Darcy was my first MS friend. Although, we were friends before either of us had MS. Sort of. We met in grade 7 when we were in the same French Immersion class, but we didn’t exactly run in the same circles. For one thing, I didn’t run, even before I had a medical reason not to. Darcy was sporty and cool. I sang The Wind Beneath My Wings at our Grade 8 grad. We landed at separate high-schools and didn’t keep in touch.
When I was diagnosed with MS in my early 20s, I didn’t know anything about the disease. It was scary and lonely; and in the early 2000s, the internet wasn’t a place where you could easily connect with other Trippers. There was no social media. A friend of a friend put me in touch with a girl my age who had also recently been diagnosed. It was Darcy.
Suddenly we had something in common, something that very few people understand. At the time, we were both frustrated by the lack of resources for young people with MS. We didn’t feel there was any support for men and women in their 20s dealing with invisible symptoms on top of all the quarter-life crises our 20-something peers were navigating. I was single—more or less—and worried about how my new sick-person status would impact my relationship prospects. Darcy was newly married and concerned about how MS might affect her ability to have a baby.
While my own disease has been aggressive, Darcy’s has been unrelenting. By the time she left her marriage at age 35, Darcy was a wheelchair user.
MS cost Darcy her marriage, a fact that she accepts with grace. Not everyone can roll with MS; but Darcy never let MS trick her into thinking she doesn’t deserve her happily ever after.
In this episode of Tripping On Air podcast, Darcy dishes about dating with progressive MS. The good, the bad, and the cringe-worthy (although, nothing quite so cringe-worthy as a 13-year-old belting out Bette Midler tunes in public).
If YouTube isn’t your jam, you can catch this episode of Tripping on Air Podcast wherever you get your pods.
We don’t see nearly enough examples in media of people with chronic illness or disability as romantic partners; and so, I’m grateful to Darcy for sharing her story. Darcy knows her worth, Darcy knows she doesn’t have to settle. 20-something years later, Darcy is still one of the coolest people I know.