Thursday, 2 June 2011

Breaking Bad(ness)

Ok. My first blog was pretty full-on, wasn't it? It's hard to be up-beat about my MS diagnosis, but it's not all bad.  I guess. It's hard, but not impossible. There have certainly been good things to come out of my experiences with MS. I guess you could say 'by-products" of MS. I don't take things for granted anymore. Ok, I still take refrigerated goods for granted, but the big stuff? No way. My family, my partner, my friends, my ability to make a living, my ability to see and walk. These are but a few things I give thanks for every single day. I'm not religious in any sense but I know now more than ever that I am lucky to have what I have and know what I know. That's not to say I didn't appreciate what I had before my diagnosis. But with the gift of perspective now I know that I shouldn't delay that phone call to my mum, or skip lunch with a friend to finish this work report that can wait. And I no longer slave after hours at work when I am feeling too tired to go on - my health is more important than that. If I want to sleep in, I sleep in!

It seems silly to me that this is stuff we should already know, yet for the last couple of years this is what I did routinely. I was avoiding personal issues by burying myself in work and thought that promotion and recognition at work was all I needed to feel fulfilled. What a joke! In the 12 months leading up to my diagnosis my health went really downhill. I caught every bug in the air, was exhausted all the time, I stopped running regularly and packed on the weight. And the one thing that made me feel worthwhile (work) became so unappealing to me that most days I struggled to get out of bed (it didn't help that my boss at the time was a complete nutter!). I felt I had nothing to give anyone. I got weird infections and had to have emergency surgery to remove a painful abcess. Things were just utterly shit. My wonderful network of friends and family, my beautiful man and even my precious little dog couldn't help me out of this funk. Then to cap off an already rough year, the floods and MS came along. Woahhh! My head was exploding. WTF?!

The interesting thing I learned about myself after all of this is that I am remarkably resilient. I doubt that I would be in this frame of mind without the incredible support afforded to me, but I do know my threshold for badness is much higher than I thought possible. I always thought I was a bit of a soft-touch, or a wuss. I am actually a tough, strong and smart (if not slow to learn!) woman.

When the doctor told me to 'live my life' and 'enjoy every moment and stop to smell the roses' I could have head-butted him for being so cliched and condescending. I thought 'How the hell would you know?! Don't say stuff like that because it's bullshit.' I didn't want to hear it because it was scary and I knew it was true. It's hard to hear it from people you (rightly or wrongly) assume have a perfect life. But, as cliched as it sounds, I think it should be everyone's credo.

For me, life is now a double-edged blade. While there is beauty and wonder, there is badness and ugliness. But I have realised that without the badness and ugliness you have no idea just how much beauty and wonder there is on your life. If I sound like some crazy zen hippy then too bad. Because for me it is true. While I wish like hell I didn't have MS, I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me. I am, in fact, one lucky lady.

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