Take care of your body.
It’s the only place you have to live.
Being unwell? For those who only have an odd cold or flu, they believe they cannot possibly feel any worse. For those who battle cancer, ‘being unwell’ becomes a triumph over adversity if their treatment is successful.
I often find myself floating in between the mere feeling of the flu or the worst pain possible (trigeminal neuralgia, remember?). On days like that, my illness feels like my body betrays me, day in, day out. Unlike people who have cancer and have the possibility of having their illness ‘cured,’ the course of my multiple sclerosis can only be ‘modified.’ Therein lies the betrayal. Modified becomes a permanent word in your vocabulary. Modified. Not cured, only modified.
Independent… Stubborn… that is me. It is very hard asking for help. Ever since my childhood, my mum has had to live with my ‘I can do it!’ motto whenever she asked if I needed any help. It is hard giving in to yourself, admitting you really do need a hand. I continuously fight with myself trying to find out if asking for help is a sign of weakness or if it is something everyone would gladly do without thinking twice.
If physical betrayal isn’t bad enough already, asking people for help but receiving a ‘no can do because I am selfish!’ answer means that from now on you might need to fend for yourself. Soldiering on on my own has therefore become my main drive. At the end of the day, there is only one person that can ‘modify’ me and that is… you guessed right… that is me. Pity I had to let go of some dear friends because of it, but this little one here, yes… me… and my family… we’re what matters.
I let go off the mental weight it carries, although sometimes it still creeps up on me. However, I do have my pride and if I need to soldier on alone, so be it. Like Kit, one of the main characters says in Iain Banks new book: “That’s the thing about [your illness]. It’s all yours — it’s entirely, perfectly personalised.”
Letting yourself be cared for can be a complex undertaking. Don’t take it for granted, take care of yourself first, and the rest will follow.
If I take care of my character,
my reputation will take care of me.
(Dwight L. Moody)
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.