Monday, March 20, 2017

More than just a diagnosis

I get all mad at people who don’t use the resources at hand when it comes to taking care of their personal health. Why would someone not want to get better? Why would you deny a course of treatment that could make recovery faster? Did I mention that I'm a big ol' hypocrite?

It’s time to eat my own words. I’m guilty of this myself. I’m just now finishing up with a 3 day IV course of Solu-Medrol in response to an MS flare up. I’ve been diagnosed for a year, and this is not the first time I’ve been offered this option. I’ve taken and finally rejected other drugs that would mitigate symptoms, done PT, done my Copaxone injections and stuck with that until after a year I found that I couldn’t tolerate it so well. I’ll be switching that up as soon as it’s gone through the obstacle course that my health insurance company requires for coverage. I can’t say I totally blame them since they’ll be covering a $26K per year treatment program. I’ll be hitting my personal out of pocket maximum in short order, no doubt since Insurance doesn’t cover everything to do with my MS. But I’m not going to be so behind that I’m drowning this year thanks to the generosity of those who have supported me

But this last year has been a wake-up call. I’ve tried to live my life as if I didn’t have MS, even while clearly I was unable to do that. After three days of IV steroids, which isn’t altogether pleasant on its own, I actually feel better than I have for quite some time. And I’ve been asked twice today, by my husband and my bestie, “Why didn’t you do this sooner?”

That’s a really good question, one that’s not simple to answer. And by the time I’d been asked the second time, I had my drive into the hospital to find my answers. It all boils down to stubbornness. Yes, Tom and Krissy, you’re right. I am stubborn. But I was so with the best of intentions. I year ago I had my diagnosis and I was prepared to move forward from that point.

It took me about a year to figure out that it wasn’t just a diagnosis. This is my life. And I thought that the best way to deal with it was to muscle through. Push past it. I am not my MS. I could overcome it. I would get through it and defy the odds. My life would be as it always was. I would not succumb to this disease and I would be okay. I needed to push forward, and not give myself time to process it beyond the superficial. I thought that if I dwelled on it, it would catch up with me. I was running away from it, and the first time I was forced to stop, I realized I was terrified.

So by allowing  physical therapy, and language pathology, chiropractic care, and the Copaxone, (apart from my visits with a psychologist which I’ve never claimed not to need at various points in my life) I thought I was being proactive. I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do. And by about November I was falling apart with the pace I’d been living my life. Bills were piling up and not wanting to be burden to my family I felt an obligation to keep up that momentum even though I was sacrificing the rest of myself in order to do it.

So why did I feel like I had to do everything the hard way? Because I don’t like to need help doing anything. And admitting I have MS means that I definitely can’t move forward without help.  And that scared the hell out of me. Because it’s more than just a diagnosis. It’s my life. But as it is also my husband and kids’ lives too, I took another step forward, and took the help that I’d been offered. And I’m better for it today.


  1. You are stubborn. And you are loved. :) you got this. -Wendi

  2. I did the same thing with my CFS and Fibro. Tried to push through until I finally HAD to slow down. It was hard but now I have no problem doing it. It will get easier to slow down as time goes by, I promise!

    1. The need to slow down is a blessing in disguise. I don't think people were meant to live life in fast forward.