Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brain Lesions, Multiple Sceloris & The Commonwealth Games: What REALLY happened in New Delhi, India (ACHTUNG SERIES!)

On October 10, 2010 I stood at the top of the podium and heard for the first time, the Canadian anthem played in my honour.  What most people probably don’t know is that in the midst of probably one of my greatest achievements in Track & Field I was also at one of the worst moments in my life.

Just a week before boarding the plane for India, I was told I had 10 brain lesions that resembled Multiple Sclerosis.  There is nothing that can prepare you for news like that.  It felt as though my body had turned against me.  I mean I’m a world-class athlete.  I train 30hrs a week and eat well.  Being ill didn’t seem like something that could happen to someone like me.  But, here I was told I likely had MS and would have to undergo more tests.
I had been feeling ill for most of August,and ended up canceling my remaining competitons in Europe and returning home.  Among my symptoms were numbness on the right side of my body and crippling migraines which had a doctor admit me to the Emergency Room.     
While I competed in New Delhi, India at the Commonwealth Games, my symptoms were at their worst.  For the 3 nights prior to my competition I laid awake in incredible pain throughout my body, certain I had Multiple Scerlosis. 
But, something funny happens when you have a goal you are determined to achieve.  You only see the way.  So, while I suffered secretly on competition day, I didn’t care.  I didn’t care that I couldn’t feel my foot.  I didn’t care that my body and brain ached.  I had one goal, and that was to win.  And win I did!
As I ran around the Track proudly waving the Canadian flag, the happiness that I was overcome with, was the realization of how anything is possible, no matter how bleak your situation may appear...  I had a million reasons why I should have performed poorly, and I wouldn’t allow myself to see those excuses.
After Commonwealth Games, I returned home to a series of tests including a spinal tap and many more MRI’s which revealed I actually had over 20 brain lesions.   At which point, all I could do was turn it over to God.  Yeah, it’s safe to say my knees made contact with the ground every night…. And my prayers were answered.   Miraculously, my 20 plus lesions were determined to be the result of an autoimmune virus. I do not have Multiple Scelorsis! 
Can you believe that?  Wow!!!  Truly incredible!!!  Thank you God!  Today, my health has returned back to normal.  The torture I felt feels like a distant memory, though it was only a few months ago.

Ironically, I am grateful for what I went through.  I don’t ever want to forget it!  I really appreciate the fragility of health and life.  I’ve also learned just how capable I am to overcome.  And I don’t believe I am any different than anyone else.
The truth of the matter is that we are all more powerful than we realize sometimes.  As Marianne Williamson stated “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Facing my fears,


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.. I wish you all the best

Anonymous said...

Hi Nicole,
Your article is really lovely. Thank you. My daughter is currently being investigated for MS, which is the reason I am trawling the internet for info. I hope she does not have it as it is one of the most waisting afflications I can think of.