Monday, July 28, 2008

Chapters One and Two.....what MS has taught me.

I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't continually seek to find the positive in every experience. It's just the way I'm "wired'. I truly believe that every experience we are Blessed to have, be it positive or seemingly negative, ultimately brings about good. Whether the "good" means learning to allow others to help you, learning patience with yourself or others, or simply having your priorities refocused as a result of hardship. It doesn't mean the experience was any less painful getting though, but it's the learning and acceptance of the lesson, that for me, somehow makes the journey bittersweet instead of just bitter.

That's the way I look at my journey with MS. Prior to MS I was a very independent person (Well, I STILL am, just a kinder, gentler version....right honey??), who had a very difficult time accepting help from anyone. Even family. After all, I was tough. I could weather any storm (and boy I had weathered some big ones) on my own, figure out my own problems and besides, wasn't accepting help a sign of weakness??? My focus was on having a secure career and being financially independent. Then....WHAM.....MS.

Suddenly, life changed. Nothing was as it appeared to be. As it was SUPPOSED to be. My life suddenly became two distinct and different chapters:

Chapter One: Life Before MS.

Chapter Two: Life After MS.

Wait....Life AFTER MS? Doesn't that imply that MS goes AWAY? HAH! Let's try that again:

Chapter One: Life Before DIAGNOSIS of MS.

Chapter TWO: Life After Diagnosis of MS. (Sub titled: Trying to live your life and not allow the absolute fear of becoming a burden on those you love consume your life).

(OK MS may have "tamed" the independent streak but I never said it tamed the sarcastic sense of humor....I hope it never does)!

In the midst of exacerbation's, shots, TWF, I.V. Steroid infusions, falls, canes, walkers, MD appointments, etc., etc., etc. MS has taught me many things:

It taught me patience of self and others.

It taught me that as I have loved unconditionally, others have loved me. I just never allowed them to show it.

MS taught me that by allowing others to help, it actually helps THEM deal with my disease.

Most importantly, MS taught me that leaning on others doesn't make me weak or a burden. It makes me HUMAN.

Finally, and perhaps the greatest lesson MS has taught me: The greatest gift we can give to those who love us, who watch us literally stumble and fall, is to LET them HELP. Being there for you when you stumble, reminding you to take your shot, or gently telling you to sit in the recliner and rest a bit is their way of saying, "I love you, I'm here".

For me, MS hasn't just taken things FROM's GIVEN me things too. Better perspective, patience and a much deeper appreciation for family and friends.

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