I’ve been gone from here. I tried to come back once, at the beginning, but I quickly felt frivolous and even guilty because there wasn’t time for this and there never seems to be enough time. The last four months have been blurry, only because they have been so sharp. It seemed that the fracturing shift in the ground where I stood only felt steady as a bigger shift pushed it aside, for a moment. The things that have happened and the way they happened seemed to take all of me, so much so that I have had to remind myself that I have MS. Not that my body isn’t tired and doesn’t hurt because it has and does. It’s just that all of this “shifting” has had it’s own exhaustion and pain that left me unable to think of much anything else. If it weren’t for the daily alarms buzzing from my phone, the jolts from the needle piercing my skin and the tender lumps that join the others, I wouldn’t have thought about MS enough to even follow through with my treatment.
People often say that everything happens for a reason. We can break things down into their smallest parts and find cause and effect scientifically but, when we hear this, we are dealing with the bigger, simpler picture- ourselves. Have we always done something to deserve what happens or is someone else to blame? Is there a reward or a punishment to be found that is meant to teach us something? I don’t think so. I think we choose to find meaning because, even if we feel we’re being punished, we long to understand and feel like we have even the smallest amount of control. While I have been fruitlessly trying to find meaning in the things that have kept me away, my grief, worry and anger had pushed my MS away from my intellectual and emotional self. So, while I don’t have reason or meaning to why things have happened the way they have, I have learned something. MS can be forgotten, even if it’s only for a few minutes or a few months. Before the recent events and changes in my life, I didn’t think it was possible and have felt suffocated by it for years. For me, this is good to know, even if it’s only true until It is what shifts my life and makes me forget some other part of me. This is the unreason I am choosing to take from the events of the summer because things happen and, if they don’t kill us, life continues on. For a few months, my MS was just about forgotten and, now that I know it is possible, maybe next time it will be a season of joy, opportunity or even just feeling really great that leads me to forget.
My son left for college this morning and through the constant ache in my heart I’m finding the good part to help me through this very long, slow-moving day. My mind has been reliving the moments that are a part of me forever. I can smell his sweet baby scent from the back of his neck that I inhaled daily from rocking him even when the books said I should be putting him down. I still feel the pit in my stomach watching him learn how to crash onto the front lawn riding his BigWheel. I can hear his raspy little voice telling me that I was a princess as he watched me put on my makeup and jewelry. I could fill pages with moments like these. I could also fill pages telling how life plays a cruel trick letting our children jump from one milestone to the next in the blink of an eye. Instead, I am going to tell you the good part. My son and I are very close and have a wonderful relationship. He’s also going to college! Thinking about him going to college and what he has chosen to study brings me to the good part of having MS. My son wrote a paper in high school about seeing me in the hospital and watching me recover from relapse and flares. He wrote that seeing these things helped him to know what he wants to do with his life. He changed focus in school and started classes in health science and became very active in HOSA, a club that prepares students for careers in the healthcare industry. My son is now a BioChemistry major and is planning on continuing on to med school to become a doctor. While my MS took so much away from me, it gave my son invaluable direction. This is the good part of MS for me. What are the good parts of your trials and are you willing to see them? I will painfully miss my son and MS will take pieces of me that will hurt emotionally as well as physically but finding the good parts and holding on to them have and will continue to make it all easier.
I had my six month visit with my neurologist. We always talk about how I’m feeling, disease progression, insurance, next round of MRIs and what’s new in the world of Multiple Sclerosis. The good news is I’m doing really well. There are no signs that the disease is progressing and, until I have my MRI (which needs to be done by the end of the year), I will go on with this being my truth. My MS is not progressing….until it does. The bad part of the day was when the trial coordinator came in to talk with me about the trial I’ve been crossing everything for. I’m too healthy to be included. It’s strange being told I’m too healthy for anything and ,while I like hearing it, I’m kind of annoyed by it. Actually, I was really annoyed. Can’t a girl with MS get a break just because she has MS?! Actually, she can and I did. The trial coordinator left after she walked me to the checkout counter and told me to wait for her in the waiting room after I was done checking out. After about ten minutes, she came out and handed me a big bag and said a warm goodbye. I took a quick peek into the bag and without squealing, hurried out to my car. I drove home still unable to really look inside the bag. When I got home I opened one of the greatest, most appreciated gifts I’ve been given. Let’s just say I won’t be worrying about treating my MS for quite a while. So, while I often have bad days and just as often have good days, my day ended the way it usually does. I am thankfully blessed with wonderful reminders of how good things really are for me. It’s true that to see the good we’ve had to experience the bad. Multiple Sclerosis has proven to be a lesson of this principle in my life many times. I’ve decided that it will continue to do so because I will keep my eyes, ears and heart open to it.