Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MS - What are the choices?

   When you received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, you may have thought you were not the same or ever would be. That’s not my point of view. Maybe you have changed the way you think and look at life, but that was always inside you. The diagnosis just gave you the impetus to reach further within and bring it out.

   In 1993, I became an MS victim. Though not life-threatening, my disease was certainly life-altering. Just knowing that something in your body has a life all its own and you have very little control over it, can make one very introspective. Looking to fulfill yourself, whether through spiritual renaissance or through artistic endeavors, is one way of reclaiming some control. I started with painting and then went to writing.
    Going through a sickness yourself is, I think in many ways, easier than watching a loved one go through it. Facing your own mortality and the process you go through to accept it, can be emotionally rigorous.
   Life is oddly funny. My life certainly didn't turn out the way I expected and there are times I lament that. Giving birth to a child with special needs 24 years ago has "changed" me. Having MS has "changed" me. I am not the same person my husband married. Poor, but patient, guy. But have I really changed? Or has the crisis brought out the real me that lay dormant? Is it just that that part of me never needed to be tapped before? I have come to realize that fundamentally I am the same person, but this road that was laid out for me, with all its bumps along the way, has made me a better person. The first third of our lives we learn about life, the second third we experience life, and the last third we prepare, although subconsciously, for the end of our life.
   My parents did a great job preparing me to face many different hardships while on my own path. If I didn't have a strong Mom and Dad, guiding me along all those years, I may never have been able to cope with a child who is mentally and physically disabled. My daughter helped me to appreciate and accept differences in people, but my parents helped me deal with having a child who is different. Have I thanked you lately, Mom & Dad?
   Now I am the one who is different. I have faced that reality, accepted it, and then adapted to it. That is the real me. So, I continue my artistic endeavors with optimistic hope. I look forward to the future with excitement.
   As for the MS, I take it a day at a time. After all, what are my choices?


  1. One day at a time for all of us. :) I cannot imagine what it would be like to be told that I have MS. It cannot be just like any other day. You have courage and a great smile. :)

    Do you have a twitter account? I liked your FB but would like to post you on twitter also. All my love,

  2. Hi Lauren

    Here I am trying again after obliterating my first response to this very moving blog. It was probably a little long winded anyway so I will attempt to be more concise.

    I am with you all ther way here when you talk about tapping into something inside us which has laid dormant.

    My diagnosis of MS was only presented to me 2 months ago, but on looking at my history, the medical profession are now sure I have had it for at least 25 years. My symptoms were apparently those of relapsing remitting and have now moved to secondary progressive. This second phase of the condition has certainly been life changing for me in that over a short period of time my right side has become very weak and I can't walk very well (although I have an FES to help with this) and I can no longer write. ( I am typing with one finger of left hand) This isn't a moan, just putting you in the picture.

    Howeverr, to go back a few years, I became alcohol dependant. This was during the 1980s. In 1997 I went into a treatment centre for alcoholism where I learned that alcoholism is an illness of the mind, body and spirit. The only cure from this is to reach a rock bottom which gives you enough of a kick to want to start changing things. It took me 5 years of further pain to reach that place but I did in 2001. I am still a member of AA today and it has helped me to save my life. I work on the 12 step recovery program of AA every day and I know that the suffering I went through has eventually brought me to a place in life where I am a better person for the experienc.And it is here where I find your theory very interesting,in that we have simply tapped into a part of ourslves that we were not aware of.

    I have to say that that experience and the consequent work I have had to do on myself has helped me greatly in beginning to cope with the emotional recovery of the MS, You have used a phrase we often use in AA regarding recovery and that is "one day at a time". I am sure such recovery will become stronger as long as I do the next right thing and live in the day.

    I feel I am slowly becoming the person I was intended to be.

    I hope some of these ramlings make a little sense.

    PS I have surprised myself since the MS dx; I have, with the encouragement of a close friend who is a poet, begun to write poetry which I find very therapeutic, and good fun too! I am still an infant, but learning

    Take care