When I look back on the last 22 years, I try not to remember the young girl I was when I first learned I would have to live with this disease, but rather on how far I have come. Nothing in my life has turned out the way I would have imagined but there are many things I wouldn't want any other way.
I am convinced that I would not have married when I did, had it not been for MS. Yes, he was the wrong choice for reasons which are too numerous to count, but through that experience, I found I am much stronger than I could have imagined, I learned what NOT to look for in a man and absolutely most important, my three wonderful little girls came into my life. For that last reason alone, I would marry that loser all over again as my life is wonderful and full of love because of my cats.
Sometimes, I ask myself if I would "take back" the MS if I could. The truth is that at this point in my life, I don't believe I would. The MS is a part of who I am and I no longer deny this fact. I could live without the pain it causes but aside from that, MS has taught me patience, which is not one of my virtues, and how to stand on my own two feet, despite the many obstacles disability has thrown at me. Am I saying I love my life just as it is? Hmm, no, not exactly but I can't imagine it being any other way. I do not, however, consider MS a gift. Gifts tend to make us smile or squeal with glee, not burst in tears out of sheer devastation as our lives fall apart around us. No, MS is hardly a gift. MS is a day-by-day learning experience which, those of us who are so unfortunate to have, have no choice but to learn to make room for in our lives.
I have been so utterly distracted from my own pain lately, as I've been focused on Emmi Sue, that Monday's date almost went by unnoticed. Wednesday, as I was marking the day off on the calendar and looking ahead to next week's appointments, I saw the date glaring at me. When I see November 12, I automatically say to myself, 1990... the year of my diagnosis. It's just an automatic thing to say, either in my mind or out loud. It was a day when my entire life changed, though I didn't know how much it would be affected at the time. Had I known I would still be ambulatory, 22 years later, so much stress, depression, anxiety and heartache could have been spared from that young girl, but that is one of the worst parts of MS. No one can tell us the path our MS will take, no matter how brilliant our neurologist may be. We simply need to live and learn.