Friday, January 23, 2015

What's Hard?

Tough question, right?

What's hard for you?

Your answer and mine might seem worlds apart.  I'm guessing, however, that there is more in common than differs.  I think if each of us would take the time to truly reflect on this question, then gather and share (be it in person, or online), what we would find is that the specific details may differ from person to person (and MS course to MS course) but that the deeper struggles are quite similar.

Let's be totally honest - this disease is a real kick in the pants.  It robs us of much we once took for granted.  It's quite a blow to absorb!  Add to that the transient nature of the disease with its good and not-so-good periods and the ever-changing challenges, and it is enough to push the confidence right over the brink.

For me, standing up to my fears is about meeting them as head on as possible.  I can't feel my left leg from just above the knee down through the toes.  My balance is terrible.  So, what do I do?  I try to run.  It's not always pretty and the results include falls, bumps, and bruises.  But the bigger picture results are strength and resilience and the emotional confidence to continue.  I slur my speech when I talk for a long period of time.  So, I coach and teach where I must speak in public for lots of hours.  I expose myself and push through as best I can.

What's hard?  I'll tell you what's hard for me - it's the talking about all of this.  I RARELY ever tell anyone that I have this disease, and I almost never tell anyone about the struggles.  It's a giant locked box.  For better or for worse, that's what's hard for me!  Maybe this blog is an attempt to blow out of that box and share some of what I've fought with and what I've learned.  Maybe the conversation would be cathartic for us all.

There's no pity party here - no feeling sorry for myself, but what there can be is genuine empathy and sympathy that helps us deal with loss and move on through it as a community.  Whether you have MS or love someone who struggles, I invite you to share your losses and triumphs so we can find from each other help in building the strength to answer and battle "What's Hard?"

And then move forward.

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