I am surprised to find myself writing this, but there is a lovely, positive side effect of living with MS. Honestly! Of course, it goes without saying this is apart from being in touch with all the fabulous MSers I’ve met through meetings, Twitter and the blog.
I wandered round my favourite charity shop yesterday and picked up a whole pile of books. Regular readers will know I adore reading and am in the middle of setting up an MS book club – Reading Between the Wines. So I took them home, stacked them neatly on my bedside table and sighed, blissfully. So many books to read. It only cost me a few quid, but put a huge smile on my face.
This got me thinking. Pre-MS, my focus was wide and long-term. I would plan my career, The Teenager’s education and hobbies, my studies, my ambitions, my fears, etc. Unwittingly though, I skipped over all the small things that make life so pleasurable and worthwhile. Now, even though I still plan long-term, MS has also narrowed my focus in unexpected ways.
It started with the daily grind of getting through each new relapse. Life suddenly zoomed down to whether or not I could get off the sofa. Anything else was incidental. Would I be able to walk down the street without tripping? Would I be able to cook dinner? Could I manage to put the bins out?
But then something strange happened. Every time I was able to do something small, I felt a huge sense of achievement. Which is rather sad, as often it was only something as simple as making beans on toast, or navigating a wonky trolley round the supermarket. But I still celebrated the small stuff.
Since Alemtuzumab treatment, my relapses have stopped (touch wood). I still have bad days, sure. But what this focus on the small things has left me with is an almost childlike appreciation of things I long took for granted – coffee and a catch up with a friend, reading the Sunday papers from cover to cover, walking in the snow, fixing the mould in the bathroom.
My life has changed for ever, and however cliched it sounds, I really do now focus on what I can do rather than lament over things I am no longer able to do. So thank you, MS, and I really do mean that.