The process of being diagnosed with MS and then experiencing debilitating relapse after relapse is difficult to relate. At the risk of being over-dramatic; I died. The get-it-done, can do it all, never stops, dare me to fail, physically strong woman was no more. She was no longer allowed, or able to exist. In her place was someone horribly broken, helpless, and unknown to me.
Thankfully, what was left, was not unknown to my children, my spouse, my family, and my friends. They helped me see that I still had value to them- they needed me, and from there, I could find value in myself. My gifts were not all tied up in my physical ability to be everywhere and do everything as I had thought.
I could stay angry about my predicament. I choose not to. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have days where my anger and frustration ruled. It just isn’t acceptable to allow that on a regular basis.
Several years ago, a very close friend shared an old adage: “Feed the beast you want to grow.” I do not want to be angry. I want to be positive. I want love and goodness and hope to grow in my life and the lives of those around me. I want my kids to see that I am not defeated, that I can adapt- and still find joy. I want to focus on what I can do, and not on what I can’t.
Although I am still grieving the woman I was and thought I would be, I now have the ability to develop the woman I can be. I will bloom where I am planted. I can rise from these ashes, strong in heart, beautiful in spirit, valued and needed. I have grown, despite becoming physically weaker. I am learning, despite the disconnects in my brain and spine.
Yes, fighting MS is hard. I’m kicked back down when I’ve only just made it to my knees. Over and over. But when I look at it in the right light; I’m getting up over and over. MS is not beating me. It’s challenging me.