MS is a crazy disease, I have it and I hate it. There is no known cause and nothing I could have done at any time in my life to prevent it or predict it. At least that's the current thinking. I just have to accept it.
That's the hard part. I am usually a 'half full' optimist, not a 'half empty'
pessimist. The emptier my life's hour glass gets the fuller my life gets. It is
an intentional life and attitude choice that I preach to others and act on
myself. Multiple Sclerosis, however, conspires against me on a daily,
sometimes hourly basis. It's a challenge I am barely prepared for.
While doing much-belated spring cleaning last week, I discovered some magazine
articles I clipped about balance issues ... from 1999. That, combined with
other memories and observations from friends, lead me to believe I've had some
form of MS for a long time, and not just the five years since my first more
obvious symptoms of bad balance and odd numbness and the fifteen months since
my official diagnosis.
My symptoms are annoying but mild compared to many people living with MS. I
walk with a limp and always use a handrail on stairs. I have a bit of 'foot
drag' and trip a couple of times a week but fortunately I've only fallen once.
The day I'm writing this is a sunny Sunday but I'm writing this in my cool apartment alone instead
of socializing at the pool because my heat sensitivity is high this afternoon,
another common symptom.
A couple of years ago I had a personal fitness trainer and I was in great shape
but I am no longer able to keep up with that level of exercise. My 'bucket
list' used to include hiking the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon. Many
60-somethings do that every year but I won't be one of them because my balance
issue makes it too risky to hike even a few hundred feet of a rocky, narrow
path like that much less ten miles of one.
I accept all of this but I don't like it.
However, I refuse to let this pesky disease stop me from living the best life I
can live. I take the recommended medication and vitamins, follow my doctor's
dietary suggestions and daily exercise regimen. I do what I can to reduce
stress (another symptom trigger) and I don't sit around whining and avoiding
life. Except maybe this afternoon.
Ok, time to get off my butt, post this and do something.