Posted by: sistermom1 | September 15, 2009

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Since my diagnosis in 2005, many people have spoken with me about “the gift” of MS.  Sometimes, I just do not want to hear it.  This illness has changed most of my relationships, led to my losing over 50 pounds, dramatically impacted my marriage, my self-image, and my ability to make any money, and led me to cut my hair the shortest it has been since I got married 14 years ago.  In short, it has changed my life on every level – dramatically, fundamentally and completely.

And what is the message I try to take from this?  I am still working on a well-developed, robust theory, but to put it bluntly, shit happens.  This may not be what you want or even need to hear right now – and I never thought that this would represent anything that I would come to understand about my own life.  It is how you react to the shit that happens that matters most.  This is what I have come to know – we are all very blessed individuals.  The level that we know and accept that is very important, as it will come in handy whenever – and every time – the shit hits the fan. 

I have been a very protected woman over the past 50+ years of my life.  Not much has happened to me that could be considered negative or difficult.  Not too many missteps (a few, but not many thankfully!).  That alone is a tremendous blessing that looking back I should have appreciated much more – and now I do.

 As a practicing Buddhist, I have come to learn and accept that the challenges of life must be appreciated for all of their ebbs and flows.  No matter how bad it looks from the outside, within every challenge or obstacle is an opportunity to develop yourself further, and to become even more of the person you are here to be.  I know from my practice that each one of us has a very special mission – which is why we are here on earth at this time – one that only we can fulfill.  We are here to learn how to navigate the challenges successfully and make it happen.  My main challenge at this time is this damn MS.  There are times when I curse it to the skies, and cry my eyes out with soul-wrenching sadness, disappointment and fury over the daily pain in which I find myself. 

Who ever knew that I would need to learn how to inject myself with medicine every day?  That it would one day take me 11 minutes to navigate the 14 stairs from my bedroom to the first floor of my own home?  That a whole year would pass without my being able to attend any events at my childrens’ school – not even field trips?  That my 80-year old mother would push ME around the mall like I pushed both my kids during the first few years of their lives? 

There are other days when I actually feel quite good about what is happening with me right now.  Days when despite the heaviness in my legs and my limited range of movement, the helpful smile of my daughter or the knowing glance of my son absolutely make my day.  Days when someone comments that they are encouraged by something that I have done or said to them about this journey.  Days when my husband’s complaint-free approach to the dramatic changes in our life together really make me pause and reflect on what we have built over our 14 years of marriage.

SO much has occurred since my diagnosis in 2005.  My thinking has evolved over the past three years, and I think I have a lot to share.  I hope that you will come back and read some of what has happened to me – share what has happened to you or others that you know who have dealt with the potentially life-changing diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.  Let’s build a community of folks who have come together because of the reality of MS in our lives.  Let’s share what has worked for each of us and what has not – hopefully we will learn from each other….

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Responses

  1. Dear Linda,
    You are taking a bold step in helping yourself by venting and helping others to recognize and value what their lives have to offer themselves and others close to them.
    Your honesty about your feelings about MS are true and inspiring.
    You keep on goin’ girl!
    thanks,
    Kathy

  2. I am so touched and moved as I read your words. I am teary as I read about your experiences, your feelings and how you react to the MS. I relate to so much of what you write. I can see how writing this blog is theraputic, putting your thoughts and feeling in writing. My prayers are with you

  3. I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back

    • Thank you Kelli,
      It is so nice to get your feedback – it helps me to keep writing, even when I don’t feel well…


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