I think we all can relate to this one, because if you are over the age of 30, you most likely have something physically wrong with your body. So this is about taking that issue for what it is, and letting go of the excuses. Because, if you are like me, and I’m sure some of you are, you, at some point, either to yourself or others, blame some problems in your life on that medical issue. But is it really that, or is it just an excuse? I’m going to look at the excuses in my life…
(This first paragraph is going to be pretty boring, but I’m building a solid base for more entertainment to follow, so don’t give up!)
I have gotten pretty accustomed to blaming most of my problems on MS. But before I go into that, I’m going to give you a mini lesson on Multiple Sclerosis. Basically, doctors think a person’s immune system attacks the myelin, or protective coating, of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This leaves scars, or lesions, making it difficult or impossible for those nerves to send the correct signals. Most people with MS have lesions in their brain, or brain and spinal cord, but mine are only in my spinal cord. That’s why you may know people with MS who seem symptom free. Think about how big your brain is and how much of it we don’t use. Then think of your thin spinal cord. A mark on your brain may be (depending on where, obviously) less noticeable than a mark on your spine. Therefore, my symptoms are more similar to someone with a spinal cord injury than someone with MS. My obvious symptoms are absolutely a result of the disease. I’ve gone over them before, but I’ll list them now so we are clear: burning skin, the weakness in my hands and legs, pins and needles, and heat sensitivity and the occasional flare up that causes more serious problems.
Now I will get on with it and take this time to go over the other things I like to blame on MS.
- My inability to lose my pregnancy weight.
I have convinced myself that the only reason I can’t lose this weight is because I am cursed with this dang disease!!! I mean, I can’t do any cardio, and, on TOP of that, the medication I take CLEARLY warns, “May cause weight gain.” So, obviously; not my fault. It’s the MS. But, there is one other factor I may be ignoring, and today when I polished off half a bag of those dang addictive cookies chips from Target, I decided that yes, I may be eating for a family of four. Sometimes. Only when it involves cookie chips. Or chocolate covered pretzel sticks. Or any other sweet I can cram in my mouth and try to chew and swallow before my kid sees me.
- My fatigue.
Yes! Fatigue. People with MS say their fatigue is their number ONE debilitating symptom. When I first read this fact, I (judgingly) thought, “What the heck, I WISH that was my most seriously problem, I mean, I have MS fatigue and that is def not the worst part.” But, I think they are talking about serious, can NOT get out of bed fatigue. Well, let me take you back to the brain and the spinal cord. My MS is different. Ok, so, maybe I don’t have that kind of fatigue. If you ask my friends, they will tell you that I’ve never been a stay out all night kinda person. I need my solid 8 hours, and I’ve needed it since I was healthy as a horse, not sick as a dog (A.N). So, add a few years, a few pounds, a four year old, dealing with pain most days, and a four month old baby to the mix and maybe, just maybe, I’m just normal person tired.
- My memory.
This one is easy. I can’t remember anything. That’s why I keep my best friends from high school, college, and mom life around; so they can tell me about my life when I forget. It’s not my fault I bounced that check or forgot to pay that bill! The MS is eating my brain and destroying my memory!!! Only, it’s not. Eating. My. Brain. Oops.
- Sorry, I don’t feel good, I have to leave early.
The past two years, my MS has been the reason I have left every event I have attended. But the other day, that changed, I was at a mom’s night, and I told my friend I was leaving. She asked if I felt bad. I said no. So then she said I had to stay. Errrr,ahhhh,huhhh? What? Ok. So, that night, I really did stay, and I am glad I did. However, I have always been an earlier turner inner than most of my friends. Movie night in college, anyone? Single Friday nights watching Suzie Orman? Sweet! Now, I’m not saying I never went out and partied, but I am not, nor have I ever have been, the kind of person that needs or wants to be around people all the time. Now I’m warning you friends, sometimes, I still may leave early and hopefully, more often than not, it won’t be the MS.
So, in conclusion, sometimes excuses are okay, because sometimes it is the truth. I had to hang out in the cold bathroom at the restaurant last night while my friends finished eating because I couldn’t hang on to my chopsticks. But I think we will all be a lot happier, and maybe a lot more compassionate if we realize that we aren’t perfect, and we don’t always have to find something to blame. We don’t always have to have an excuse for everything. I’m a mom now, and my kids sucked out half my brains on the way out (hum, excuse), so I’m sure I would be paying bills late and dropping dishes on the floor without this dang disease. Ok, let me try again. We are all different. We all have different personalities, and we all experience our aches and pains differently. So, it’s okay if I want to leave early. It’s okay if I have to call up my friend to remind me why I quit my first job. It’s also okay if I want to cram my face with sweets. And it’s okay if I want to rest. Because I don’t need an excuse to do any of those things, and neither do you.