Some Medical Decisions Can’t Be Undone
In general, life is a series of decisions. Right or left? Forwards or backwards? You can’t do both at the same time so you have to pick one. Make one decision. Simple. Now usually once you make a decision in life you will be faced with consequences that can’t be undone even if you are able to turn around and go with another choice. Should I buy the red phone or the blue phone? You pick the red phone and a day later you realize that you just hate it and should have gone with the blue phone. Luckily you still have time to return it and exchange it for the blue phone but unfortunately there is a restocking fee. Choices have consequences and like the restocking fee, the consequence of that first decision still has to be paid for. There is no way around it. Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) meant that I would have even more decisions to make along the path of my life only the consequences of these decisions would not mean simply having to pay a small restocking fee.
The "I'm going to live forever" mentality
I was diagnosed at the age of 20 so I still had that “I am basically going to live forever” mentality. “I know I should exercise but… I would rather ride motorcycles so… tomorrow.” But “tomorrow” never comes. Almost 7 years later and my fatigue is probably worse off because I am not as strong as I could have been if I just started some basic exercises. My balance would probably be two or three times better if I had worked on that as well! Where would my cognitive abilities be today if I had decided early on to start doing daily brain exercises? These are all just a few examples of decisions I wish I could go back and remake but because I do not own a time machine? I can’t. I can start doing all those things now and I would definitely benefit from them as it’s never too late to get moving, but the consequences of my “decision” to not do all that stuff when I was first diagnosed with MS? Those consequences are what we call the accumulation of long-term disability and most of it is not entirely reversible (as of now).
But that is mostly just regret. What I have really been upset about was my decision to go on a certain medication. See, I have made many decisions to start many medications; I knew the risks and I weighed the pros and cons. Simple. And most the time? If there was some ill-effect of that medication it went away once I stopped it; no long-term damage. So for years none of my medical decisions really came back to bite me. But all those medications were more “mild medications”, there are certain medications that might be considered to be a little more “heavy duty” and can cause long-term damage. This is what made me think about how some medical decisions can’t be undone.
Forget MS medication for a minute, let’s talk about medication in general. Many medications can possibly cause things like cancers, liver disease, heart disease, and other things that sound much more terrible than the seasonal allergies you are trying to treat. But that is where you have to weigh the possible pros and the possible cons of taking a medication or not. I weighed the pros and cons of this medication and I felt like the potential benefits outweighed the potential risks. For the first time since I was diagnosed with MS I felt like I was wrong. I made the wrong medical decision. I put my body through a tough treatment and after realizing that it had not done what I hoped it would do I am left sitting here feeling just as bad off as before only now I am sitting here with the negative long-term effects of this medication; weak immune system, the possible development of other immune diseases, cancers, thyroid issues and the list goes on.
Does anyone have a time machine I can borrow so I can go undo that decision?
I knew the risks; sometimes it isn’t possible to make a completely logical decision in the path of life that MS is making us take so you sort of have to gamble and not to sound dramatic but sometimes you lose and have to get back up and figure out how you are going to keep moving forward with the consequences of a decision that can’t be undone.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?