Life goes on; even for people with MS. We have responsibilities, commitments, and a need for fun. These things do not change simply because our life is suddenly turned upside-down by a chronic disease.
Who are you? Who do you want to be? What are your hopes and dreams? You haven’t forgotten them have you? If you have, don’t be too surprised; its easy to do just that while tending to the daily injections, the diet concerns, the multitudes of symptoms, the endless doctor visits and whatever other attention this disease demands from us.
I refuse to let this disease rob me of who I am though; I just won’t do it. Sure, i’ll let it force some modifications of my life, I’ll choose to do that, to make it easier for me to do the things I want to do, but I won’t let it define me.
I was very active in the years prior to having MS. I spent time doing things like solo survival trips in the mountains, riding a mountain bike down a brutal trail, horse back riding, starting colts under saddle (I cringe when I remember all of the times I hit the dirt hard), gardening, baking, traveling. I felt so frustrated as those things that I loved became increasingly more difficult to do.
This year I made modifications to my life. I sent the horses to someone else to train. That was hard to do. And when they came back, they came back different than they would if I trained them myself. That was hard to accept. But guess what? I still have my horses. That dream’s stayed with me my whole life from the time I was small. I can’t navigate a mountain bike trail these days, but I do ride my training bike, with the toe straps to keep the feet firmly in place when I feel I can. I’ve taken up photography (when the tremors aren’t too bad), scroll saw art, and I volunteer with the Red Cross.
I guess my point is, I have a full life, regardless of the Multiple Sclerosis. I still dream about the things I want to do someday too. I hope to travel more. I’ve been to Italy (Venice, Florence, Rome and the Tuscan Country side), Mexico, Canada and all over the US. I want to see Spain, Australia, South Africa, India, South America, Japan and China. I suppose my biggest dream right now is to get a new chevy pick up truck. I’ve always wanted one. I also would like to pay off the farm so that I know, no matter what, it will always be home. I want to do those last two things before I have to give up working. I don’t know if it will ever happen but I do dream about it.
Don’t forget who you are. Don’t stop doing the things you love. Dare to dream big. You know your limits, but don’t let anyone else tell you, you can’t do something. Try to find a way to make it happen, with modifications if you must, but live your life.