The Anniversary Waltz

So here's a thing I've been noticing more and more as I've been exploring websites with my MS Head on (aside from the fact that there are a LOT of MS websites/blogs/portals/news sources out there): people marking the anniversary of their diagnosis.

Now, I'm not telling people how to manage their illness. Whatever works for you is fine by me. But it does strike me as a bit odd.

Not least because if your diagnosis timeline is anything like mine it will have gone something like:

  • A series of intermittent weird sensations (“hmmm, that feels odd…”)
  • ... which disappear (“hmmm, that was strange…”)
  • ... and then come back (“hmmm, that feels odd… AGAIN”)
  • ... leading to retrospectively comical series of misdiagnoses [mine included a trapped nerve or sciatica, which did at least get me started doing Yoga]
  • ... then things go quiet for a bit
  • Eventually [fourth attempt for me] a doctor takes a deeper interest and suggests visits to a physio and a neurologist
  • Physio rules out anything muscular/physical [interestingly, this guy was the first person to mention MS to me]
  • Neurologist recommends an MRI and/or a Lumbar Puncture
  • And the results from our panel of medical professionals are in...

I have no idea of the date when the final step happened for me. And looking at that timeline, you can see that it was just a guy giving SOMETHING a name - no more, no less.

The symptoms - all too recognisable in hindsight - had been kicking around for years by that point. And like many people, my diagnosis came as something of a relief – at least now we knew what we were dealing with.

Obviously we need to track our own relapse episodes and progression, and I’m not kidding myself that my condition isn’t something that I think about (on one level or another) every day.

But if we keep living in the past (“everything was just peachy before I got diagnosed”), then we’re going to miss a whole lot of what’s good about the present. And speaking personally as a father, life isn't just about ME anymore (I know, I'm shocked too).

Plus I know or have known people who have been dealt cards which are a million times worse than mine.

Like I said before, I'm not telling anyone how to manage their condition. But I just feel that if I marked the date of my diagnosis every year, it would just be taking me back to the terrified younger me who had just been given a diagnosis he didn't really understand and which had derailed the path he thought his life was heading.

Anyway, I think it was sometime in August. And I know it was in 2005, because we got married the following year - we had a lovely day, with family and friends, fabulous weather...

That is an anniversary worth keeping. But my diagnosis? I think I can live without remembering that.

This is where we are – let’s get on with it.

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