Living Joyfully With A Chronic Condition
(Multiple Sclerosis, Other Chronic Diseases)
It is my hope that this part of my site can serve to be a source of encouragement, as well as, news in regard new treatments and therapies that may be helping those with Autoimmune Diseases. I was diagnosed back in 2001 with Multiple Sclerosis, however, I and my Doctor believe I suffered symptoms far longer, possibly as early as my early teen years. Since my MS diagnosis I was subsequently diagnosed with an Autoimmune Thyroid (or Hashimoto's Disease) and a few years later with Lupus. Once you have one autoimmune it is far easier to add others to the list. I joke and say 'it wasn't enough to have 1, we thought I should go for 3!
In all seriousness, however, I know that if you are just reading this after being diagnosed it can be a very overwhelming time. My first year, after diagnosis, was a mess! I seemed to be on IV Steroids every month or other month. Add in the fact that we moved and I had to leave my best friend - who by the way happens to be a nurse made it a very trying first year of 'living joyfully with MS!
I can tell you now though, several years in, it is much less traumatic. I'm not saying I don't still have symptoms, as I still loose abilities - slowly - without realizing it until I go to do something then I suddenly realize that I am unable. Something as simple as reaching a bowl up in a cabinet, and I go to get it down, but I cannot stay balanced on the tip toes of my foot any longer (even holding on to the counter). Little things like this, that I once took for granted, prove to be frustrating.
Most days, however, I tend to keep a positive attitude, mostly because I was kind of born this way, with a positive outlook that is. But also because I always feel 'it could be worse,' and it usually is for someone. And the other reason I can be positive is that I want to always remain thankful for what I have, my blessings. Those blessings include my family, friends and even colleagues and clients. I say I 'want' to because it is a choice daily, often even minute by minute. We have to CHOOSE to remain positive in the midst of chaos, strife and pain (and some days are really painful). Yet, I choose to be thankful for so many things - mostly people - in my life. I'm grateful to be able to work from home and to have a business (actually 2 businesses & 1 partnership) with this disabled body of mine. I never thought I would be able to work again after my diagnosis. Yet, years later, God laid a business in my lap. So there are always things and people in our lives to be thankful for every day.
Of course there are days that are bad and some years are better than others, but you do get used to the 'new normal' (my family and coined this phrase years ago after going through several MS flairs with me) and you can begin to live again. Albeit a new way, adjusted, way of life - a new normal - but it is possible. There is a grieving period because you begin to consider all you 'think' you will not be able to do or about things you think you will not be able to do with your children and grandchildren. Give yourself time in the process and find a good friend or someone you can really open up to and talk. The worst thing to do is hold it in when all of these body changes are happening as well as the brain demylenting - make time to talk to someone.