Accepting The Unacceptable
Life's journey is always unpredictable. And, when I was diagnosed with MS more than thirty years ago I was totally unprepared for my new reality; unprepared for how my life would change dramatically. I had a business of my own that required physicality and dexterity; where I depended on focus, balance, concentration and quick reflexes. I was a dog trainer and worked in conjunction with recommendations from my Vet. He wanted me to teach families the best methods for training their pets; enabling their pets to gracefully and lovingly fit into life with their human companions.
Life was good. I was self employed; it was lucrative; I loved working with the dogs; and even found ways to enjoy working with a huge variety of people. And then the boom was lowered. I quickly learned there was no cure for my MS; that the world of Medicine and Science did not offer a fix. With tears in my eyes and a terrible ache in my heart, and with great emotional anger - I sold my business.
I learned that there were medications available that could reduce my exacerbations. My Neurologist and I agreed on using Copaxone injections which (after several months) did indeed reduce my exacerbations. The symptoms however remained and are with me every day; major damage to my left leg, limited use of both legs and feet; spasticity; total loss of sight in my left eye; weakness in my right wrist; damage to the muscles of bowel and bladder; tingling and weird sensations; pain; and worst of all - (lassitude) intolerable fatigue; to name a few.
Could I make life good again? Could I let go of being depressed? ........ I had been practicing Yoga followed by meditation for many years. I had been practicing the skills of Tai Chi; and very much like Yoga used the skills of diaphragmatic breathing. From there I was able to follow a path toward Mindfulness Meditation (using the same breathing skills) and that's where I learned about "accepting the unacceptable". If you've been dealt a bad hand; if the path of your journey has cracks and bumps in the road, you're going to trip, but you have a choice. I learned that falling down creates trauma and difficulties, but what is most important is not that you fall down, but that you get up.
I became disciplined, and my breathing became an anchor for my new Mindfulness Meditation skills. I found that if you can focus on what is instead of what isn't, making it your intention to be in the present moment (not ruminating about the past or anxious about the future); you make it easier to center yourself and move forward. I learned you can choose to be in the now of life, becoming better balanced, better able to put your stress on the back burners. You won't eliminate your excessive fatigue or other symptoms, but you can experience your distress differently. You will improve your focus, concentration and overall well-being; and will be better able to deal with the pain, the handicaps, the limitations, as well as the fatigue.
For the past 10 years I have been teaching Mindfulness Meditation for various support groups representing patients with MS, Parkinson's, and residents in a local Nursing Home. What has been most beneficial for me personally, has been focusing away from myself; focusing on others; being involved with others who have handicaps. I've become mindfully aware of, inspired by and patiently and compassionately involved with remarkable people. This has become most beneficial to me. I brings an added bonus to my life. I have been most fortunate because of this involvement. I feel as though I've been given a gift; that bonus being that I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually.
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?