Hoping for the best

“Keep in mind it might become absolutely impossible to pull up your pantyhose while hanging onto a walker. Putting on your pants will be no easy feat either. While you can start out sitting down, a point will be reached where you must get up. We recommend you hope for the best while pulling, zippering, tucking and buckling. We also recommend that you stop wearing contact lenses as the dexterity in your fingers might become compromised enough that you can’t get those delicate disks out of your eyes. Now you have a nice day and the nurse will be right in to show you how to use your injectable.” 
 
Of course this conversation never happened, but wouldn’t it be helpful at the time of diagnosis to have the "Reality of the Situation Committee" stop in and offer up some insights into what your life with MS might be like?
 
I also believe the Committee should wander by at other significant events – perhaps your wedding – just to let you know your groom considers drinking coffee while reading the paper multi-tasking. Or your baby shower to give you 10 reasons why you will never sleep for the next 20 years (give or take, depending on how the teen years go). But no one wants to hear from the Committee on happy occasions and even the Committee, while possessing great insight, does not have a crystal ball. 
 
The reality of the situation, when you receive the diagnosis of MS, is different for everybody because of the very nature of the disease. But I imagine everyone who leaves their doctor’s office with the bad news has the “What now?” moment. My moment came on a beautiful October afternoon in 1999, sitting in my car with my husband. He met me in the parking lot after the doctor told me, “You, my dear, probably have MS,” like I had won a prize. We were terrified and had more questions than anyone could answer.
 
“Now what do we do?” I asked my husband. Stricken, he looked at his watch, announced he had to return to work. I suddenly realized I had to really hustle to pick up my baby and get home to meet my first grader getting off the bus. I cried all the way home, but it was my first lesson in how life does not stop for MS. As for the Committee, they were nowhere around.
 
It has taken me 14 years to fully realize that life does not stop for MS, nor should it. MS changes my life and the lives of those around me on a daily basis. I had no idea that October day how difficult some of the changes would be. But I have also learned that with the help of my long-time close friend, PJ, I am able to hang onto a walker and pull up pantyhose. Jeans are still a problem, but I am hoping for the best. Aren’t we all?
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Susan

Susan Skoney, Blogger

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.