“Dwell on the beauty of life.
Watch the stars, and see
yourself running with them.”
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)
There’s no hiding when an MS relapse is in town. It arrived on my doorstep about 5 days ago, warts and all, and I’m still trying to hide. I could give you the nitty gritty technical bit of it, but I fear it wouldn’t read like a Booker prize novel. And that is something I aspire to one day, just not today.
The past few days have been made of anything slow. Slow walking, slow eating and endless sleep. I managed to scrape a few blog pages together about what an MS relapse is and about the Immune System, while the Testimonials page has been updated. Considering they took about a week to crawl into my blog by the use of old fashioned copy and paste, it’s a feat I’m fairly proud of.
But hey, no negativity allowed. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not here. Not anywhere else in my life.
As you know, the maxim of my blog is: if I can’t be honest about my life with my illness, then I just won’t write anything at all. As with anything MS in my life, it’s about raising awareness. With no two people alike in their MS-lifecycle, you won’t find two equal MS relapses either. That’s how confusing multiple sclerosis can be to those who have never heard of it, or to family, friends and colleagues. Why does something the easy way if you can do it the hard way also, huh?
Let’s just say that, without relapses, waking up without chronic pain would be so astounding it would make me think I died overnight. Waking up with a relapse is like trying to build an Egyptian pyramid, without any tools and in the middle of the night. Utter insanity. To prevent me from going so utterly insane though, I joke at my own expense.
“If I had a hammer, I’d hammer myself into knockout because of the trigeminal pain, but I didn’t have a hammer last night and I still don’t have one right now.”
“Sure, why don’t you just invent a new dance while you’re at it?” when losing my balance.
“Christ, where were you and what did you get up to last night?” when I’m falling asleep again just after having breakfast.
“It’s great when you get free acupuncture with having MS” when pins and needles irritate my legs.
“Ice picks are made for freezers, not for stabbing my eyes” when optic neuritis keeps them occupied.
“See, I told you shouldn’t have been inventing a new dance, now my leg feels like a squeezed cannoli” when left side nerve pain takes over my arm and leg.
In short, if I’d have to sell myself with these words, I still wouldn’t receive a Booker prize. I could post “Another MS Relapse” award on the fireplace mantel, but they’re just a waste of space. I thought of referring to a relapse as something you just have to get your teeth in, but I don’t want to steal Luis Suárez’s limelight.
Without relapses, there are symptoms, just not as unforgiving as during relapses. Without, there are days I don’t even think about having MS. I know I have chronic pain and severe fatigue, but I refuse to let it take over my life. Without relapses, it’s become as commonplace as making a cup of coffee, putting on my boots, doing my grocery shopping. It’s there, I just have to live with it. Period.
Perhaps there is some beauty in having relapses, they’re there to remind you that you have to mind yourself, rest when you need to and stop playing Super Woman. My mum once again reminded me of this just this morning. AGAIN.
If anything, I’m trying to preserve some normality in my life. It’s about living as good a life as I possibly can, with the tools I am given and the knowledge I have. And at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can do.
© Willeke Van Eeckhoutte and Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me, 2011-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are 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.