The following is an actual account of just one of my battles with MS. I was diagnosed only four short years ago and have gone from walking to walker/wheelchair...
Imagine walking the dog along with a loved one on a sunny afternoon enjoying the beautiful and soothing attributes of nature, practicing your ever so typical and God given rituals and realizing the very next moment a random and unmistakable sensation taking over your body like the fog rolling in on a lake during a damp and cool summer morning. The anxiety builds, you begin to sweat and strain as things that were once so simple suddenly have become increasingly and insanely difficult. You turn around and horrified you head home, immediately resting or popping a few analgesics, your trunk continues to send signals to your brain that it’s being crushed by something that you cannot see. You stretch and strain and reach and pull. You ingest a cool drink of water or apply an ice pack or a cold compress, but the assault continues.
You telephone a friend or a family member. Your mind races as you wonder if this feeling is going to subside or worsen. Will it be temporary or permanent? Is it a kidney? Is it your bladder? Is it something you ate? You find yourself in bed, self loathing, thinking of nothing other than your symptoms. The world around you continues. The birds chirp, the dog barks, your kids run in and out of the house. You pop a few more medicines, putting your racing mind at ease and sedating yourself to the point of unconsciousness like sleep to remedy the emotion and physical pain only to awake an hour later to realize you are experiencing the same feelings you had prior to your efforts. Your spouse observes your behavior in horror and urges to rush you to the hospital, but you have been healthy your entire life and what you are feeling has to pass, it just can’t stick around, nothing like this have you ever felt.
You agree to telephone the Dr the next morning if the feelings persist because you’re a warrior. You’re tough. Nothing has held you back against your control ever. Nothing health wise could possibly transform your agenda, but quickly and fearfully and without apprehension you must adapt or you lose your ability to participate in your world. You call friends and neighbors to assist your children in their prior commitments and you make appointments with Dr's that you can’t get into for months to come. You realize, if you are so fortunate you have your family to support you, and you continue to fight but something tells you that your world as you know it has changed before your eyes. You try to compose yourself but you are panicky and realize you can no longer walk on your own. You begin an emotional rollercoaster and experience a panic attack that creates angina. You try to stand as you were an hour ago but the pain is too intense and your spouse is forced to find assistance to move you around in your environment that unfortunately is ill adapted for this new condition. This is your new world and unless you take it head on you will never make it.
Multiple Sclerosis is a thief. It is a robber, a housebreaker, a hijacker, a burglar, a scrounger and a swindler just to name a few of its attributes. It takes otherwise happy and healthy homes and without prejudice or contention it demeans and deteriorates and debilitates as a tornado would do when tearing through a suburban neighborhood. It creates frustration, and feelings of abandonment. It delivers constant persecution and imprisonment. It takes healthy people and immobilizes and restrains and disables them. There are many that might say MS has enlightened them as to their prior insufficiencies, creating an almost re prioritizing of family values or personal importance’s. I am not one who subscribes to this mode of thinking. For me MS sucks. I am and have always been a good person, without improperly treating anyone or anything, a pleaser of sorts, and a peacekeeper. There are those that say everything happens for a reason. If someone can rationalize the reason for the annihilation of my physical functionality then I am all ears.
There is the frustration of experiencing discomfort while at rest. The frustration of pain and burning and numbness while trying to enjoy a night out with a loved one. Then there is the frustration of tingling or jumping eyes or color variation or the inability to stay awake due to overwhelming fatigue. The frustration of pseudo exacerbations while sitting out in the sun trying to root on a child involved in a sporting event. Pain a constant reminder of the assault on the body. Do these frustrations occur for a reason? Is this some kind of test of futility or viability or perseverance? I think not. The frustration is nothing more than another element of discontentment and affirms the randomness attributed to dealing with this atrocity or any illness. Whereas I have never been one engulfed in materials or lavishes or wants or needs, the simplicity of my innate demeanor has been redirected and deemed no longer recognizable. I commend those that have been stricken or plagued by illnesses that continue to live as normal or accept their unfortunate state in stride. I am elated for those that are lucky to be diagnosed with a mild form of this disease and live close to normal for years to come. I for one denounce this illness and refuse to accept its metamorphosis of my body. I will continue to fight night and day without compliance for as long as humanly possible. Many have told me the importance of acceptance, but to me this is merely approval or cooperation and I refuse to corroborate or assent to something so malicious, unpleasant, unscrupulous and despicable. Rather than regress and lament and continue to slowly perish to this creeping paralysis, I plan to brawl and combat and clash instead.
My earthly reward through my journey with Multiple Sclerosis would be nothing more than the encouragement and assistance of a reader of this story in battling whatever life has thrusted his or her way. The same ideals relate to the observations of my children. The simple fact is that relinquishing control to ones monster is not an option, and instead conviction, toughness, vigor and valor are a necessity. If it is the will of some higher power that I must surrender then it will not be without dissension and controversy. I will take the good with the bad, the ugly and evil with the exciting and hopefulness and in my mind shall picture the victory that one day I will acclaim. This achievement may be in this world or the next, and in the form of personal accolade and conquest or the resounding fulfillment of others. Either way it will be.