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A nightstand similar to the movie groundhog day, that has a stack of books with repetitive infinity titles on the spines.

Starting Part II of My Life With MS

Most of us, in one way or another, are familiar with the concept of people describing a significant change in life as “starting a new chapter.” After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), you might consider starting your first treatment as the beginning of a new chapter. Or maybe it’s when you got serious about diet and exercise? Or when you finally saved up enough cash to visit another country for a stem cell treatment? “Things are going to change; this is the start of a new chapter in my life.” This event, this moment in time, serves as an important marker in the timeline of the “book” about your life with MS. Everything after that one moment would be different, and the plot of your story would completely change.

New chapter, same plot

At least that’s what I thought every time I declared to myself that a new chapter in my life with MS had begun. “Things are going to be different.” The thing is, while my life with MS did evolve after each chapter, the theme of my story always remained the same. Something bad would happen (like being diagnosed with MS or suffering a major relapse), I would enact some sort of change (like starting a new treatment, diet, or exercise routine), things would be better for a stretch of time, and then… for whatever reason… I would somehow find myself back at (or close to) square one. I never seem to really move forward in life; at the end of each new chapter in the book about my journey with MS, everything basically resets like in the movie “Groundhog Day.” I start each new chapter at the same low point that first pushed me to want to change things in the last chapter. The only difference is that I now had the knowledge of what went wrong the previous times. New chapter, same plot.

I’m tired of this cycle

As of this summer, I’ve had MS for nine years. On the one hand, nine years seems like forever, but on the other hand, nine years seems like nothing – just a tiny fragment of the rest of my life. I’ve been through so much yet… here I am, essentially back at square one. I wake up feeling terrible, and I go to bed feeling terrible. I used to be capable of so much, and I had so many dreams of what my life would be, so many goals, but after nine years with MS, they all seem so distant; they’re just out of reach of my now not-as-capable-hands. I’m tired of this cycle. Of feeling like I’m not actually moving forward. I’m not content with my current life situation. For a while now, I’ve been telling myself that something really has to change but not like before. Because something always had to change, and it always did, for a while… and then, before long, everything would start over. A new chapter would start, but the plot would sadly remain the same. That repetition is what has to change, that plot.

The ten year mark

Well, we only get one life on this earth which means that I only get one “book,” regardless of how much I would love to just throw the one I got away and start a completely new one. But you can’t erase the past. Everything that has happened in my life, all the good, bad, and MS-y, are here to stay as different chapters in my story. However, that doesn’t mean that the repetitive theme of starting a new chapter only to end up back where I started time and time again can’t change. So instead, I’m looking at the 10-year mark in my life with MS as merely the end of part I and the beginning of part II of my MS story where a new series of chapters will start. A new plot, and a new theme: different, but shaped by, part I.

Finding a way to actually move forward

I’ve been thinking about this moment and carefully planning it out for a long time, and so, I’m about to radically change my life, change it in a way that will actually allow me to move forward rather than just continuously ending up back at square one. Of course, there will undoubtedly be many new trials and errors; it’s surely not going to be as easy as I may be making it out to seem, but it is that simple. I have to change my way of thinking and try to solve my “problems” in a different way than I’ve tried to solve them for the first decade of my story with this chronic illness.

Excited to start part II of my life with MS

People always talk about how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. With that in mind, I can’t approach my yet-to-be solved problems with the same way of thinking and expect my situation to magically improve. So, I’m excited to start the first chapter in part II of the book that is my life with MS, and I’m eager for the day that I’ll be able to look back on this change as the very moment in time where things finally, for once, took a turn for the better. When MS ceased to play such a central role in my story.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Tess
    2 months ago

    @mattalleng please let us know how the new chapter is progressing. Thank you for your story.

  • Matt Allen G author
    2 months ago

    Oh I will, and thanks to the internet, it will basically be in real time

  • everchangingms
    2 months ago

    Matt, yes write about the new chapter. Many more sub chapters within. This will eventually tie everything together. I write, post, and find others around the world reading. Amazed me, as I’m jumping around quite a bit in my blog, compared to your precise writing skills. Perhaps much more going on, or all the same MS stuff, Which reminds me to write again a sub-chapter, going back to the beginning again. Your post inspire me to keep asking, be your own advocate, know more than Drs, so you can question them, and have a team.
    JoeY

  • Matt Allen G author
    2 months ago

    Glad this post could serve as a source of vital motivation!

  • Toddlius
    2 months ago

    I wish you the best luck!

  • Matt Allen G author
    2 months ago

    Thank you!

  • ladyfarial
    2 months ago

    My first bout with Ms happened in 2003 when I lost the sight in my left eye the pain was worse than any migraine I have ever had and I couldn’t see I went to the neurologist once it cleared up but they look for the MS in my spine and not in my eyes. It took about two and a half weeks for this episode to clear up after which the site my site returned but the sight in that eye was different than it was before I had blessed sight. The neurologist but I was seeing at the time told me that she could not diagnose it SMS because they couldn’t find it in my spine. In 2006 I had another episode but this time it was in my right eye and I went to the emergency room right away where they had a neurologist on call who came and finally said it was a mess and it was in my eyes and it was in the form of what they call optic neuritis. Since then my life has continually changed and I feel that it is changed for the worse. They need me I used to be seem to be so far in the past but it almost seems like a dream. The way that I live life now often leaves me depressed and I have so many other chronic illnesses besides the MS that there are times when I just feel like suicide is the only option that I have left. The only thing right now that keeps me going is my puppy and my ten-year-old granddaughter. I am now trying to find illegitimate business that well help me to register my puppy as an emotional support dog because he keeps me moving and gets me out of bed because otherwise that’s where I would want to stay is in my bed.

  • Matt Allen G author
    2 months ago

    I know how you feel, truly, I do. But I would say there are a million and one reasons why suicide is NOT the answer. Reason 1,000,001? Who would take care of your puppy? They say that one person might not be able to change the world, but they can change SOMEONE’S world. To that puppy, you are everything. You are the world and surely you could say the same about at least one other person. We never know who’s world we give meaning to. Please remember that, always.

  • Toddlius
    2 months ago

    Surely there’s got to be a way to get your way to get your puppy registered.

  • Toddlius
    2 months ago

    “a way to get your puppy registered.” Wow, talk about a grammar flinch. lol

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