Since I was diagnosed with MS, I’ve noticed that I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I question myself constantly:
- Would anyone have tripped and fallen there? (That oldie-but-goodie!)
- Could [insert every possible health condition here] be a new MS symptom?
- Am I having a flare-up of an old symptom?
- Is this symptom a sign that I am going to get sick in the next day or two?
- Do I have an infection I don’t even know about yet?
Those paranoid questions lead to other questions, which fill my brain all the time. Here are some of today’s:
- Am I always going to be this tired?
- Should I take the fatigue medication (usually a stimulant) and trade the fatigue for some really unwanted side effects?
- Will I ever be able to work consistently without having to take so many days off?
- Will I ever stop feeling guilty about calling in sick? It’s not like I’m doing anything but lying in bed, but will I always feel that I’m not living up to work expectations?
- Will this disease progress? If so, how quickly?
- Are my cognitive skills declining due to brain lesions, or am I just getting old?
- Is going out on Social Security Disability in my future? How do you even get it?
- Am I going to need a walker?
- Should I move to a one-story house?
- Will Quinland get MS? (There is a possible genetic component.)
And so it goes. The real question is, why am I sitting here worrying about all this when there is so much good in my life? Am I a bad or ungrateful person? Couldn’t I put my brainpower to better use?
Yes, I could definitely find better things to think about. But the darn questions about MS are so insidious because the causes and effects of the disease, the symptoms and the treatments, are all so uncertain.
It really makes you wonder.
“paranoia” by Emily Cline / CC BY
There is a famous quote that seems appropriate today:
There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
— Zora Neale Hurston
For me, 2015 was a year that asked questions. I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering about the state of my health. Why have I been spending so much time in bed? Why have I missed or avoided so many social engagements (and not hosted many of my own)? As a worried David asked me a month or so ago, was I getting sicker? Was I depressed? Or had I just given up on life?
Whatever the cause of my lethargy, are there ways to boost my energy level? If not – and if my energy is so limited – am I using it in the best possible way? Why have I spent so much time sleeping or reading instead of enjoying time with my family? (For that matter, why can I not seem to sleep without taking my phone – ie, my Kindle – to bed with me?)
At the most basic level, what kind of life do I really want to live? In what kind of environment do I want to live it? With whom do I want to share it? What could I accomplish, if I figured out how best to do it and really put my mind to it?
I’m trying to look at all my questions with curiosity, not reproach. (Just in case I am depressed, there’s no point in beating myself up for everything I have failed at over the last year!) But I want 2016 to be a year of answers, a year that shows me who I can be and what I can do.
I mean, it is the year of the big 5-0. The year my only child turns 18. The year I will run my first mile (in April) and my first 5K (in November). I might as well make it a year of exciting self-discovery as well!
“3/366: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston ~” by theunquietlibrarian/ CC BY