Archive for September, 2011

27

The Best Thing Ever

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”- Buddha

I really like going to physical therapy in the pool. I can do things in the pool that I can’t normally do…like walk. Besides that, its nice being amongst people who really understand. People who sincerely want to hear the answer to, “How have you been?” They don’t tend to regret asking me the question!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while now, but I just didn’t know if I could do it justice. At therapy I met a handsome young fella who obviously shares multiple sclerosis with me. I often consult other MSers to see how they cope with the drastic changes M.S. thrusts on us. I listen with an open mind. Take what I like and leave the rest. As I’m sure you do as well. I must admit though, I wasn’t ready for his answer. When asked how he copes, with a subtle air of confidence he replied, “MS is the best thing that could have happened to me.”

What?

That rocked me. “Why,” I said. Again he calmly responded with,” It slowed me down.”
Things were much clearer now.

I still didn’t know the context behind his answer, but had a good idea. It sounded like he was leading the kind of fast life that M.S. provided an exit out of. Almost as if he was grateful for it?????

Aquatic Therapy

Did it do the same for me?

Of course it did. I just haven’t looked at it that way before. When I was working I was also living in Maryland/DC. Miles away from where I really wanted to be, Louisiana. My career was excellent and the money was great but my profession wasn’t my passion. I spent more time at work than with family and friends. Plus, the cold Northwest temperatures were nearly frightening to this girl from the deep south! I remember calling my supervisor and naively asking questions about driving in the snow! But I do appreciate the doors it did open for my family. I did get to experience an entirely different culture. I was able to live life in “a blue state.” I was able to experience four seasons. Not just hot and hotter here in Louisiana. An author friend of mine, Eric Pete, once compared living in Louisiana to living under someones armpit! The humidity here is atrocious!

So, I’m discovering an entirely new world. Granted I was forced to, but like my friend said, it just may be the best thing that ever happened to me…Well maybe not. That’s a bit much. What I know for sure is that I have the power alter my outlook. I can look for a perspective that enhances me because I have M.S., not in spite of it.

It’s because of M.S. that I write. My passion. It’s because of M.S. that I am surrounded by family here in Louisiana.

And that may be the best thing that ever happenned to me.

17

THE BEFORE

My Car

I drove everywhere. Fast.

I definitely see two Nicole’s. To be clear, I mean there is a pre-MS version of me and a post-MS version of me. I’m aware that sounds slightly Schizophrenic, but that’s one of the ways I view my life. (I’m going to touch upon this the next time I see my head therapist.)

I led a completely different life before I had MS. There’s a definite before and after distinction. Similar to the before the storm (Katrina) and after the storm New Orleanians speak of. The entire city changed structurally and mentally. I can even once again reference 9/11. Now, that one I know you can relate to. Some say things will never be same, at least not in our airports!

As far as before MS an after MS, someone online told me they didn’t share the same view. She said she sees it all as her life. I snubbed her opinion and figured she must still be able to walk! I mean I cannot stress enough how much MS has snatched from me. In turn, I don’t have the luxury of WALKING, WORKING or DRIVING (W.W.D.). So I refer to the time period when I could do those things as THE BEFORE.

I see now that right along with W.W.D. comes a subtle air of independence and worth. That is what I have lost. That loss hits hard. It sent me to the head therapist! But also it jump started me to start writing and this blog was born.

Okay, my other hobby is reading. I understand that these W.W.D. things may have accounted for my self-sufficiency, but the core of who I am remains untouched. I just have to keep reminding myself.

As for my before and after mentality maybe its making acceptance of what is…harder.

I’m sure Dr. Phil would ask me, “How’s that working for you?”

Dr. Phil I may need help.

“How’s that working for you?”

24

Serenity Prayer

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it. -W.W. Bartley

Praying Hands

Serenity Prayer

It just so happens that I am writing my new post on the same day of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This morning when I woke up I attempted to get out of bed, but unexpectedly slid to the floor! In the background my television showed continuous news coverage of the terror attacks from 2001. I usually use my walker around the house and my wheelchair only for outside excursions but today I have been using my wheelchair inside the house. If this is my only problem on 9/11/11 then I should feel lucky.

Of course, I didn’t welcome this “new normal”. Remember, it’s the period between the “normals” that is the hardest. I don’t welcome any of them. But who would? Who wants to be introduced to a “new normal” that excludes most things you consider normal? As a matter of fact, I saw my leg strength weakening for quite a while. I usually see these “new normals” peaking around the corner but DENIAL, my no good dirty bastard friend, keeps me stagnate.

Many days I prefer to crawl around the house rather than use my pimped out wheelchair! Can you imagine a grown woman crawling around the house? I would sarcastically, but proudly declare, “Crawling is a mode of transportation.” Not today. I have nothing in me to give. There is limited energy in the lower half of my body. And that’s tolerable, because after watching the 9/11 news specials and reports, how can I complain?

Throughout the day, I like to recite this adage to myself:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Which way would u select?

I can't change MS but I can control my acceptance and treatment of MS.

14

Picture My Past

This brings back memories!

One of my best friends recently emailed me a picture of myself. Multiple Sclerosis was nowhere to be seen. As I continuously stare at the photo I remember that time in my life. It wasn’t that long ago, but M.S. tends to age you!

She’s not carrying a burden.
She’s not hiding.
She’s not tired.
She’s happy and content. I remember her. This personalizes what my therapist has been trying to get me to come to terms with. That is, I am so much more than multiple sclerosis. I have hobbies, talents, friends, and a supportive family that supersedes M.S. and its effects.

I’m out of the Cave of Pity. I guess I was in there for about two weeks.
A visit from some family members was the final catalyst that compelled me from my depressive state of mind. To top it off they brought me a wonderful bouquet of roses!

Thanks. :)

We sat, reminisced, laughed and just did the things that families do. All the while, two of my family members are combating their own health ninjas. At times, I recognized the subtle downward glances and stillness. I heard unspoken words. But also heard strong voices and felt their capacity to care for me. I saw their personalities shining through. Although, our disease processes are very different, there are some commonalties we share. I recognize and respect both the unanimity and variances of our situations.

Their visit reminded me that regardless of inopportune circumstances, life still goes on. The important thing is how you respond to adverse situations.
Can the essence of who we are continue to persist despite…?? I am beginning to believe it can.

I escaped from the Cave of Pity!