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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things are different

Coming off the results of my latest MRI I should be ecstatic and yet something is troubling me. I still don't feel like I did pre-MS. Yes, my health is less predictable and I tire easily. Yes, I get more stressed and anxious than I used to. Yes, my vision isn't what it used to be but that's not the real issue.

Last night I was at a surprise 30th birthday for a friend and I was hanging out with the birthday girl and some of her friends. Somehow they got to talking about how they still didn't feel grown up despite their age and in that moment, I realized that I do feel grown up. I don't just feel grown up, I feel old.

This realization was another big reality check. Right before I was diagnosed my husband and I went to Vegas to party. At that time it was fun to know that I looked great, I could stay up most of the night and I had few responsibilities in the world. We had long resolved not to have kids, primarily because we didn't want to have all that responsibility and we didn't ever want to grow up.

I know now where my thinking changed. Until early last year I felt invulnerable. I was fit, healthy and young-looking for my age. I imagine it is common to believe that you won't lose your health or suffer any major life-changes outside your control. That is exactly how I viewed things. When I learned that I had MS, I couldn't even believe it. Even now it's hard to believe that I'll ever get really ill or have to quit working (maybe I won't). On the other hand, I also know now what it is to feel vulnerable. I no longer assume if I feel sick that I'll just get better. I also no longer have the confidence that I used to. I don't dream or look ahead much anymore. I know that this will need to change so I can be truly happy but one MRI has not done the trick. I don't think I can go back but I need to find ways to move forward to.

If someone were to ask me what the hardest part about having MS is I think I would tell them that it is the mental and life adjustments that are the most taxing part, not the physical pain. This is probably a little different for everyone but for me the daily battle with my own mind is really the hardest part.


Weeble Girl said...

Vulnerable is a good word to use when describing MS. You never know when or if something will get better or something new will act up or something else will just get worse.

I felt like you did after my MRI which showed positive results. I felt happy but then divided. Why didn't I feel better if lesions disappeared? I know others without a lot of MS knowledge would just assume that I must be better if the MRI was better.

Unfortunately, we know it doesn't work that way. Some days I feel younger than my 38 years and other days I feel much older.

MS sure has my brain wrapped up like a See-And-Say, remember those toys from childhood? You pulled the handle and it stopped on a picture and made a noise. Except someone else is pulling the handle and a random emotion comes up. That's how I often feel.


Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks Weebs. I think you get where I'm coming from.

Weeble Girl said...

Hey, I stole my post today from part of my answer to you. Hope that's okay.

Hope your day goes well, too.

Shauna said...

I hear ya'. I don't want to be a grown up. Though there is one benefit to being an adult that kids don't have. We can eat our dessert first.


Serina said...

I definitely understand.. I've always felt a bit older, but in the last year - I do just plain feel old at times. Not even "old but still kick'n" but rather just plainly "Old", and I really see it in pictures people take of me now, especially if I'm tired at all.

Its really frustrating! What happened to the "Prime of my life"? It kind of got skipped over, and it really doesn't seem fair.. but I shouldn't complain I suppose.. It could always be worse so I shouldn't tempt fate I guess.

Merelyme said...

I agree with you...I think I can handle the physical stuff but all the worry and not knowing what will happen does play with your mind. There is no doubt about it that this is a mean disease.

and who wants to grow up? no fun at all!

Blindbeard said...

I remember a nurse telling me after being diagnosed, that she thought life altering illnesses were harder than life threatening. I have thought about that a lot because it is so true. Sometimes I wish it had been something life threatening that I would have either died or recovered from, not this dragging on and on and on and... you get my point.