Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Wall

Yeah, it’s been awhile. But I didn’t want to just run my virtual mouth in this space. I don’t want it to be a daily piss and moan blog because who really wants to read that? I did feel inspired today to share my thoughts with all 4 of my readers. ;)

I’ve been struggling, since my diagnosis, to make peace with the fact that I have MS. After all, confirmation that all of the weird crap that was happening to my body had a name and while it’s sucky, it isn’t the worst case scenario. I also understand that a positive outlook is vital to my overall well-being and in all likelihood have a hand in determining the course of the disease. I’ve had a lot of time to mull that over.

A friend, and former neighbor of mine was diagnosed at the end of last summer. And while I’m significantly older than she is, she’s excellent company. She’s so vivacious that it’s difficult to be in a bad mood with her around. She also happens to have kids that my kids love to play with. When I did the 2016 Walk MS: Madison, WI with my family we met up with hers.

And while no two people’s MS is the same, she understands what I’m going through in a way that someone without MS can’t. That was a hug that was a long time coming. And it was nice to talk about the stuff that sucks in the midst of catching up a little over that 3 miles.

The most memorable thing about that day occurred early on when we watched someone go by in a wheelchair and she asked, “Does it freak you out to see that?”

My answer? “No. The possibility of going blind freaks me out more.”

Before then, that particular fear was something I had only ever shared with my husband, early on in the diagnosis process. I can’t think about that for too long without coming a little unhinged even though total blindness is as likely as the possibility of ending up in a wheelchair. Statistically speaking, it's not actually the norm. But the unpredictable nature of the disease is that it could happen without warning and there's nothing I can actually do to prevent it entirely. Suffice it to say that when I’d learned that my optic nerve had not yet taken damage was one of the best things I’d heard since the results of the spinal tap came through.

I went on a run this morning. I have a race at the end of the month. It would be nice not to burn out in the middle and I’ve slacked off a bit in that department. I’d been going on walks here and there and I really don’t enjoy it as exercise. That’s more of a social activity for me. I love running no matter how slow and un-glamorous I am while doing it. It gives me time to think. It’s an activity I love because it shows me what I am capable of physically. I’m 42 years old, overweight (though cutting back on my portions and adopting better eating habits has helped me lose 25 lbs. since the beginning of the year), and of course there’s that pesky MS thing I’m supposed to be making peace with.

When I run, I make a choice to actually do it no matter what. I do it in spite of how tired I am and much it hurts. Training for a race means that I challenge myself to run farther each week before I hit “the wall.” I become able to run farther because I don’t give up. I love to run because I’m in control even though I’m really not. I’ve begun to push myself again and in that, I’m relearning my body. I muscled through shin splints, pushed myself over a hill I’d forgotten to expect and I punched a hole through the wall when I hit it. What I realized was that while I’m out of practice, I don’t run like I have MS, I run like I don’t have MS. 

I don’t have to make peace with it in order to have a positive outlook about it. 

Holy crap what a concept! MS sucks. There's really nothing good about it. Why on earth would I want to make peace with it? I just know that I'll always find a way to keep going because I know exactly what I'm capable of. 

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