It’s 7a.m. and I am sitting next to Shawn, both our rods rigged and sent to the bottom of the vast ocean in search of our very first catch on the new boat. The sun has broken over the horizon and revealed that it is going to be a glorious day filled with endless possibilities. As I sip my coffee and look out over the water I am struck with the sheer beauty of all that is in site and overwhelmed by the flood of joy and contentment that washes over me. And I think…
That is not to say that I don’t still have the good old MS symptoms – if anything they are far more pronounced (or at least I am more aware of them) now that the chronic pain is under control (thanks to MMJ.) But I can still feel like me through the stupid wonky numb legs, blurred vision, foggy minded fatigue that the MS might bring on. The pain took that away from me. Over the past few years, as the chronic pain grew in intensity and consistency I began to lose the ability to ever feel like myself. There wasn’t enough space in my mind for anything but the pain and trying to just get through life each day.
I know that I have talked a lot about this “chronic pain” and trying to find relief with cannabis (marijuana.) One might think that now that I am finding relief and managing it, that I would drop the subject. But here is the thing – I can’t. Partly because it IS still there – lingering in the background – ready to jump out and take over again. But I mainly can’t stop talking about it because I didn’t talk about it for so long – and now that I have been able to take a step away from it, I can see very clearly all that it did to mess with me, my life, and who I am.
It’s actually quite scary to think about just how successful it was in hijacking my life. I have always thought of myself as strong and resilient, upbeat and positively optimistic (glass half full type of thing.) I believed with every fiber of my body that I could overcome anything that was thrown at me, that something like depression could never happen to me. And yet it did…
“Pain and depression set up camp in my life, made themselves at home and began calling the shots. I had always at least been able to choose my reaction/response to the MS crap, but even that small modicum of control disappeared with their arrival.”
I’m learning that it’s not easy to get out from under the grips of the pain and the inevitable depression that comes along with it. It is far from gone – but most days I can keep it at bay, to levels that I can live with. But the fact that it is not gone and pops in to say hello at random times has taught me that it is a work in progress. The temptation to slip back into the bubble when it does get bad – to revert to my anti-social, couch-potatoing self is still there. I don’t know if it will always be there, or if it might slowly fade away as I fill my life back up with family, friends, and activities. But for the moment it is a constant and real threat that I have to be aware of. I have to push through the urge to give in and succumb to the mind-numbing drone of the television, to the lure of checking out and giving in to the pain. I have to actively work on not letting myself slip. Each day I have moments when I have to consciously remember that I am no longer going to let it win, to get the best of me and take over my life again.
“I try and remain consciously aware that I am choosing to fight and no longer let the pain win.”
I have mentioned that I have had successes – that my life has been changing for the positive lately and that has continued to be the case (with a few bumps and divots in the road along the way.) I look back over the past few months and I have to acknowledge all that I have achieved – a trip to Las Vegas, Shawn’s father’s passing, getting the yard and garden prepped and pretty for the summer months, a few outings on the boat, a fishing trip, cooking, cleaning and laundry for the large hooligans that have arrived home from college, writing more articles and being named a top MS blogger for 2017 by Healthline.com. Each and every one of these things required that I be present, that I play an active role in my life, and each time, I did! I feel like achieving even ONE of these things during the past year would have been monumental – because doing ANYTHING was so damn hard and painful. But here I am, cranking along. Once again, waking up after a good night’s sleep (thanks to my Bubba Kush) excited to get my day started and actually DO things!
I struggle with balance – not the “falling on my ass” kind of balance – but the kind where I can get everything done, not shirk any of my duties as a mother, daughter, girlfriend, pet-owner, or human-being. Now that I remember what it’s like to be me, I want to do everything; to experience and enjoy every aspect of my life – from hanging with Shawn and the kids, to taking the dogs out for walks, finding new recipes for my ever-growing clan, finally getting a decent vegetable garden going, heading off on the boat as often as possible, continue writing for Healthline and other outlets, sharing my stories on my own blog, getting some camping in, making a trip back to the East coast, and maybe even finding a job, there are a lot of things that I want to do. Coming to terms with the fact that more than likely not everything is going to get done but to make the most of each and every thing that I do manage to accomplish and continue to find the reasons to laugh and smile sounds like a good plan to me.
“All I know is that my horizon is looking bright!”
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **