Relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common form of MS at onset, is often likened to a roller coaster ride because of its characteristic ups and downs. I often write about the relapsing portion of the equation, but how about the remitting part?
Recovery from relapse is different for each of us and it may be different each time. I suspect that my days of coming back to 100 percent recovery are over, and I've made my peace with that. Not only have the past several years taken a physical toll due to multiple sclerosis, but age is a factor as well. At 48 years old, I can hardly expect to regain the physical strength I possessed at age 40. So, with that realistic expectation in mind, I'm more than content to return to 70-90 percent between relapses.
That's exactly where I am now. This is about as good as it gets these days and I'll take it without complaint. I still wobble on the stairs, and I wouldn't attempt long-distance highway driving, but I have little reason to ask for assistance, except when it comes to brute strength.
If you were to pass by me on the street today, you would not suspect physical impairment or disability. At this point, Jake, my husband/caregiver, can put his caregiver hat on the closet shelf for the time being.
No longer am I concerned with falling asleep against my will. No nap is required. I find household chores to be much easier than they were a few weeks ago. Why did I think doing the laundry was such a big deal? It is amazing how quickly the human psyche can adapt to such changes. How easy it is to put it all behind us. I've now been down this road enough times to know that this is a temporary state of affairs, but that does not dampen my spirit.
The only real danger that comes with the eye of the storm is that I have a tendency to become very dissatisfied with my work. Suddenly I know I am capable of so much more. I really should be working full time. I really could handle a more challenging job. Why am I wasting my time like this? Eventually there comes a day when I get the wake up call and I have to say, “oh, yeah... that's why.”
Jake usually observes this change in attitude early on in the cycle. While he loves seeing the 'old' me, he tends to keep his wits about him. He will usher a gentle reminder of the challenges I have faced, and will face again, all-too-soon. He keeps me from losing my perspective and making hasty decisions.
It is at this point that I realize just how incredibly fortunate I am. Unlike the paraplegic who will never again rise from the wheelchair, or the people who have a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, I get to experience a respite from the beast.
Walks in the park, a little puttering in the backyard and taking care of those long-neglected tasks around the house come naturally now. Spontaneity and enthusiasm rule the day. These moments are few and far between, but oh, so cherished!
Published On: March 28, 2008