Battling Multiple Sclerosis as an African American Woman in America

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

by Yuri Legynd

As an African American woman learning that you have a debilitating disease at 25 was earth shattering. I was still riding the high of being the first in my family to graduate from college and land my first salary paying job. Anything and everything went through my mind. “My life is over”, “ Am I dying?”, or “I have multiple- what?” I didn’t know much about the disease let alone anyone with it. After leaving the neurologist’s office with just a pamphlet I felt deflated about my future. I went straight to google and YouTube and typed in “Multiple Sclerosis” to see if there was anyone else out there with this disease. To my disappointment, all I found was information about old white people battling the disease, people seriously disabled, or wheelchair bound. The few people that were African American were Montel Jordan and Tamia the singer. I was disheartened to find out that not many people looked like me or were young and thriving with the disease. It crushed my world and I became seriously depressed.

Unfortunately, in our community, health and diseases aren’t really talked about. It’s almost like a shameful thing to show or to acknowledge you have a flaw. When I was diagnosed, my MRI at the time showed several large lesions on my brain. Some were old and some were new. What was even more horrifying was