In the three years and two days since I was diagnosed with MS, I’ve been waiting for A Sign.
Something huge, massive, with the words ‘Congratulations! You’ve made it through! Life Can Now Return to Normal!’
I thought, ok, if I go through the
five seven twelve stages of grief and adapting to MS, I would pop out the other end ready to pick up the threads of my old life. I would brush myself down and carry on regardless.
Only three problems with that: my old life no longer exists, MS is a bit bigger than I gave it credit for and there won’t be a sign. I’ve come to realise that there simply isn’t an end point, it’s a continuous process, so I might as well just get on with it (note to self). Quite possibly I’m stating the obvious and am a bit late to the game.
Looking back, I think I was a little guileless about the whole thing. I used to think A Sign could be:
- When I would no longer spend an evening bemoaning my fate and crying into my wine, Morrissey playing on a loop in the background.
- When I didn’t reach for the MS Nurse Relapse Hotline every time a tiny new symptom appeared.
- Ditto, I wouldn’t endlessly google every tiny new symptom which would bring up a list with not just MS but every other horrifying illness on the planet and subsequently I would go to bed crying (see first point).
- When I wouldn’t quake with fear when meeting with my neurologist as I would be semi-fluent in long MS medical words.
Nope. Well, of course they all count towards some kind of acceptance of my weird and wonderful new life with MS, but it’s not the whole picture. MS has a funny way of tripping me up, literally.
Take the other day. I woke up, put the kitten out, put the kettle on and fell against the cooker. Gah. Later that day, I stumbled and whacked my arm badly. I had stranger than normal tingling in my left leg. My hand hovered over the MS Nurse Relapse Hotline leaflet. But, no, I put some Morrissey on, poured a glass of wine and settled down in front of Google instead.
I have therefore decided to count my blessings and enjoy my new life. The Teenager is thriving, my studies are going well, I love my job and, despite the occasional set-back, life is looking not-too-bad. Although I do wonder if my neurologist will have some pesky new MS words to slip into conversation the next time I see him, the meanie.