Still no let up from the crushing MS symptoms. Still don’t want to say ‘relapse’ out loud. Worst thing is though, all the guilt has come flooding back.
The Teenager has been incredible since this whole MS thing started, and has started telling his friends, ‘my mum’s got what Jack Osbourne’s got’. The height of cool.
But he crumbles sometimes, unexpectedly, and it’s the saddest thing to witness. One day I told him off for not brushing his teeth. Five minutes later I hear loud crying from upstairs. I find him frantically scrubbing his teeth, taking huge, gut-wrenching sobs. ‘I hate MS, I hate what it’s doing. I hate you having it’. My heart broke into tiny pieces.
I try my hardest to hide symptoms from him. I sleep before he gets home, stuffing the duvet down the back of the couch. I have also trained myself to cat-nap and be instantly awake the minute he comes back from school. I write down key points about his school day so I don’t forget them, such as maths test, horrible PE teacher, German homework. I use Touche Eclat under my eyes so I look more awake and his rugby kit is always, always clean and ready. It’s a matter of pride.
But the guilt is relentless. I should be doing more with him. I should take him to town after school one day for a surprise and buy him a new pair of Vans. I should plan interesting day trips. We used to love baking together (thank you, The Great British Bake Off!), but we haven’t done that in a while. I haven’t the energy to clean the kitchen afterwards. The Swedish chef from The Muppets has nothing on my son.
So, I cut corners. I pass off M&S food as my own, leaving the chopping board out as ‘proof’ of my hard work. I spring money for pizzas (cool mum!) to save cooking, I buy more treats than usual and make sure his Lynx supply is fully stocked. I allow lots of sleepovers, so I know he’s having fun, but it gives me much-needed space too. I make sure I am there for him, as much as I can be.
I hate what MS is doing to our little family. If I can just hold everything together, we will be fine. And maybe I won’t need to have Dominos on speed dial…