Monday, February 24, 2014

Guide For The Newly Diagnosed: The Answer

This is an idea that I have been mulling over for awhile now. Next month will be my 9 year anniversary (cue the circus music) of being diagnosed and I have learned an obscene amount about MS since then. A truly tantalizing ton from tomes, and a lewdly large lump of life lessons. Think of how many little nuggets that we have learned the all too often (very) hard way, and think of how many things we would have liked someone to tell us when we were newly diagnosed. So, because where I am at in my disease course is a total snoregasm (from Bob's Burgers, I wish I'd made that word up!), I'm going to share some things that I have learned during this long strange trip. 


My diagnosis came out of the blue. I fell down some icy steps, left leg went numb, double vision in left eye, go see doctor, usual tests, and within a matter of 2-3 days was told I had MS. My life was like a puzzle that I was orderly putting together, the way I wanted, the way I had planned. MS took that puzzle and threw all the pieces in the air, it even mixed a few other puzzles in with my original puzzle for extra wackiness. I was so shocked, lost, scattered, scared, confused, overwhelmed, every word that you can think of like that, I was, as I'm sure most of us are in the beginning. I went to the MS walks and support groups, I talked to as many people with MS as possible trying to find out how they were okay with having MS and I was a mess. I wanted to know their secret. I wanted to know why they cared more about what casseroles people had brought than the fact that they had MS and they are only going to become more disabled (I hesitated writing that. I don't want to scare anyone; after 9 years I just started using a cane full time.). I wanted to know the answer. And here it is. The answer is Time. That's it. On those days when everything is just too much, wipe everything off of your to do list and put on it "breathe in and out." That is what you are going to do, providing you don't have to take care of others. Sometimes I would just sit, stare out the window and breathe in and out, that was my task for the day because I was too overwhelmed to take on anything more. 

In time you will start to care more about what casseroles were brought as you come to terms with having MS. At first I used to wear my MS shirts all the time so people knew what was wrong with me, now I never wear them. Why give away the answer when it's so much more fun to let them wonder? I even tell them when they ask that the answer is not as interesting as what they are imagining, because it's not. And, something I truly never thought would happen, I have even been able to put together a few parts of those puzzles that MS scattered. It has not been easy, sweet Mother of God it has not been easy, and The Answer is not an overnight cure, so it needs to be taken with 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of patience and I have been out of that since birth. While I'm waiting I'm going to go see what casseroles everyone brought.  I hope one is that jello one with the pretzels and whip cream, I freaking LOVE that stuff!