Monday, April 9, 2012

Choosing joy over sadness :)

Over the years, I've learned to not feel jealousy when people I know are able to do things I can no longer participate in, but rather be joyful for all they can enjoy.  In many ways, I live vicariously through their travels and accomplishments, even though they are not my own.  It was not an easy transition and I am not even sure when it happened, but it has brought me peace and acceptance in my circumstances and allowed me to live each day without regret from that moment forward.
The funny thing about me is that I was more of a negative, pessimistic sort of person until I chose to change my outlook on life.  It was a very deliberate change of attitude which was not easy in the least, but I am very pleased that I did not give up on myself when the journey became difficult.  I never could have imagined the beauty of life which would unfold before me with this change in thinking.. but it did!  It's not that I used to feel the world revolved around me, but when I felt negative or depressed all the time, without realizing it I twisted things around to make everything to be about how it was all about how it was hurting me.  I think many of us who suffer from depression do this, even though we feel no one cares.  The human mind is a very interesting thing indeed!  But I don't want to talk about sadness today.  We all need to choose our own paths and happiness can be a choice, if you want it bad enough.

Facebook has become a place where I spend many hours each day and it brings me joy when I see how many of my nieces and nephews revel in sharing photographs of their young children in their every day activities.  To see the sweet smiles brings tears to my eyes and I can only hope that one day, we will have the opportunity to meet so I can hold them in my arms and give them the kisses I am bursting to put upon their soft, robust cheeks.

Once upon a time it would cause me terrible heartache to see a woman holding her baby, knowing such a beautiful child could never be mine.  Life has a way of taking away such pain and making certain decisions quite easy to make.  I had already dealt with the fact that I was "reproductively challenged" years ago, yet when I hit my mid 30's I suddenly began to have a regular menstrual cycle for the first time in my life, meaning I could probably become pregnant.  What?  Now I could get pregnant?  But I was single and not in a relationship!  I was a grown woman who dated from time to time and still enjoyed sex and took the necessary precautions to avoid pregnancy, but I was frightened at the thought of bringing a child into the world in my condition.  As I came closer to nearing age 40, the answer was very clear to me.  I opted for elective sterilization, but had it done using a new procedure called Essure, where the doctor (my gynecologist) put two soft inserts (which she described as "coils" resembling those found in a pen) into my Fallopian tubes.  This procedure is non-surgical, as these inserts go through the vagina and cervix, into the Fallopian tubes and only taken 10 minutes!  Over the next three months, your body works with the Essure inserts to form a natural barrier within your Fallopian tubes.  These inserts prevent sperm from reaching the eggs so that pregnancy cannot occur.  You still need to use birth control during these three months and until you are tested to make sure the Essure is verified as permanent through a simple test.  Seriously, it's that easy and I can't believe I just typed all that out.. I feel so medical! lol
I've been asked a few times why I chose elective sterilization and my answer is really very simple.  I did it out of love for my unborn children.  First, I have MS and if there is even the slightest danger of passing on the multiple sclerosis gene to my baby, I won't do it.  Second, I was almost 40 and it is not the safest decision for a woman to have her first child after age 35.  Third, what if I had a child and my MS kicked in after his/her birth and I could not take care of my own child?  I'm fully aware that MS tends to become dormant during pregnancy and then, on many occasions, tends to go into full swing afterwards.  My legs and hands/arms are already very affected and it would kill me to not be able to mother my own baby.  And what if the MS never returned to where it is now but I remained horribly crippled?  There were just too many "what ifs," with the most important one being passing on the MS to the person I would love the most in my life, so it was the easiest decision I ever made.

I choose to take responsibility for my accomplishments, joys, failures and sorrows.  They are all a part of who I am and have all shaped me in some sort of way.  The last man I dated, who remains a good friend, told me something that touched my heart and it is something I will never forget.  He said to me that he hates that I have MS.  He hates seeing the look on my face when I feel the pain the MS causes me.  He hates knowing how much the MS has hurt me over the years.  But he cannot hate my MS because he loves me and my MS is a part of who I am.. so how can he hate something that has helped shape me into who I have become?

Just as a bully will try to break us down, MS will do all it can to do the same. It will learn your weaknesses and use them against you any chance it has.  Sometimes, I feel MS has a personality all its own but I shouldn't give it so much credit.  It's simply a horrible disease which lives inside of me.  With or without multiple sclerosis, my life will shine because I refuse to accept anything less than this for myself.  It won't shine as I had foreseen in my youth, but it will be wonderful in different ways than I could have imagined.  Who would have thought the loves of my life would be three little four-legged girls who cannot get enough of my hugs and kisses?  I sure didn't, but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

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