Cory Martin was living a normal life as a 26-year-old when she suddenly realized something wasn’t quite right with her health.
“I was more exhausted than I should have been. I was forgetting things, and I just had this numb patch that would happen in my hands,” Martin tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She eventually saw her doctor, who referred her to a neurologist “just in case.”
It turned out Martin had multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the central nervous system that affects the way information flows between the brain and the body. After her diagnosis, she says she went on Google, “and everything I saw was devastating. I wouldn’t go to sleep because I was afraid I would wake up and not be able to walk.”
Martin said she was really nervous about what people would think — especially people she was dating. “My biggest fear of dating with MS is that nobody is going to love me because of this,” she says. “Nobody is going to want to take me in sickness and in health when the sickness is inevitable.”
Unfortunately, Martin says she had some “devastating” things happen in relationships, including dating a man who verbally attacked her over her disease after they broke up. “He sent me text messages that were like, ‘Thank God you broke up with me because now I can find a woman who is going to live to see her kids grow up,’” she says. “He went at every part of it that I was scared of.”
But instead of letting it bring her down, Martin says it became her mission to find someone who would love her the way she deserved to be loved.
She eventually started dating a man named Greg Morgenstein, and after a few dates, decided it was time to tell him about her diagnosis. “His reaction seemed very quiet,” Martin says. She could also see that he was on his phone. It turned out he was looking up MS and found that there are a lot of treatments and trials available for people with her condition. “He’s like, ‘I think you’ll be OK and together we’ll get through this,’” Martin recalls. The couple has now been together for six years.
Martin, who is a writer, eventually decided to do a memoir about her experience dating with MS called Love Sick, which she was inspired to write after she couldn’t find books that addressed what she was going through.
While Martin has found love, her MS still affects her life — and her relationship. “These days, living with MS is dealing with fatigue,” she says. “It’s like there’s nothing left in my body to give to whatever task I have to do that day.” Still, she says, her boyfriend is supportive of her. “He says, ‘Go take a nap. Do whatever you need to do.’ I can definitely be myself with him,” she says.
She also has a message for other people with MS who are dating: “Just because you have an MS diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of love or all the great things you originally planned for your life,” she says. “You can do all those, you just might have to make adjustments. And that’s OK.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Dating with a chronic illness: ‘If they reject me just because I have arthritis, then they’re not worth my time and effort anyway’
- ‘But you don’t look sick’: What it’s like to live with a ‘silent’ disease
- From suicidal to ‘thriving’: Montel Williams details his emotional journey with MS