Multiple sclerosis is a stealthy thief, taking what it wants, piece by piece.
We can choose to let that define us, or we can choose to live with MS on our own terms.
I didn't know what it was at the time, but it was exactly five years ago when I had my first MS attack. I was confused and frightened by the magnitude of my symptoms. Somehow, I instinctively new that nothing would ever be the same.
At first, the power of MS was overwhelming. I was 43 years-old and my life was already awash in turmoil. This latest twist had the potential to be my complete undoing.
One thing I had going for me was Jake's love and support, but could he... would he... sign on for life? He could and he did.
It was rough going for awhile, as we adjusted to this new entity in our lives. Doctors and tests. Injections and hospital visits. Decisions and lifestyle changes. For a few years, it was all about getting educated and determining just how we would manage to live... I mean really live... with MS.
Knowing that one can never have full control, I slowly came to the realization that there were still many things I could control. It was time to come out of the MS holding pattern and move on.
I survived those years, not a different person, but a better person for the experience. I have gained understanding of other people and their problems, visible and invisible. After a lifetime of impatience, I have learned to wait. I've learned that the most precious things are also the simplest things. I take nothing for granted.
I have learned to express myself, both verbally and with the written word. I've learned the art of compromise with my body. It it is not up to the task, we'll just change the task.
I've learned not to concern myself with the judgments of others and I root for the underdog. I know that all is not as it seems. I know that we waste too much time on inconsequential things. Time is fleeting. Youth and good health are temporary. If we ever had good health to begin with, we can consider ourselves fortunate.
Now I don't know if I can attribute all this change to MS alone. It's more likely a combination of mid-life maturity, surviving major upheaval, a good marriage, and MS. But it does make MS more palatable, knowing that I've found some good and learned a few lessons.
Published On: June 23, 2008