She's been out selling CD's for the MSAA for the past several weeks as well as raising a rambunctious 11 year old...both tasks are no easy feat! But this is why Jaime over at http://mymsjournal.blogspot.com/ was a bit delayed in responding to "that" post...you know the one...the questions on 10/24/06 post here at "Cheese"!
If you get a chance to check out her blog at the above addy, you will also be able to read and/or even listen to some of the CD she is selling for the MSAA...profits go to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and directly benefit us Cheeseheads! (Not to be confused with anyone from Wisconsin, however.)
So, here she is...drum roll please...JAIME:
1. How old were you, where you were, what time of year was it and what were you wearing when you received the "lovely diagnosis" of Multiple Sclerosis?
It was Friday the 13th (I should have known it would not be good news when my doctor called me at work). The month was February and the year was 2004. It was around 4 pm and I had just started my shift an hour earlier. I was wearing my work uniform. I was 27 years old and knew something was coming considering the hospital was quickly becoming my second home. Between October and February I think I was at the hospital for some kind of test at least 2-3 times a week. Anyway, my neurologist at the University of Utah (I was living in Salt Lake at the time going to school full-time and managing a hotel...I so did not need one more thing on my plate) called me himself to let me know that indeed it had been confirmed that I have MS.
2. Who was the first person you told about your MS and what was their reaction?
As soon as I got off the phone with my neurologist I called my parents (living in Washington State). My parents were both supportive and said everything would be okay. This was not our first health scare to over come and honestly we were all just relieved I did not have cancer again.
3. What's your greatest fear and/or secret about your MS and what hasn't come true or manifested from your MS that you thought would happen or affect you?
I think I have gotten to the point where I don't really fear anything with my MS, but when I was first diagnosed I found this was more difficult to deal with then when I had cancer. With MS I had no control over how I would be affected by this illness. I felt like at least with cancer I was familiar enough with it to know what to expect (I had previously worked in the medical field for several years before I went back to school and for several years at an Oncology/Hematology clinic). Neurology was one specialty I was not familiar with. I knew what MS was and knew this would be something chronic that would progress and although I could take meds to help there was no guarantee they would work or that I would get better. I worried that I would not be able to support my son. All of the "What if's" ran through my mind. What I have found is that life goes on and even though we have to make changes (which at times can really suck) it is not the end of the world.
4. What's your worst symptom or the nagging thing about your MS that just won't leave you alone?
I would have to say there are two things that really bother me....the fatigue and the horrible nerve pain (pins and needles). I have many symptoms that come and go and on some level they are all bothersome but I can deal with them. I hate it when I am so tired that I can't function however. There is nothing worse than feeling like I have this and that to and my mind is able to function but the body can't keep up.
5. Who/what supports you/comforts you in your life and where do you go to find it/them/calm etc.?
My family is my biggest support. I don't think I could manage sometimes without them. My son is also a great support (although being 11 years old he is also sometimes the source of my stress, lol) and I have great friends who are always there (this includes all of my online friends.....you are all a great support!) I also have found that learning to relax and going to Church is helpful. Maintaining the thought that this is out of my control and that there is reason for all of this helps me to be okay with everything.....to know that I am being watched over and blessed is a great source of comfort.
6. And, last but not least, what do you still have on your agenda to achieve/finish/summit/climb/accomplish before retiring to that great golden Club Med in the sky? What are you wearing now as you read this?
I am not even sure where to begin. More than anything I just want to be healthy enough to watch my son grow up, graduate, get married, and have children. MS is not my only health problem and so I am hopeful that I will be around long enough to see this. I want to feel well enough to do things that I have always wanted to do but never had the courage to do, like go skydiving, white water rafting, etc. I just want to be in a place where I am at peace with what life has handed me and my family (some days this is easier to achieve than other days) so that I can live each day to the fullest. I would love to travel more. More than anything though I want to always be a good mother, daughter, sister, friend (and maybe one day wife).
As I type this I am sitting on my couch in my flannel pj's, drinking a cup of tea, and trying to get over my cold.
(Editor's note: It seems to be "catching" here in Washington, even over the mountain passes...I am also home from work ill today with what is most likely a cold/flu! I have not forgotten my promised post about The Bodies Exhibit and, if feeling better later today, I will work on it...Joyce has not forgotten this promise even if YOU have! LOL It's a comin', Harkoo!)