Diagnosis MS: My Past, Present and Future
Since March was MS Awareness Month, I thought I might reflect and ponder on my nearly 15-year journey with MS - where I began, where I am, and where I am headed. With MS being so different for those stricken with this chronic and (more often than not debilitating) disease, perhaps the trajectory of my experience will be a resonating read of comparison, insight, understanding or just simple interest.
At any rate, this is my personal ode to the month reserved to recognize and raise awareness about a complicated and complex disease. Where a plethora of knowledge is ever-evolving in the hopes of one day finding a cure to ease or eliminate the plight of 'Diagnosis: MS'.
My MS changes over time
14 years, 7 months, and several days ago, this was my story:
From the time of, what was believed to have been, the onset of MS (in hindsight), I was officially diagnosed with relapse remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) six years later. At that time, my gait and balance were impacted and I had to immediately begin using a cane. Other symptoms that I primarily experienced included heat intolerance, incontinence, fatigue, leg pain and weakness, and intermittent periods of forgetfulness.
I didn't know much about MS at the time of diagnosis, but my doctor helped me and I educated myself with my own research. I learned - and experienced - just how challenging this journey would be. I self-authored a quote at some point for myself, to remind myself that I'd get through this. It is “You are not knocked down and defeated until you tell yourself that you are knocked down and defeated."
And now, 14 years, 7 months, and several days in, my story is:
I awaken daily and face a sedentary day of dependence. I am dependent on someone for my personal care, preparation and rendering of meals, housekeeping, and such. My baseline is that I can stand, with assistance, and uncurl my clawed hands to hold on to my walker.
What I can do, and enjoy doing, is freelance writing, engaging with fellow 'MSers' in online communities, attending church services via virtual platforms, reading, listening to music, and other activities that I am able to do as I sit. MS has taken (is taking) its toll on me, but I haven't thrown in the towel. I stay busy in my blue chair fighting SPMS.
Beyond 14 years, 7 months, and several days, my story will be:
Of course to this, I do not, nor cannot know, exactly what's to come. I do know the possibilities, but with MS being so incredibly unpredictable, I don't see a healing turnaround. I may remain at my current state, or, worst-case scenario, I might venture from SPMS into the land of primary progressive MS (PPMS). What I do know is that as long as God gifts me my life, I will strive to overcome and not succumb. The choice is mine...and yours.
For trips, which means of travel do you prefer and why?