A Considered Response …

terrifyingI’ve been so fortunate to receive glowing reviews of my book on Amazon and Good Reads, and I treasure every single one (often reading them when I’m having a low day).

However, I had one the other day which made me stop and think.

The essence was, ‘loved the start but at the end … so much of it rambles on and is not really in the realm of most MS’ers, eg. taking on an MA’.

Do I ramble? Yes, most definitely. I even have a category on my blog labelled, ‘My Ramblings’.

It was more the second part which stuck in my head. Let me explain:

Due to MS, I have had to give up my entire career path. It just won’t happen, especially after being sacked for having MS. I was derailed. Luckily I was offered a job by my best friend, which, although fulfilling and excellent at fitting around the myriad of appointments I suddenly have, has no real career path. I will no doubt end my working days with this company.

I needed something else; something mind-expanding and difficult. As I struggled tremendously to complete my degree just when MS struck, I thought, ‘OK MS, you almost won, but get this, I’m going to try something even more challenging.’

I hit on the idea of a Creative Writing MA. Could I write anything else apart from my blog? Believe me, it’s looking like I can’t. But at least I tried.

I’m not that different from MSers who run marathons, who raise money for MS charities or hold cake bakes. Or the MSers who progress through their career path, defying their detractors. My way of pushing back the frontiers and limitations of MS is to indulge myself in something I never thought I would be able to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been hell. I’ve cried, almost withdrew from my course several times, torn up endless manuscripts and sniffled in class when my short story was brutally dissected.

Perhaps an MA is ‘outside the realm of most MS’ers’. Just as jumping out a plane is for me. Or winning a gold medal in Rio.

My MA is precious to me – it shows me I still can. 

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25 thoughts on “A Considered Response …

  1. Teresa McTernan says:

    Why are there so many people in the world that are so envious of others’ success. I would find it hard to do and MA in creative writing but I admire you so much and if anything you make me give myself a bit of a talking to. I might not be able to do an MA but there are things that I could do but am too lazy, but quick to blame MS. I’ve also found that some people are much happier when you’re miserable. I’ve had so many friends that have been down with me when I’ve been down but when I’m positive and life’s going well they disappear. It’s like they suddenly have lost their ‘superior’ status. Keep reading the positive reviews…delete that last one x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Ah, you’re really kind, thank you!
      I know exactly what you mean about having friends around you when you’re miserable and then disappearing when you’re feeling good!
      I just think an MA is a small example of what we can do, whatever it may be. If I could crochet plant hangers, I would do that. If I could paint, I’d paint. It just so happens I enjoy writing and a logical step was an MA.
      Everyone has something to give.

  2. Helen says:

    I for one love reading your blog. This disease/condition is so damm difficult to live with it it different in everyone. We all have to do things differently and do what we can I for one think your book is wonderful as is your MA. No one makes you read anything you choose to. Shouldn’t we be supporting each other and celebrating each can do instead of focusing on what we can’t do.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you very much!! You absolutely hit the nail on the head – shouldn’t we be supporting each other??
      I for one love watching people in the Paralympics win medals. And I don’t sit there saying, ‘well, that’s not representative of most MS’ers.’
      Whether it’s the challenge of getting up each morning (like my dad) or excelling in the paralympics, we all contribute something.
      I just hope my detractor feels a little better now my dissertation is faltering 😉

      • Helen says:

        You will get there with your dissertation. As for the Paralympics they are bloody fantastic I couldn’t even win a heat at food shopping and I’m great at that!

        • stumbling in flats says:

          Lol, me too!
          And thank you. I definitely will get there in the end. After many tears and frustrations. But I’ll get there!

  3. Sian Roberts says:

    We need a “Like” button here. Hope everything works out on the MA!

  4. I think anyone doing an MA or MSc deserves respect. Regardless of what you are doing the important part is that you are looking forwads and upwards. Since retirement I’m now doing things that I never dreamt were possible or even existed.

    The reviewer in question must have been a tad jealous and he had also forgotten to switch his brain on

    • stumbling in flats says:

      So glad to hear you’re doing exciting things since your retirement!
      Sure the MA is hard, that’s what makes it a challenge. Otherwise, why bother?

  5. Michael Johnson says:

    I read your book because because your blog is insightful and witty, not because of MS. You write about what most of us feel, and I have actually learned a few things. It makes me laugh at times. Love the book and can’t wait for the sequel…what does The Teenager get up to next and stuff 🙂

  6. David says:

    As with MS people are different as are able-bodied thank goodness. Keep doing what you want and be happy.
    The goals can be endless.
    November last year I found a new way of life, for my 67th birthday I went sit skiing, February I went to Aviemore and had a great 3 day’s skiing down the mountain, I have now gone onto a mono ski, had a few tumbles some had rest soft but I get back up and ski.
    Now I train in basketball, go to the gym. I may not have MS but as long as my condition allows me I will continue with my new found life, hopefully be going to Austria skiing January. So carry on doing what you want to do, and keep blogging, sorry if I’ve gone on a tad. Hi ? to the teenager ? ??

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s fabulous to hear!
      And you’re right – we all have limitations and differences, MS or not. I’ve yet to meet an entirely healthy person!
      Aviemore is beautiful; I remember a wonderful holiday there when I was a child. Have a great time in Austria 🙂

  7. Toni says:

    Haha, what is the realm of most MSers then?. Sitting at home crying that our life is over?!. Don’t think so!. So, it’s a hat’s off to you my friend for taking on an MA!. That’s huge for anyone, especially for an individual with MS!. x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Probably, and I did that for almost two years anyway!
      And thank you – the MA makes me smile every single day, even if it is one of the hardest things I’ve done 🙂

  8. Archie says:

    “Any fool can be a critic.” A few years ago I read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. He lectured on self improvement and development of interpersonal skills. It’s 80yrs old now and still relevant. You will NEVER win everyone over and trolls will always think that their ‘valuable’ criticism for criticism sake is worthwhile.

    You achieve more in your life shackled to MS than I achieve in my fortunate state of health, Babs.

    Even though my family think I’m the comedian and can joke about adversity ad nauseam, my first wife wasn’t so keen.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      So, so true!
      Thank you for your lovely comment, and don’t forget, you guys make having Campath so much easier 🙂 You are a fabulous nurse and you always look after us so well. Loving the humour!

  9. Kirsty says:

    Keep going with the MA. I often beat myself up that I’m not achieving more now I’ve got MS. Guess I should look at it that I’m still achieving being a wife and mum and going to work part time. (I wasn’t going to run a marathon before I got MS, why push myself more now just cause I’ve got MS)!!!!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      You are achieving A LOT. I don’t have a husband so have lots of spare time to float around and write a few sentences here and there, lol.
      And yes, I never did run a marathon before MS. Since MS, I’m quite happy to help out at the MS Society stand at the half marathons and cheer on the runners!

  10. Carol says:

    All us MSers shouldn’t make comments like that, as we all know MS is different for everybody. My biggest symptom is fatigue so no I’ll not be running any marathons but yet there are people with MS who do but they’ll have different symptoms to me & there are no doubt things I can do that they can’t due to MS. I stayed in a job I wasn’t happy in for nearly 10 years just because I thought I wouldn’t find another job that would be as flexible but last year at the age of 37 I’d had enough and the thought of sitting at that desk for another 30 years or so scared the crap right out of me! I’m going back to college this week in the hope of becoming a veterinary nurse, I’m struggling with the energy levels even more in my new job but if MS doesn’t let me continue at least I tried to change things!! Ignore the negative comments and just remember the support you do have from the majority of your readers xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Wow!! Thank you for your comment and lots of luck for your new career path. I think what you are doing is absolutely brilliant!
      I know what you mean about having a flexible job. I’m really lucky, working with my best friend. I do look at other jobs but the rigidity of them puts me off. I can’t imagine being clocked for how many times I go to the loo (this happened in my last job). Plus every week is different with MS and at least I can plan in rest days.
      I’m so chuffed for you!

  11. Tricia says:

    You can and you should, we love reading everything you do. Some people cannot express there feelings, thoughts, and happenings. So us MS ers love to read what you have to say. You no how we feel and we LOVE you for it. Xxxx

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