I haven’t talked a lot about Stephanie and where the character came from, and it occurred to me that I owed her that much. I also realized that the reason why I haven’t talked much about her is because I don’t want to dwell on her issues. Stephanie has Multiple Sclerosis. So do I. her struggles with the disease mirror mine and the fact that I have left much of that aspect out of my blog is wrong.
I don’t ever want people to look at me and see a disease before they see who I am. Stephanie is the same way. When Jack found her on that ledge, her medical issues were the least of her worries. She was in trouble; full of sadness and self doubt and worst of all, she was utterly alone. The one person who had always had her back was gone, and in Stephanie’s mind, it was because of her. If she had been honest with Nikki about Josh’s prejudice and his vile treatment of her, Nikki would never have stayed. Steph knew that, and still she kept quiet. When we meet her for the first time, her MS is far off the radar. She needed someone to believe in her, to trust her, and to show her she was worth this life. Jack found her at the exact moment he should have. It’s a line he tells her early in the novel.
Stephanie treats her disease as the monster it is, but as one she is determined to fight. She tells Brittany early in book 2 that every day is a war. Some days she wins, and other days she doesn’t. The important thing for her is to get up the next day and fight again. Her fears are always there, but with the love and support of Jack and her family, the part of Stephanie that focuses on what she can’t do becomes smaller every day.