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?