as we go along. The fact that you’re reading this blog post shows your heart is still in it.

Let me share a little story with you.

One day, I was having lunch at my kitchen table. It wasn’t a Michelin star salad, but it had my leafy greens. I was catching up on emails when someone asked, “I don’t have MS. Will this diet still work for me?”

This is a question I get a lot. Many people with other autoimmune diseases, chronic illnesses, migraines, or inflammatory conditions want to know if this diet will help them too. The answer is often YES.

As I responded to her email, I looked down at my salad and had a moment of realization. While I’m eating these foods to help address MS, is it possible this diet could also be preventing future health issues I might never have to deal with? It made me feel proud of my decision to change my diet, even if it started with small steps.

How MS Changed My Life For The Better

Once I got my diagnosis, I had no choice but to slow down. The fatigue is real, so I couldn’t maintain my previous pace. But, MS or not, that pace wasn’t sustainable. I always had a standard for myself that was forever out of reach. It was an exhausting chase… every single day.

Eventually, I realized the things I was pushing myself to do were rarely meaningful. I kept putting what truly mattered on the back burner. MS forced me to face that.

This was probably the greatest gift. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m working on slowing down and speaking to myself in a kinder way. My energy is more finite now, so I’m more intentional with how I spend it. I don’t want to waste it anymore.

Moving Forward With An MS Diagnosis

MS made me realize that we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Instead of worrying about potential worst-case scenarios in the future, it’s time to start living today.

MS has challenged me to change my identity for the better.

I’m no longer defined by how much I accomplish or the goals I achieve.

I live for the choices I make every day about the meaning I want my life to have. I want to create meaningful memories, not just achieve goals.

I still have goals for my life and business, but how I go about achieving them has changed. My success or failure doesn’t define me anymore. My life is valuable and has meaning. I have dreams that I now pursue in a healthier way.

So, for me, acknowledging the anniversary brings a sense of closure and acceptance. It’s a reminder that I decided to turn the page and create a new chapter. One where I’m intentional with my time and energy, follow a nutrition protocol, and put living my life and loving others front and center.

A Message About Your MS Anniversary

As I honor the anniversary of my diagnosis, I am filled with genuine gratitude for the journey that has brought me to this moment. Maybe after reading this, you might feel the same way.

I hope sharing my story helps tell a part of our collective story. But I know each of our stories is unique, so I’d love to hear yours. Let me know in the comments.

Remember, we are in this together, and every step forward, no matter how small, is a step worth celebrating.

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I'm Alene, your MS Sister.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, I was scared and felt alone. But as a Nutrition Coach, I knew there was more to healing than what I was being told. I took action and within six months the lesions I had on my brain shrunk and went inactive. Now, seven years later there has been no new lesions and no new activity. As a nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis, I help women take back control of their future.

That’s my story, but I’m not alone. It's your turn to start Thriving with MS. I’m here to show you the way. 

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