The MA is just the wildcard.
MS = LIFE x 1000.
I’ve been exploring the theme of MS and radical life changes recently, and a good few of you have got in touch with your own incredible stories, both personally and through the blog.
The overriding theme is, ‘ok, I’ve got MS, but I changed my life for the better, and decided to do what I always wanted to, sticks/wheelchair/nerve pain or not’.
Of course, walking with a stick or waking up to numb limbs doesn’t tend to feature heavily in our good-news scenarios but the fact that a large number of us appear to live more fulfilling lives puts it all into perspective. Yet it can take a while to get used to.
Like me. On Monday, we had our book club Christmas party. Readers, I had to take my stick.
Awkward. I had unwittingly marked myself as ‘other’, even though I knew I could grasp the tables and chairs and stagger my way round the room without it, the stick was a solace and it helped. I am proud and didn’t want to look like a toddler taking their first steps or face the inevitable whispers of, ‘has she? Too much red? She always says she dances on tables when she drinks red’.
Yet the stick also rendered me speechless and quiet. And anyone who knows me will know that’s pretty unusual.
Anyway, Monday taught me a lesson. I am still the same person, with or without a stick for balance. Perhaps I should fashion my own one from driftwood, imbuing it with magical powers, terrifying the neighbourhood children. I already have the black cat, so why not?
What I’m trying to say is, what does it look like like to have MS? For me, and people like me? The few memories of my father are distorted and shaped by familial prompting. All I remember is that in his final days, he lost his power of speech and moved from his wheelchair to his bed. And he looks odd in the few photographs I have, whereas I appear to be happily sucking my thumb on the grass in the backyard.
So, what am I? Yup, I got his eyes, his chin, his dismissive sense of humour. And for good measure, the MS.
Who are you with MS?
Are you still denying its existence or have you accepted it and understood that you are not MS. It does not have you, unless you allow it.
For those of you with more advanced forms than I, I apologise. The aim of this post is to inspire us who are still at the beginning; if we give up now, who’s going to care?