What We Leave Behind

I have been thinking a lot about all that I’ve left behind. Time has nudged, well actually forced me through my life much too quickly, so I get lost in my memories and find myself saying goodbye to yesterdays all over again. Like everyone else, I have so many memories all of different caliber so my reminiscing brings smiles and laughter as well as frustration and tears. Some are sweet memories like snuggles with my babies in the middle of the night and the ceramic “Blondie” pin a boy gave me at the beginning of the school year that I wore pretty much everyday for the rest of 5th grade, while others are somber and weighted. I also look back and remember yesterdays that feel so unique to me with their abandonment because they are not part of life’s natural progression yet I know I am not unique and that many have had to leave the same things behind. Knowing this doesn’t bring me comfort and it often makes me angry because these memories shouldn’t be memories and they shouldn’t have had to be left behind for at least another forty years from now.

MS forces us to leave things behind, most of which are things no one really thinks about losing because they are basic mechanics of living. Sometimes, it is quick and sudden while other times it is very slow, fluctuating and tricky. Both can be easier than the other as well as equally cruel. We deal with loss of function that may or may not return and most likely never returns to where it was. While the things I have had to leave behind are the smaller things that MS takes, the fact that an internal rebellion inside me is to blame make each goodbye very cruel. My misguided immune system attacks my central nervous system leaving scar tissue that can’t be touched because of where it is (trust me, I asked!) and so the damage is permanent. The location and size of a lesion determine where and how much we lose. There can be loss of function anywhere in our body as well as pain, numbness, weakness, itching, burning, tingling and muscle spasticity. Our bodies also become controlled in new and sometimes scary ways by outside influences, illness, stress and lack of sleep. When I think about the consequential loss that inevitably comes it makes it all so much bigger. The meanest lesion I have is in my neck at C3 which gives it an unwelcome presence in just about all of my body and makes it the one I blame for most of what I have lost. So, in the midst of recalling what use to be, I am holding on to one thing I don’t have to leave behind, until my body decides otherwise, which is to remember all the good. Losing the happy memories of what once was is something I hope to never leave behind  and while I can, I will give them enough room to quiet the sadness. While waiting for cure, my hope for everyone with any damage to their CNS is that we will one day have the ability to repair the damage and take back the things we have lost.

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