Sunday, March 31, 2019

Kicking MS Awareness Month Directly In The Face - a short novel

March is typically a challenging month for me, healthfully speaking. It also happens to be MS Awareness Month.  Coincidence? I think not.

Listen, I don't like March. First of all, there are too many days in it. The weather is stupid. I've had to drag myself through it, sometimes literally, for the past 18yrs. And I'm just putting this out there, but I don't like "MS Awareness Month". I mean, I get the whole premise behind it, know why it's necessary and am grateful...I just don't like it. I don't want people to see the ads, promotions and events and be that thing they think of. I'd rather my friends think of me when they drive past Dunkin' Donuts, or when they see a beautiful sunrise on account of how much I love to watch those, or when our football/hockey teams win because they know I love me some sports, or when they think of someone who gets a little too crazy in the ocean (hand raised), or when they hear something stupidly funny. Ya know, something that makes them smile.

Not an illness...

On this last day of my 19th March with ms (purposeful use of lower case letters since it deserves to be small), I'm feeling like I have had quite possibly *the* best month I can remember. 

(people all, "Poor thing...she has cog fog to such a degree that she thinks this was her best month.")

Ok, ok. So I *did* have a little cog fog this month, but getting lost a time or three ain't so bad. Plus, they have apps for that ;)

Did I suddenly master the art of not thinking about or anticipating what ms might bring, particularly in its month to shine? Nope. In fact, I spent more time reflecting. The empty nest, a lengthy commute and workday cubicle confinement come together like a bombogenesis of isolation where I must actively wrestle with, choose and compartmentalize my thoughts.


Can we all take a moment to appreciate that bombogenesis fits into a blog post?

:::seriously, let's take that moment:::

Perhaps the most pressing thought within the aforementioned mental weather event was how I trained for and participated in the MS Challenge Walk circa 2013. And how I'm better in some regards now than I was then, but did not feel as if I could do anything remotely similar present day.

And that made me sad.

But! A friend invited me to travel with her and watch her child play in a tournament. I not only love my friend and her family...I love me some sports!

That made me happy! So.happy. No time for sad. reminded me that my right eye is still having its tantrum and I can't do my work and read stuff without my special glasses. Try as I may to tell myself that my glasses were spiffy and not stupid...

That made me sad.

But! My kids were coming home for spring break and we were going on vacation! (insert scream!) And I had made it to the gym more days than not in that given week! And I wasn't dizzy on the elliptical for the first time in months!

That all made me happy! So.happy. No time for sad. said, "You might think you're a bad ass, but you're not 2013 MS Challenge Walk bad ass..."  Ugh. THAT again. Insert voice of mockery "you're not 2013 bad're 2019 isolated, blurry eyed, can't walk nearly that far and..." /Shut up, please and thank you.

I did my best to give every not happy, anxious thought to God. Even on the coldest of nights, I wrapped up in my warmest blanket, stood out on the deck and stared up at the sky in quiet awe of that view, whether it was cloudy or bright with countless stars. I gave thanks for every and any good thing that crossed my mind in that time. I asked for nothing. Just thanked. And shivered. Not kidding about how stupid March weather is.

So, if you're still reading...the grand finale, aka face kick to ms and its special month, came yesterday.  Fitting, right?

I met a friend for breakfast and as we wrapped up, she asked if I'd be interested in taking a walk with her afterwards. I had a super busy day of absolutely nothing, but figured I'd set some time aside and take her up on it. She then mentioned it might be about 2 to 3 miles and asked if I'd be alright with that...

immediately, my mouth: "Yes!"

my heart: "OMG this really IS the best month ever because we're going to spend even MORE time with our friend! And we can show the world that we can be a friend who can do more than just eat! Quick! Fill with love! Fill with ALL the love!"

my mind: "Um? The 'world'? Grandiose, much? We haven't walked that distance since we were...wait for for the 2013 MS Challenge Walk (insert dramatic music). In case you've forgotten, that's the thing we've had over our head all month. What in the fresh hell are you doing?"

also my mind: "We can do it!"

again my mind: "NO WE CAN'T!"

furthermore my mind: "WE. ARE. DOING. THIS."

my bladder: "Oh hey, I'm just gonna keep some of this stuff I've got with me. In case we need it, ok?"

my feet: "Hey, we don't have our 'do things' sneakers on..."

my mind: "See? Bladder is being an ass. Feet are diva level. I told you we can't do it. You're stupid."

also my mind: "Get over ourselves. We are definitely doing this."

We stopped back at my friend's house where bladder and I had come to a partial agreement, then hopped in the car and left for the trail. As we were driving, we came to the entrance of...are you *kidding* me...the very park where the MS Challenge Walk was held.

my mind: "This is going to go just like it did then, which was not so good on account of your multiple restroom stops and eventual need to be driven to the end in a golf cart. And you can't even do what you were able to do then, which means this will be worse. This is actually the trail and not the park, so no restrooms and zero golf carts to pick you up. You're going to do and/or say something embarrassing. Did I happen to mention that you're stupid?"

Getting a ride to the 'almost' finish line in 2013, because I felt it was better to stumble across the finish line than ride. I may be more than a little stupid.

also my mind: "We're with our friend. Everything is right with the world. It's going to be"

And it truly was 💖

3.73 miles of so much fun, in fact. But, I rounded up to 5 miles when I told my husband how far I walked. Him and his fish. Me and my walk...

It's amazing what great company and conversation can do for my heart and mind. Though I may have woken up with soreness and terrible blisters on my feet (in all fairness, feet did try to warn me), I also woke up with a full heart and renewed spirit. Yesterday, I didn't feel like the friend with ms in MS Awareness Month. I was the friend you could walk with. And I didn't pee didn't get awkward or anything, which means I might get invited again.

2019 me would like to take a moment to trash talk the shade ms throws my way and reflect on the fact that 2013 me really didn't have it better.

"if lost, return to address on back..."

2013 me: Had to walk with a lanyard around my neck that listed my demographics in the event of medical emergency, about 10lbs of clothing layers on to combat the then 27 degrees, and a giant walking stick to keep me from falling into oncoming traffic.

2013 me with clothes of many layers

The stick I found on the course...

...and the part of the course it helped keep me alive through.

2019 me: Had my friend and a bottle of water.

2019 me for the win.

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