Tag Archives: adapting

MS Is What You Make It

FuzzyA while back, I never thought I’d write this post.

MS was an ugly intruder, returning again and again, chipping away at everything I once held as true.

It took my health, of course. But it took more than that. It spirited away my social life (who wants a friend who trips over when sober? And cries down the phone?). It stole my son’s transition into teenagerhood – it was marred by worry and fear. It stole my career.

In essence, it took my future. And it tried to take the very core of me, my spirit.

Well, MS, be damned. You can get away with the trembling, the nerve pain, the stumbling. But I will still barricade the gates so you won’t destroy me entirely.

Before anyone takes offence at the title to this post, MS took my father. Way back, before treatment, drugs, MRI’s, 1978. I was 4.

I live in a different era and I believe that MS is what YOU make of it.

I’ve been to hell and back and have still not fully recovered. I live in fear of the treatment not working and I’ve already had a relapse, plus complications (I admit, the over-active thyroid has short-term delights, such as my miraculous weight loss, but it won’t last and the Wotsits are already calling…). My hands don’t work properly and the foot drop is verging on the comical, which my bruises bear witness to. I am covered in them.

MS is horrendous. It sneaks up and unleashes a bewildering array of symptoms on us. But if you can come to terms with the fact that Life Will Never Be The Same, you’re already halfway there (honestly).

Your families may ignore you and you will probably lose friends. You may also lose ¬†your job, as I did (don’t forget, I won the legal case). But. For all that, you will transition into a whole new way of living. You will adapt and you will overcome, to coin a tired phrase. Some of you are happy to say that you have MS, MS doesn’t have you. Well, it does. But! The way you receive and react to that news is the key to living a brighter future. .

We cannot deny it’s a nasty existence. It is right here, right now and it always will be. So we adjust to new ways of living, despite this foul illness.

We can do this, right?

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MS Replies…

MS repliesDear Stumbling,

Thank you for your kind and thought-provoking letter (see, I do read your blog, so ner ner ner ner ner, as you so eloquently put it). I think it’s time we had a little chat, don’t you? Mind the step and pull up a chair.

Look, between you and me, I know I wasn’t invited. I’m never exactly welcomed with open arms. I mean, really?

But let’s get a few things straight. Who told you life was going to be easy? You can’t turn the clock back and I’m here to stay, so you may as well get used to me hanging around, whether you like it or not (harsh but true).

Which leads me neatly to my next point. Sure, I’m pretty nasty. I mess up your body and put your brain in a blender. But I’ve been kind to you too. Don’t laugh – without me, would you really appreciate life so much more than you used to? Would you really make the most of every day? I don’t think so. You were quite happily trucking along, making plans, blah blah blah, without a care in the world. Life. Is. Not. That. Simple.

See? I helped you change your life, didn’t I? Yes, I know you lost everything, but we’ll run through that, shall we? Career? If your employer was going to treat you like that, they weren’t worth it anyway. Ditto partner. He scarpered at the first sign of trouble. I saved you the pain at a future date. And stop worrying about finding someone new. Find yourself first, then think about it. So in a strange kind of way, I simply hastened the process of clearing your life out, didn’t I?

And I really do think you should thank me for that. Sure, I prod you and push you over. And? I see you laughing at it now. You turned it round. You used to trip and curse every single time. Now you shrug it off. Life is all about adapting, every single day. Nothing stays the same. And if that’s the only thing I can teach you, then I’m happy.

You’re doing ok. You faced up to me (and to be frank, you’re a teeny bit scary when you do that). I think you are much more powerful than before, despite feeling weaker. Have a think about it.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with that. And please, no more pity parties. Yawn.

Yours forever,


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