My Son Asked a Question - and MS Plays a Role In My Answer
My son recently asked me a simple question for which I found I didn't necessarily have a simple answer. He asked: "Mom, do you like change - yes or no?"
Do I like change and all that comes with it?
I opened my mouth to provide a ready reply, but nothing came out. I wanted to just easily say yes or no, but my mind was busy telling me, "Be quiet and think - it's actually not that simple!" Sounds easy enough, but it's tricky. If I answer yes, then does that mean I want all of the changes life throws at us? Does that mean I am supposed to like all of the changes that come my way?
Contemplating the changes since my MS diagnosis
If I answer no, does that mean I'm an old 'stick in the mud'? A wimp that's afraid of change as opposed to the courageous woman I see myself as when I look in the mirror? The question just seemed loaded when I reflected on it for a moment - especially when he made it clear that it was strictly yes or no with no discussion allowed. And especially as I sat there, relatively new in my MS journey, contemplating all of the changes that had already hit our lives in a small amount of time since my MS diagnosis and thinking of all the changes that were inevitably sure to come. "Mom, do you like change - yes or no?" Really, son?!
Good and bad changes are a part of life
The truth is, good and bad changes are a part of life, and the universe doesn't stop to allow you to catch up. Nope, you have to keep rolling or get rolled over. From moving on from the family nest, to career selections, to cost of living increases, to having children, to failed relationships, to good/bad presidents, to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis...life didn't stop to ensure I was holding on or even prepared for that particular change.
My only option was to keep moving
Therefore, my only option was to keep moving while learning to be as resilient as possible. It didn't hurt to remember - and adhere to - the words of the Serenity Prayer as well: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that can't be changed, the courage to change the things that can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. That prayer has been a go-to reference all my life, but especially when I learned I would be living with a chronic, degenerative, life-altering disease that was not going away.
Where would I be without change?
So, here we are...back to the question. "Mom, do you like change - yes or no?" Well, the changes that came along as I became independent and started a family were changes that I loved. Changes from adverse situations such as failed relationships, illness, and disability, I didn't necessarily like, but I endured and continue to endure. Without change, for example, I may have been MS-free, but I may not have known the joy of having children. One thing is for sure, as I have lived nearly 50 years and experienced a myriad of both pleasant and unpleasant changes, I've weathered them all. I’ve welcomed the good and gained strength from the difficult times.
Enduring 12 years of dramatic changes
Change. In a little over 12 years, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, gone from a cane to primarily a wheelchair, transitioned to a different stage, and much more, but it hasn't broken me. To come to my conclusion, I reflect on all of the above PLUS the acknowledgment that without any change, I wouldn't have or have had some of the best parts of my life. I also understand that life is evolving, which means nothing is ever going to stay the same anyway.
I accept change
And so, to my son's question "Mom, do you like change - yes or no?", my answer is yes. I like change. However, personal history and present life show that whether we like it or not, change is going to happen anyway. I think, most importantly, I accept change - and that's even healthier.
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