Sometimes I think there is not a single thing in my life that doesn’t somehow relate to multiple sclerosis.
I just bought a new bra and I’m so pleased with the comfort and fit! Where was I when they came up with these half-sizes? I’m pretty sure that Jake questioned my sanity when I proclaimed my delight at the new bra for the dozenth time.
Would you believe that I haven’t actually bought a new bra in years? It’s part of my self-imposed punishment for having MS. I feel guilty when I spend money on myself for items that I categorize as wants rather than needs.
If you’re feeling the urge at this point to tell me how ridiculous that is, don’t waste your time. I already know. It is completely nuts, but it is one of the ways living with chronic illness manifests itself.
My earning power since MS came on the scene has greatly diminished, and the expenses associated with my health care have drastically increased. Every month I must make my peace with the math, and it's not pretty.
I’m not one of those people I’ve read about who manage to keep MS in the background. Don’t get me wrong... I would if I could, because I don't believe in dwelling on things you can't change, but its impact is too great. My MS simply will not be silenced. It won’t remain in its assigned compartment, instead infiltrating every nook and cranny of my life. It is a factor in every financial decision, every social event, every career-related endeavor.
Each morning as I wake, I have to gauge my health status for the day. As my bare feet touch the floor, I make a mental note of how it felt because it is an indication of how well I will function. As I prepare to leave for work, I evaluate my driving skills.
After work, will I need a nap, or can I do chores or catch up on writing? And when I think about buying a new bra, I can't help but cringe at the $500 it costs us each month for my MS medication. Jake and I don't live alone. We share our home with MS.
This is not a pity party. This is acceptance of reality, and that’s an important distinction. The only way to plow through MS is to acknowledge our world as it really is, rather than how we wish it to be.
I’ve been successful in discovering ways to cope with the changes MS has brought to my life. Guilt is a hurdle I have yet to clear, but I'm getting better at it. I suspect it will always be a work in progress.
Published On: October 06, 2008