Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Hate To Admit It

March 3, 2015 is a date in my life that is almost as important to me as my birthday. That is the day of my official Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. I first had symptoms a few years earlier but the neurologist was hesitant to call it MS yet. She ruled out almost everything else but the MRI only showed one lesion, so that meant no 'multiple'. She treated the symptoms and they mostly went away, for two or three years. Then they returned.

Living with MS is more of a pain in the ass for me than anything else. My situation is far less severe than it is for many people I've met. Balance issues, drag foot, some heat sensitivity and fatigue are my main issues. Some people with MS experience vision problems, cognitive issues and incontinence; I have none of that. Some cannot walk; I walk with a cane now, but the cane might be temporary.

Three years ago I had a personal trainer and was in the best physical shape since my 20s. I still looked and moved like I was 50, more than ten years less than the chronological truth. I walked several miles a week and could even run a little. In retrospect, I admit I was pushing too hard with the physical trainer and my current lighter workout is more realistic, with or without the MS.  I admit my balance issue goes back more than twenty years; I just thought I was clumsy. Maybe I had that MS symptom that long ago. I admit I've compensated for a weak right leg for many years, which is why I walk with a limp. Physical therapy is helping to build strength but my walking will be worse before it gets better, hence the cane. While I'm admitting things, I admit that I hate the word hence and this might be the first time I've ever used it in a sentence.

A behavioral characteristic I share with some MSers is that I hate to ask for help. I can do things on my own, right?  Well, I admit that sometimes not asking for help is dangerous. A snow and ice storm blanketed my county with slick slush the other night and I reluctantly accepted my GF's offer to clean off my car. I also reluctantly followed her strong advice to stay in and work from home that day. I admit she's correct in her observation that it is dangerous for me to even walk across the parking lot.

Living with MS is a challenge to my usual optimistic outlook on life. Aging doesn't help. Admitting all of this, however, does help and paying attention to that negative inner voice helps me silence it, so that I can focus on positivity. I admit there are people in my life who care about me and love me and that is one admission I truly like.

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