After a lengthy hiatus due to multiple relapses, I believe I found my voice again.
These past few months have brought challenges, physical and psychological. After more than 6 years with MS, I was convinced I had mastered the nature of my illness. I believed I could somehow predict what the monster would do next, its routines and habits. It was my own resident monster, after all.
I believed I had a firm grasp on it, that my medications were keeping things fairly stable and balanced. I was convinced that this would be the course of my illness, with long periods of relative normalcy in between relapses. The past 6 months have taught me otherwise.
I was met head-on by a speeding train, with multiple relapses, back-to-back. I was hit in the places I always counted on: My cognition, my reasoning, my intellect. I found myself struggling to put two words together, let alone blog and author books as I had in the previous year. My memory was horrendous, and I found myself misplacing objects, forgetting dates and appointments and becoming incredibly disorganized.
I felt utterly and completely out of control.
I began to play the role of the “sick person,” which I despised. I threw myself completely into my new role, shuffling around the house with slippers and sweatpants; deciding not to even attempt to do my hair or put on make-up. Taking a shower was completely exhausting, and just the thought of it was too much at times. My husband launched himself into his new role of caregiver. He shouldered more responsibilities, took the kids away from the house so I could rest. He became an incredible support, but I felt guilty watching him take this on.
I have slowly returned to the living world, regaining small amounts of energy and cognitive power. I just recently realized that I had grown tired of my role, that I no longer wanted to play it. I wanted to return to my former self, and I had to make a conscious effort to do so. It would not happen without effort, and I was determined. These roles we play…..they are only in our minds. We may have physical and cognitive challenges with MS, but we do not need to be held prisoner by them. We always have the option to change our thought processes, to refuse to sink into the deep hole that is the “sick person” role. We are each so much more than our illness, and the goal is to always remember this. Remember who you were when you were well, before your diagnosis….and keep that person alive.
I looked in the mirror today, and I was shocked that I didn’t look like the elderly, sick, hopeless person I felt I was. I still looked like me.