An Open Letter to Myself About My MS

Dear Body,

Why do you continue to disobey me? I don’t understand. Have I mistreated you so badly over the years that it’s time for revenge? Have I done something so dastardly, so hateful that you won’t forgive me? Or do I simply have bad luck?

I know I made some bad choices in the past. Like the time I ate a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream for dinner, or when I’d stay up all night to study for college exams. I didn’t mean to neglect you so I don’t think you should be angry.

Maybe you’re still angry about the time I drove into town with my friends during a Vermont blizzard and our car was hit head-on by an elderly driver. A concussion and sixteen stitches in my forehead marked the beginning of numb feet and hands. Uh oh. Maybe that’s it.

Grateful for the good years

I know I should consider myself lucky for the years you ignored my MS diagnosis by allowing me to walk, drive and care for myself unassisted. I was truly grateful for that.

I’d like to remind you that for the first eight years with MS I prayed for an FDA approved medication to help us. When the first two medications came on the market, Betaseron and Avonex, they caused terrible side effects. I’m sorry. The third injectable in 1998, Copaxone, was the charm.

I'm sorry for the side effects

Perhaps you’re not thrilled that I’ve been injecting you for 21 years, stabbing a syringe filled with medication in my thighs, arms, belly, and hips. Some of the side effects were tolerable but others like flushing, heart palpitations and the worst of all, necrosis that sent me to the ER, were the opposite of fun. I apologize for that.

I still don’t think that’s enough to get your dander up. The medication was only trying to help.

Is the fact that I’m edging toward sixty mean it’s time to shake things up? Believe me, I’m grateful beyond all measure that you stepped back to allow for the blessings of a happy marriage and a healthy baby. You allowed me to be the kind of mother I always wanted to be. You should know that my husband and I raised a wonderful son. I’m so proud of the adult he is today.

But I’m still trying to figure you out. It’s like you gave me a long grace period and now the clock says it’s time to pay the piper. What gives?

I'm doing my best

I’m doing my best to learn how to lower the stress in my life but it’s not easy. Life has been harder than usual lately and I’m doing the best I can. Loved ones pass away, finances take a downward turn, illness knocks you down, and dreams get tossed aside.

When you give me a hard time I can’t be the person I want to be.

Relationships are tested. I mean if I’m sick of talking - and thinking - about how you’re torturing me why wouldn’t others feel the same?

Replace despair with hope and dignity

Can you please give me a break? I want to walk without fear of falling. I want to use my hands to write and feel the tender softness of my cat’s fur. I want to erase anxiety and worry about the future and regain my full independence. I want to push despair to the side and replace it with dignity and hope.

So what do you say? Is it a deal? I promise to be a good girl. I’m eating healthier than I have in years. I’m beginning to set time aside to meditate every day, although I admit it’s hard to push any thoughts to the side as I focus on OM. OM. OM. But hey, I’m working on it.

Give me back to ME. Please. I'm praying you'll hear my pleas. Let me know what you think.


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

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