“Human beings can get used to virtually anything, given plenty of time and no choice in the matter whatsoever.”
― Tom Holt, Open Sesame
What is one of the main constants with MS? Change. Each day, a person with MS wakes up wondering what their body will be up to that day.
But frankly, isn’t that a constant in life in general? Change. The only constant is change. Life is always changing. How we cope with that is key to the difference between surviving versus thriving.
So can one thrive with the constant unknown changes that are thrown at us by MS? I say yes, yes, YES! Is it easy? Nope, nope, nope. I will say it again…NOPE!!
I haven’t been blogging on this site much lately – mainly because I have been adapting and coping with multiple changes in my life, from big family changes to surprising and unexpected changes in my health.
So what’s been happening, you ask? The years of 2015-16 saw everything from births, more family medical crises, to moves, graduations, and deaths. In addition, my scenario changed dramatically and unexpectedly this year in terms of my own health. Since moving from Nova Scotia to Ontario, I have now been further diagnosed with multiple and surprising “complications due to MS”, and diagnosed with new things that were waved off as MS by my former doctors in NS, but new doctors with fresh eyes in Ontario have noted as not due to MS at all.
For example, I am now finding out that much of my back pain, and the resulting increasing disability, is due most likely an undiagnosed injury to vertebrae from my car accident years back. In addition, due to side effects from the medications that I must be on for other MS complications, this injury has also been exacerbated and complicated by loss of bone density. The word “surgery” has been bandied about by my doctors for a couple of complications now.
So what does this all mean? Well apart from the fact that I have been overwhelmed by all this new information, my scientific side is getting a much clearer understanding of why my pain has been increasing despite my exercising regime and lifestyle management of my symptoms. It explains why my mobility has been impacted and keeps getting further impacted.
It means that I am understanding that aging with MS is also…well, complicated. Things like loss of bone density are more of an issue for those of us with MS, as can be many other signs of aging that we take for granted, but are impacted more significantly by MS. Menopause… well, don’t even get me started! Trying to figure out if your MS symptoms are being exacerbated by menopause or vice versa is a constant coin toss.
So – what can I do about it? Well, for one thing, I can apply my skills as a change manager to adapt. I need to stay aware of what is going on in my body and what the symptoms I am experiencing are telling me. I need to stoke my desire to change what needs changing (being diet, exercise, routine..whatever). I need to seek the knowledge of how to make that change, and I need to figure out how to be able to sustain that change. Is that easy? Again…Nope. It takes time and patience, and the willingness to understand that it takes time and patience. It take being gentle with yourself – and that is much harder than it would seem! It takes willingness to always seek a bright side – no matter how small.
No matter how many times you get knocked down, always get back up again. OK…I’m up. I’m up!
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” ~ Carol Burnett