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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

MS support group and more perspective

I have been busy lately. To adjust, I schedule a nap date with myself after each flurry of activity. This has been working well so far. On Monday I had my first MS "Self-Help Group" meeting so I went home right after work to rest and prepare for Tuesday.

The group came right on the heels of my post about perspective. Somehow that line of thinking proved very important for me when I went to the group. Sometimes I get so caught up in being tired and sick or planning to avoid those states that I cannot take my mind off MS. Two of the women in the group mentioned that they now go days at a time without thinking about MS. I realized that I have not done this. In fact, I don't think a day has gone by since my diagnosis where MS has not crossed my mind. Perhaps this is unavoidable as long as I blog here but hearing these women talk, I thought, "I want that kind of peace."

One of the women in the group has been diagnosed for twelve years now and she told me that she has never taken MS meds. She has an excellent quality of life and she does not let MS affect her planning or lifestyle. While it seems her symptoms are minimal and that may account for her attitude, hearing her talk really gave me a state of mind to aspire to. I am not trying to forget or deny the MS but I am working hard to get rid of my fears about the future. I think this group is going to be good for me.

There was also a woman at the group who was just diagnosed in the last two weeks. She did not seem afraid or disturbed at all. I admire that. She has not had a serious exacerbation but learned of her MS because of some numbness in her arm. I wonder if generally feeling ok takes some of the fear out of the disease. As I thought this, I wondered if my state of mind might be better if I had never experienced a trauma as a result of my disease. When I feel bad it is hard for me to avoid conjuring up graphic sensory memories of vomiting blood in the waiting room of the hospital. I remember what it was like to suffer vertigo that questioned the laws of gravity. I remember skull pain, clenched muscles, crawling across my floor because I couldn't stand. I remember and I shudder.

I think that it is time to stop myself from reliving these memories. It is impossible to move on with my life productively if I am fixated on the worst parts of my disease experience. I think it is important to prepare for the worst but it does not need to involve negativity or painful memories and ideas. I do not intend to forget the lessons I have learned about slowing down, drawing boundaries or taking time for myself but I think a new chapter in my life is ready to dawn if I can let go of the trauma and just experience life as it comes.

Today I am grateful that I can learn from my experiences. As we often say in yoga,"Bowing to the teacher in all things because we can learn something from everyone and everything." Namaste.


Heather said...

This sounds like a very positive group. I really wish there were something like this in my area.I do not go a day without thinking about my MS. It was one of the worst days of my life when I was diagnosed. I thought I was going to die and then found out this would not kill me. I took me a few months b/f I realized I needed to change my attitude and become more positive. It's like Montel Williams says, "I might have MS but MS doesn't have me." I really try to live by this.

Denver Refashionista said...

Well said Heather. I think time does make things easier. The more I learn to manage things the better I feel physically and mentally.

pat said...

hey, I never knew how all-life encompassing Yoga is! I really look forward to it(3 times week) Now I know the mind/body/spirit connection. Also, now I know what namaste means too! Damn, didn't know I can also get "smarter"-jk Hope you are keeping your eyes toward the stars. I will be gone again for a week or two.-headed to Pa. and on to New York. Sooooo, farewell for now. B in touch when I return to land of Blog.

Merelyme said...

I have looked into support groups but I have yet to join one. I think it may be better for my husband to join one than me. I had one experience in a waiting room where I met a man who had a walker and we got to talking and he told me he had MS. When I said that I did too...he told me he hated me because I could still walk. it was very...unnerving to say the least. I am a bit afraid that I may receive the same reception for people who have MS who are more disabled by their disease than I am presently. But maybe that was just an odd experience and not to be generalized.

I am very curious to see how this support group goes for you. It sounds very positive.

I can go maybe...part of a day without thinking about MS but invariably something usually reminds me. You are not alone in this.

Great post. I do apologize for being so neglectful. It is good to catch up a bit and see you doing so well.