Jordan Ogren

November 26, 2021

The day Katie and I's life changed forever.

“Do you have any other questions?”

Katie and I blankly stare at each other and then back at the doctor. Neither of us resembles the people who walked into this same hospital a week ago.

It was my birthday, October 16th. It was a wonderful celebration with family; until the next day...

Katie had been having issues all week with her foot feeling numb and then the entire left side of her body. We had agreed to go in on Sunday (the 17th) if nothing improved.

So, the day after my birthday, we went to a walk-in. Within twenty minutes, we were on the way to the ER. 

After four hours at the ER, Katie finally came down looking worn out and tired. Rather than jumping into inquiry mode, I remained in the space of uncertainty. She was quiet as we walked to the car.

Finally, after getting in the car, she mentions all the tests they did (e.g., MRIs, blood work, pregnancy test). 

“And…?” I ask.

She looks away as she begins to tear up. Oh no, I think. I’m about to be a parent. That’s not that bad, other than the fact I’m grossly underprepared to parent a kid.

But that wasn’t it.

“They think I have MS.”


“Multiple Sorosis.”

Before she finished that sentence, she began crying, and I moved to embrace her. The weight of this early diagnosis was crippling, but the heat of her body near mine gave us warmth.

Over the next few days, Katie would go through more tests and eventually end up in a neurologist’s office where the opening question was asked. That’s when he told us he was confident it was MS but needed to do a few more tests.

Katie and I both had researched MS in an attempt to grasp our new future. But, unfortunately, the research did not result in optimism, at least for me.

Our wonderful and peaceful life together was over. Just three months ago, we said our vows, not knowing “through thick {and thin}” would come so quickly.

And man was this thick.

After that meeting, Katie went through a five-day intensive steroid treatment to relieve her current attack. The side effects of that treatment kicked our ass. The emotional and physical toll it had on Katie was hard to watch. But as hard as it was to watch, Katie was in hell.

And she still is. And sadly, this hell will only come back stronger and leave longer in the future. Fuck.

I’m not assuming you understand our specific predicament. But I know you’ve experienced something similar.

They are all the same, whether it’s a cancer diagnosis, a divorce, depression, or even getting fired from a job you love. They pull the rug from underneath you and leave you lying on your back, wondering, “What is life, now?”

But there is one positive that comes from these “dark nights of the soul.”

Togetherness. Oneness.

When you suffer with someone you love, it’s a magnetic pull toward that person. You feel more together than you ever had before the pain.

The pain is a glue. It can strengthen your bond to a point that was never possible when the sun was shining. 

Or it can destroy everything you have. 

You could be so attached to the future–that is now gone–that you lose yourself. Whether as the person going through it or the caretaker for that person.

I don’t have an “aha” moment or lesson to share about this experience. I’m barely above water myself.

My only comment would be to lean in. If there is pain around you, a friend going through depression or anxiety, lean into that pain. It will strengthen your relationship and shape you into a better person.

If you’re the one who received the diagnosis, I have no advice for you. Anything I say will pale in comparison to what you’re dealing with. Just know that pain has a purpose.

A purpose that you decide. It can bring you together and stronger, or into resentment and anger.

And in the end, likely both will happen. 

There is no magic formula for getting through this bullshit game we call life.

The only solution I have is to find peace in the never-changing awareness of the sadness or pain. The pain will cease–for moments–but the awareness of the pain never changes. 

It’s the peace and joy we seek through materialistic objects.

Let your dark nights draw you closer to the unchanging awareness where true peace and joy reside.

I love you, and if you need someone to talk to about what you’re going through, please reach out. Your life is meaningful.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO