A Blessing, Heavily Disguised

blessingsYesterday, I was having a chat with someone I’d never met before.

For various reasons, MS popped in to the conversation, as it does. We discussed how it had affected my life, what had changed.

Towards the end I said, ‘you know what, in some ways, I am blessed.’ Weird word to use. I’ve thought about this before, but yesterday it really crystalised for me. She seemed perplexed.

I tried to explain that a lot of people are well into their 50’s/60’s or even 70’s before a major health crisis appears. To have had this happen in my 30’s and to get the chance to totally reevaluate my life from every perspective is a gift. MS brought me up short and made me realise just how fleeting and wondrous life can be. I would be most miffed for this to happen at, say 65, and think to myself, ‘all those regrets, all those wasted opportunities.’

Mind you, I haven’t always felt this way, as regular readers will be well aware. The sheer unfairness of it all. The grieving process, the fears, the endless panic. It didn’t help that in my case the MS onslaught was so dramatically sudden – I went to bed one evening and woke up the next morning unable to speak or walk properly. Life had shifted irretrievably on it’s axis.

MS cleared the decks. The uncommitted boyfriend swiftly left the building (see ya! No, I didn’t want to marry you either), old family politics diminished in their insignificance and most of my fair-weather friends disappeared in a cloud of, ‘honestly, if you need anything‘, whilst stepping/running backwards from the room.

I started to ask what my life was all about. What did it mean? What could I do that would be fulfilling? For me and The Teenager. Which is why I spent my tribunal payout on a trip to New York, the least I could do after all the Teenager had coped with. MS is the reason I’ve enrolled on an MA. And, dear reader, it’s the reason I am in touch with a, ahem, personal trainer, to try to instill some body confidence after it’s been battered with steroids, meds and far too much comfort food.

I still have fears. I’m still reminded every single day that MS is ever-present. But I think now I am living the life I was meant to live. I’m just hoping the trainer goes easy on me and at least allows me to congratulate myself with a donut for picking up the kettle bell, which has been my trusty doorstop for the last two years. We’ll see.

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12 thoughts on “A Blessing, Heavily Disguised

  1. this is a great post, really sums up what I try to tell people. having MS has pushed me to do more, I too would probably not be going to uni in the fall if it wasn’t for the MS making me seize the day while I can. yes there are moments where the MS does stop me from doing things, but I do try to overcome the obstacles in my way.

    I have MS but its not the end of the world that some people do think it is, even some people with MS think this :/ it did make me realize life is short, do what you can while you can.

    this comment probably doesn’t make sense :p took me forever because my fingers are not playing nice today, but I could type with a head pointer if they really go dead.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      thanks Jennifer!
      MS really does put life in perspective, and you’ve hit the nail on the head – it’s not the end of the world. It’s extremely tough, but not the end, more of a new beginning.
      I’m aware my MS isn’t PPMS, but I was diagnosed with highly active RRMS and was in a bad way. Thanks to my treatment, life continues, although with some pretty major adjustments!
      What are you studying at Uni??

      • first year of a possible art degree lol after first year you can try to get into different fields, like fine art, illustration, digital etc not sure yet what i would do in second year if i got in, probably fine art.

        my MS has decided to rear its ugly head a little more than it was, so they are changing my meds to see if that helps. had 2 relapses in 6 months so the nuero isnt happy that I needed steroids both times, in such a short time. saw the big head honcho in neurology, who i never see unless something is really wrong, had hubby panicking a bit :p but just a change of meds. I just go with the flow with things, I think the neuro was expecting me to panic, but i was like meh :p I can’t explain it, what will happen will happen, no point freaking out about it…well that got off topic lol

        • stumbling in flats says:

          Well said!! I know what you mean. I have a neuro appointment next Friday. I haven’t had an mri recently, so not tooooo worried, but even if I had, and it showed changes, I’d be like you, meh. Que sera sera.
          Anyway, am totes jealous of your art degree! Sounds amazing. I was gutted that the Glasgow School of Art’s beautiful library was lost in the recent fire, but thank goodness most of the building was saved. I would love to ‘do’art, but fear I am stuck in the crayon stage, and have been for the last 35 odd years…

          • I was gutted when I read there was a fire there, and the photos of the library are really sad 🙁 completely lost

            I can’t imagine how some of the students feel with so many years of work ruined 🙁 would be heartbreaking

            you can do alot with crayons 😀

          • stumbling in flats says:

            I was devastated. My uncle used to teach at the school and I remember it well as a kid, visiting the student’s exhibitions.
            Yup, you can do a lot with crayons, lol! And coloured Sharpies, my favourites!

  2. It’s great to read others’ positive experiences after DX. Yes it’s hard, but MS doesn’t mean the end, it’s the beginning to a new and different path.

    Although, I am still a lazy lump a lot of the time… it hasn’t changed that 🙂

    • stumbling in flats says:

      We could be kindred spirits!! Yup, am feeling a lot more positive, but still inherently lazy and loving it. Maybe the personal trainer will change that, grrr.

  3. Karen Schlotter says:

    Dear Stumbling,

    So happy that you’ve found your silver lining! You are a writer, completed degree or not!!

    xo Karen

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That is sooooo lovely!
      I may just print off your comment and hang above my desk and/or show to my tutor when he gives me an F for an assignment 🙂

  4. Angela says:

    This is so refreshing to read and great that you have reached acceptance and a point where you can embrace life as the new you. You deserve to be happy. This gives me hope to know that there is life at the end of this tunnel. Two years down the line I’m still in the grieving process. Bouncing between denial anger and sadness. Hopefully when a definitive ex does come I can move forward to acceptance rather then this constant battle with myself that sometimes spills over into anger with others and myself x

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thanks Angela!
      There is definitely light at the end of that very long tunnel, believe me. It’s taken an age to get to this point.
      I know what you mean about a constant battle. I was the same and maybe I also pushed friends away, in some ways to protect them from my moods and sheer loneliness. This whole experience has probably been one of the toughest things I’ve ever gone through…

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