Half-way through, still being recorded, I asked, ‘Gah, am I sounding too positive about MS?’
Rewind two years and the interviewer would have discovered me flat on the floor, holding up a wine glass, chomping on a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk. And no doubt crying. I was in a dark, shadowy and very different place.
How best to portray life with MS, almost three years after being diagnosed? I don’t want to be labelled a ‘survivor’, ‘a sufferer’ or to be hailed as ‘fighting back, despite all the odds (TM).’ I am just me, who has forged an entirely new and unexpected path through the maze that is MS. I’m still eating far too much chocolate, I’m still
fat Rubenesque and I’m now officially over the hill at 41.
Is there such a thing as being positively ok with MS? Hmm. It depends.
If I’m honest, 90% of the time I think I am now used to the vile intruder that is MS. I love my home life, I love my work and I love being in Uni. Life is looking rosy and positive. It’s the other 10% that can be problematic, as anyone living with MS knows.
It’s the relentless fears, the creeping spectre of progression that haunts our darkest moments and I’m not immune to this.
But. In the meantime, as I said to the reporter, I have achieved a lot more since MS than I could ever have dreamed of. Being sacked unceremoniously from work simply for the crime of having MS was merely the start. Being bullied into submission by the very same colleagues, who just before diagnosis treated me with respect, ignited a passion to ‘live well with MS’.
So I am now living a life I love, in spite of MS. MS is with me every step of the way, excuse the pun, and it still continues to trip me up when I least expect it. The dark days are still with me and I doubt they will ever leave, but I am learning to live with them.
The article comes out tomorrow in the national newspaper of Wales. My only fear is the photograph. I am quite possibly the most un-photogenic person ever. The word ‘chubby’ springs to mind, as does ‘Paleo’, meh.