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Sometimes There’s No Right Answer

I host my blog through tumblr because my brother was one of the original guys that started the site, and because it’s just an awesome site in general. One of the best features is the ability to send and receive messages, and choose to do so anonymously. If you ever e-mail me, or send me a message via facebook or tumblr I will always reply as soon as I possibly can. However, a couple of months ago I got a question that I never could bring myself to answer.

Anonymous: “If you could, would you give back MS and go back to being the person you were before?”

Me: 

Why didn’t I answer this question? At first I didn’t understand why I couldn’t bring myself to reply. Eventually I realized that I simply didn’t have the answer. On several occasions I sat down and attempted to write a well thought out reply, but I failed each time. Then I thought that I could make a list of pro’s and con’s which would lead to a tidy conclusion, but that failed too. A large part of the problem was that every time I sat down my answer was different, and my reply largely depended on the type of day I was having. All my answers were either too clinical or too emotional, too whiny or too self righteous.

Of course I would give it back. I’m young and starting my family and my career. I have student loans to pay off, and the world at my fingertips!

Of course I wouldn’t give it back. I love making a difference, and I feel like having MS is for the greater good! My life has more purpose than it ever has before!

Of course I would give it back. It’s painful, and frustrating, and emotionally draining at times.

Of course I wouldn’t give it back. Obstacles can bring out the best in you, and make you stronger (see: every inspirational quote about success ever written). Besides, life is messy and everyone has something so surely I can’t expect to be the exception to this rule.

Of course I would give it back. It is hard to see how much my family and friends worry about me.  It’s not fair to them, and my fiancé deserves someone healthy and uncomplicated.

Of course I wouldn’t give it back. It’s better to stick with the devil you know then the devil you don’t. At least I am prepared for my battles, which is better then being blindsided…right?

Of course I would give it back. It has cost me friendships, peace of mind, and my ability to walk straight. It makes me angry, and frustrated, and even sad at times.

Of course I wouldn’t give it back. I have gotten more from MS then it has taken from me. I’ve  found out who my real friends are, and I’m so grateful for all of the amazing people who have entered into my life as a result. I’m full of love and gratitude for everything I have. I don’t take things for granted, and I see the beauty in everyday things like never before. I can’t imagine giving all of these things up.

It sounds like such an easy question, yet I am still unable to answer it. It gnawed at me until I decided that I just had to let it sit there in my inbox, forever unanswered. I could feel the question taking away bits of my happiness, so I decided that it was ok for me to just let it go. I decided that it wasn’t healthy to linger in the land of “what if” and “if only”.  I decided to keep trying to be the best version of myself every day, flaws and all! MS isn’t the only challenge I have faced, or will ever face. All I can do is live in the present, and tackle things one at a time as they come.

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

  • Dee
    5 years ago

    Stephanie, I like your views on pros and cons. Makes me think more. I too am an RN (for 20 yrs) and was just diagnosed with MS Sept. 2014 although symptoms started 8 yrs ago. Who knows if I’ll be able to work as an RN again but I push forward with optimism because you never know. I find it best to try and stay in the day, one day at a time building a stronger attitude. Life IS like a box of chocolates…you never know what your gonna get, FG

  • But You Look So Well
    5 years ago

    rmdanielson, you reply is wonderful! My personal motto is “Hunde, wolte ihr ewig leben?” which is Friedrich die Grosse’s cry to his soldiers as they went off to yet another battle. It means “Dogs, do you want to live forever?”

    MS taught me to be a warrior, and my answer to the question is always, Oh hell, no, I’d keep MS for the life we have forged together. Ajoy puts his or her finger on it: “I can’t expect anyone else to provide support if I can’t find it in me to support Myself.”

    In the New Year, may we all find our inner protective figure, and may we find our own faces on that essential partner.

  • AJoy
    5 years ago

    Thank-you for such a beautifully written perspective! It is wonderful to have such a positive attitude, even if there are times that you don’t feel it that way. I am disappointed that there have been such negative posts below.

    I had felt somewhat like that, when I still felt that I had a support system. The past few years have tossed me more that just MS, becoming more progressive, but many other personal upheavals. Right now, I find myself wishing that I had taken the 11 years that I had had before official diagnosis, to be more prepared for the “possibility” of getting to this stage. Had I been more prepared for the changes over the last 2 years, I might still feel that MS has given as much as it has taken. I know that it is my job, my right, to bring myself back to that place of being “productive”, “inspirational”, etc. I can’t expect anyone else to provide Support, if I can’t find it in me to Support MySelf.

  • But You Look So Well
    5 years ago

    I am sorry for the bleakness of your future. That musg be painful to contemplate. I would only ask that you not put alll your eggs irrevocably in that basket. One never knows.

  • rmdanielsom
    5 years ago

    Don’t be. I’m not.

    And I haven’t, with the “eggs” that is.

    I’m a fighter. I fight this disease every minute of every day.

    After all, for a warrior, any day is a good day to die. (For me) Today has been a good day.

    How about for you? Has today been a good day?

  • rmdanielsom
    5 years ago

    Stephanie,

    There is a “right” answer to this question. The “right” answer is the answer that is right for you, the person with MS.

    For you it sounds like the “right” answer is probably no; you would not give it back.

    For me, the “right” answer is, OH HELL YES!!!

    The only thing that MS will have given me is death by stroke or asphyxiation in the next 3-5 years instead death by old age 40 years from now.

    All of your pros and cons of having MS were a part of my life prior to my contracting MS. All of it has been taken away by the MS.

    MS is a taker. What you think it has given you, it will eventually take.

    I truly hope the course of your disease goes the route of Annette Funicello (an original Mouseketeer, singer and actress), dying at 70 years of age from complications due to MS after having the disease for 20 some years and not my route, dead in less than 10 years of diagnosis.

    Better yet, I hope there is a cure for MS before you have to start designing a wheelchair or needing a full time Care Giver.

  • MR. M.S.
    5 years ago

    I think You just nailed it!
    Thank You!

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