Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's Been ALL Uphill...

     Just when I "thought" everything was in place for me to return to work tomorrow on a "light duty" status, I was broad-sided today by my employer...since far too many people are getting sued for the content in their blogs, suffice it to say shots were fired, but I ultimately "won". I'm STILL heading back into my office on Friday!

     What I CAN feel safe (and comfortable) in writing about on BRAINCHEESE is my belief how absolutely ignorant the world at large is about Multiple Sclerosis.  It does not seem to be enough to have to LIVE with MS and its plethora of symptoms on a daily basis...those of us DIAGNOSED with the disease must also suffer the consequences of a society full of people who lack a basic understanding of not only MS, but how difficult it is to live with what is termed a "hidden illness".

     Now, I have to say currently, my MS is no longer "hidden"...it's pretty front and center and affecting most of my daily living/daily activities.  I've got a cane and a limp...I look rather "drunk" sometimes when I walk...can't and don't look above my head or to the right or I appear rather green around the gills and COULD possibly throw up on you!

     But if I were sitting quietly with you directly in front of me, you would not know I have multiple lesions in my brain and a large lesion in my spine...you would not know I have Multiple Sclerosis...and frankly, you probably wouldn't care.  You'd have no idea what my struggles are or what I endure on a daily basis.  There are no outward scars, casts, bones, radiation burns, deformities, etc.  Unless I told you, NO ONE would ever know I have MS.

     If there is one thing my MS has taught me, it is TOLERANCE...and I'm not referring to tolerating my MS here!  I'm talking about tolerance for OTHERS and the many struggles and things about other people that may not be obvious to my eyes.  I find myself now (post diagnosis) viewing others with more compassionate eyes...I find myself not "judging a book by its cover" as much as I used to...I find myself trying to understand the "hidden disorder" in all of us, whether it be someone who is angrily yelling for no apparent reason or someone who cuts me off in traffic deliberately.  I find myself wondering what motivates each of us to do or behave the way we do...and if I can, I try to apply compassion to the situation.

     We ALL have our own story, our own reasons, our own rationales for why we do the things we do...whether this is the result of a hidden or obvious illness or just the result of our past experiences.  And I'm not offering these "reasons or past experiences" as excuses for BAD behavior, but I AM saying there's always a motive.

     My motive today was to return to work and to return to work with my MS not so hidden.  This is not the "norm" for how I would return to work...I believe my current situation and status could be very uncomfortable to those around me.  How I present today forces others to really look at my MS and maybe even to view me a bit differently...it may strike chords of vulnerability, sadness, or even anger in some. 

     I cannot predict or know exactly how others will react to my current situation.  But what I can predict and control is MY reaction to them.  I can "fight" for what is fair and just when I need to and I can also "educate" those who are truly motivated to learn and understand.

     What seems to be the hardest lesson for me to master is fighting with compassion!  I kind of lost the "compassion" element in my battles today (LOL)...but maybe...just maybe in my fight, I have managed to pave a road that will be much smoother for the next person with MS to travel upon.  Maybe...just maybe...if nothing else, "someone" has learned just because I have MS, it does not mean I will lay down without a fight! 

3 comments:

hagartyjj said...

What a wonderful post!  It has been a while since I have posted anything...not for lack of words, or lack of reading (I have been here all along)....more for lack of spirit.  Thank you for your spirit and your fight.  As much as all of us want to fight, sometimes it can be hard...you are such an inspiration!  I am glad to hear you are back at work, even if you have had to fight your way there.  Keep it up girl...kick some MS a$$!  

Take care of yourself.  

Jaime

pjorpeej said...

Best of luck today - for both you and your boss.  ;)  

I find the name MS scares people.  Either they feel we should be hidden away in some family member's back bedroom or they confuse us with one of "Jerry's Kids" and figure we're dying.  Either way, we're not supposed to insist on being a part of society... we're damaged goods and should sink quietly into the background where we won't make anyone uncomfortable.  How rude of us to insist on being a constant reminder to others that "stuff happens"!  :)

I do suspect that you're right in thinking relationships will change at work... at least for awhile.  But I'm sure you can handle it with dignity.  

Let us know how your first day went!  :)

wendy6gill said...

What an eloquent post.  I am still in the DO I HAVE MS phase and waiting on a referral to a new MD.  So much of what you write is true for me and so hard for me to accept.  Just seeing it in writing is a wake up call for me to keep fighting for an accurate diagnosis.  Thank you for writing the truth.
Wendy