This past weekend, as I continue to try and heal from my flu/flare-up, we decided that it would be good for me to get out of the house, out of the city. It was a beautiful day and we set out on a drive, heading towards the mountains. We had a vague idea that we might head to the property, but we didn’t have an itinerary, we just hit the road. Once we passed the ski resort Shawn suggested we head to a place where he used to ride his dirt bike as a teen. He has talked about that time in his life, a lot. He has wonderful memories of heading out with friends, spending hours riding below the power lines and exploring the mountains.
It has been years since he has been up there and as we got closer, I could see his eyes light up in recognition of the windy dirt road, the old barns, and the landscape as it flashed by, like ever-changing artwork briefly framed by the windshield of the truck. As we progressed up the mountain, I began to doubt that we would ever actually reach the top. But as we continued to climb to higher elevations, I would catch glimpses of the view through the trees, and I found myself getting more and more excited about getting to the top and taking in the vast land that would lay below us.
When we finally reached the “end of the road” we weren’t actually at the peek, but at the gate that lay across the final part of the road. As we parked, Shawn looked at me and asked if I was up for a short walk. Given the past few weeks, he has been super cautious about not letting me overdo it (because I tend to do that.) But, I have been feeling better, it was a beautiful day, and the part of the path that was in sight looked completely “do-able.”
Let’s just say that Shawn’s memory of the distance from the gate to the top MAY have been a bit skewed by the years that have passed since he was last there. Or maybe to his younger self, it had seemed much shorter…Turns out it was a much longer (and steeper) walk than he had remembered. But because the road was still very windy and we couldn’t actually see the top, couldn’t tell how much further we had to go.
After walking and chatting for about 15 minutes, I realized that I was no longer talking, because trying to ignore the pain, attempting to stay balanced on my now completely dead and numb legs and feet, focusing on not allowing my right foot to drag (as it tends to do when I am fatigued) and trying to see through the now blurry and cloudy vision was requiring every once of my energy. Yet, I continued on. I began to worry that I was pushing myself too far. I began to worry that I was going to either trigger another flair or somehow make this last one that I am still recovering from start back up.
BUT by this time, I had come TOO far to not make it to the top, so I took a few puffs of my trusty vape and continued on. With EACH turn, I would hold my breath HOPING that this would be the last one – that we would finally reach the top and yet over and over, it wasn’t the last one. Until finally it was the last one. We had made it to the last turn in the road, and the summit was in sight… But a really steep, rocky hill stood between us and the view I had trekked so far to see.
As I stood at the bottom of the hill, I burst out laughing. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to continue, that I was going to climb to the top of that hill because I had come too damn far to NOT finish. BUT looking up at the path in front of me, as the sun shone brightly overhead- I finally realized that my vision was completely messed up (blurry and cloudy) and I knew that the exertion from climbing up this last stretch would ensure that it would be even worse once I made it up there. As I began my slow climb to the top, I pointed this out to Shawn – that although I was going to make it up to the top to see the view – the simple fact is that I wouldn’t be able to see anything but a fuzzy sense of what lay below our spot on the top of the world.
Talk about a buzz kill! As we stood at the top of the mountain, and Shawn commented on the beauty of all that can be seen from such heights the only thing I had to say was “fuck you!’ But he got it. He understood my need to make it to the top, he understood why I was laughing and he laughed along with me. I found myself a comfy seat on a rock as he checked out the view and took many pictures so I could at least see what it looked like once I got back home and had rested enough to have my vision return to normal. As I sat soaking up the sunshine and listening to the beautiful silence that comes with being in the middle of nowhere I realized that it really didn’t matter if I could see the view – what matters is that I made it to the top!
In the past year, as I have used cannabis as my medicine I have been able to return to doing a number of activities that I hadn’t done in years because of my MS. It has not only provided me with relief from the pain but it has given me the confidence to get back out there and TRY things. But after this most recent flare up, I spent weeks on the couch, feeling as if I would never actually accomplish anything, ever again. Yet here I am, on top of the world! The fact that I made it to the summit, that I achieved my goal is what I should be celebrating rather than focusing on what I can’t do – which at the moment is actually SEE where I ended up!
Just before we gathered up the dogs to start our descent, Shawn held me in a big bear hug and whispered: “I know this has gotta suck and I can’t even imagine what it is like, but thank you for sharing.”
THIS is why I want to marry this man!!!!
**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 **