My Ultimate Archnemesis
Throughout my life I have faced the relentless demand fatigue places on my body and well-being. Of all of the crippling effects of this chronic disease, it is the fatigue that I find most devastating to my success as a person and a professional. I honestly cannot say that at this point in my life, not a day goes by where I do not experience fatigue to the point where I am forced to alter plans, reconsider my choices, and verbalize a few choice words for those I hear around me complaining of being a "little tired" or "under the weather." What I wouldn't give to have my best day equate with their worst.
I have struggled with unnatural fatigue for nearly as long as I can remember. I vaguely recall trying to play soccer as a young elementary school child and being unable to complete the rudimentary laps and drills. My legs simply would not work the way I wanted them to, and I was often jealous of the ease with which my teammates completed the simple exercises. I thought I was merely out of shape at the time, and that with hard work, I would be able to compete with my peers.
The years went by, and I worked hard to develop my athletic skills and abilities. But I often remained a step or two behind no matter how many extra sprints I performed at the school yard across the street from my home. As I got older, the fatigue only continued to increase, often leaving me lying helpless in my dorm room unable to join in the fun my teammates were having down the hall. I can still remember their probing questions, asking why I slept all the time. I was tired. That's all I knew, and I wanted people out of my business.
Eventually I left dorm living for a house off campus. Doing so provided greater privacy, and I felt more free to rest as my body demanded. My health started to improve, and I experienced a period of time where I almost felt normal. I rode my bike almost daily, and I was able to my attend classes and coach my basketball girls. My health wasn't perfect, but it was better. Looking back it was a special time in my life.
A little over ten years later, I continue to battle my demons. I have lost my marriage, many of my friends, and career ambitions in part as a consequence of my body's struggle to fight this illness. I have battled through a complete identity crisis, and I have survived. I will never again be who I was, but I am excited about becoming who I am.
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?