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A young person in a manual wheelchair looks into a mirror and waves, the reflection is them as a teenager in a powered wheelchair waving back

Embracing Change with Neuromyelitis Optica

I've certainly had my share of unexpected twists and turns since my diagnosis with neuromyelitis optica (NMO). This autoimmune disorder shook up my life plans, forcing me to adapt to a new reality. But the message I want to convey is this: there is life, and it's pretty incredible, after an NMO diagnosis.

Altered life plans

Before NMO entered my life, I had a meticulously planned future. But, as fate would have it, NMO came knocking and disrupted my well-laid-out plans. At first, I was devastated, but I've come to realize that life's most beautiful moments often occur when you least expect them.

NMO has taught me to embrace spontaneity and redefine my ambitions. It's been an opportunity to explore new interests and hobbies that I might not have considered otherwise.

Career shifts

NMO brought some significant changes to my career. I was working for a charity. I'd recently been promoted to service manager and was heading for a bright and brilliant career. I had to give up my job as I was too unwell to work. Many people with NMO are able to transition to a more flexible work schedule or explore remote job opportunities.

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I miss my career, but NMO taught me to prioritize my well-being above all else and to find equilibrium in the professional sphere. Today, I'm not just surviving; I'm thriving in my new life as a travel content creator.


My relationships went through a test of fire due to NMO. Some friends disappeared when I needed them most, but the ones who stayed revealed their true colors. I've learned to cherish those who support me unconditionally and let go of those who don't.

My diagnosis has allowed me to build deeper, more meaningful connections with people who genuinely care. I even got married 8 years after my diagnosis to my wife, who has supported me throughout.

Social life

I can't indulge in late-night parties and spontaneous road trips anymore, but that doesn't mean my social life is dull. I've adjusted my expectations and embraced the joy of quiet dinners, game nights, and quality time with close friends. NMO has taught me that it's the company, not the activity, that truly matters.


Traveling has become different since my NMO diagnosis, but it's by no means impossible. Yes, I must plan meticulously, ensuring I have access to medical facilities and necessary medications. However, the world is still ripe for exploration, and NMO hasn't robbed me of that pleasure. It has, in fact, made me more resilient and resourceful in pursuing my wanderlust. And getting my wheelchair has helped immensely with travel!

Positives of NMO

Living with NMO is undoubtedly challenging, but it has also bestowed me with invaluable life lessons. It has made me resilient, adaptable, and appreciative of life's simple joys. NMO hasn't defined me; instead, it has reshaped me. I like this new me more than I thought I ever would.

Every day is a victory, an opportunity to prove that life persists beyond an NMO diagnosis. I've discovered a renewed sense of purpose, a profound appreciation for the little things, and a determination to make the most of each moment.

So, to all those facing the curveballs that life throws our way, whether it's NMO or any other challenge, remember that life is what you make of it. It may not be the life you had meticulously planned, but it can be just as, if not more, beautiful. Embrace the journey, learn from the detours, and cherish the victories, no matter how small they may seem.

NMO has changed my life, but it hasn't dimmed my spirit. If anything, it has made it stronger. Life is an adventure, and I'm ready for whatever comes my way.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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