I had my follow up appointment with my neurologist last week.
We wen through the normal tests that we do, chatting up a storm, catching up on everything that is going on in my life, the trips my husband and I have been on, etc. While it was lovely to see my doctor again, at the back of my head was the niggling worry. I wasn’t sure that I would want to hear what she would have to say.
Eventually, she opened up the photos of my last MRI and my new MRI and put them side by side. There were three new lesions. They were small, like three white islands in a sky of grey clouds. Looking at them, my stomach dropped a little. She explained that the lesions may have been there before, that the MRI technology was a lot better than three years ago when I last had one.
I heard her but her words hit a barrier of numbness. I went through the motions and nodded in all the right places. She explained about a new medication and that it was a pill, so I wouldn’t have to take a daily injection; that the pill wouldn’t just prevent relapses, it would also stop the progression of the multiple sclerosis.
I took a day off work the next day and had bloodwork done in preparation for the new medication. I was still kind of numb. As much as I knew that this new medication was probably a positive thing, it was also angry.
I was angry at my body. I was angry at myself, at the world, at everything and everyone. As the nurse inserted the needle, I imagined that the blood she was taking from me also took my anger from me, that it was a cleansing of sorts. I was numb, I was saddened and I was so angry.
I’ve changed my diet three times, I’ve quit smoking. I’ve kept up an exercise routine, three times a week since 2014. I even swim two to three times a week and go for two 1.5KM walks a day, all in the effort to keep and stay mobile.
I’ve done everything I can think of to beat the MS. I even look at it as a gift in a way. I am thankful for it as it taught me what really matters in life. I’m grateful for what the MS has shown me about myself and what I am truly capable of.
I had done everything…and still, it tried to best me.
So, yes, I was angry. I looked at those three small island on that MRI x-ray and pictured them melting into the clouds.
I posted to Facebook about what had happened and what was going on. Everyone’s comments made me cry; they helped me to realize that I wasn’t alone in this, that there was an ocean of people in my life that cared for me. Almost every one of them told me the same thing: sparkle on.
That’s become my motto, of sorts. It’s part of my positive way of thinking. I picture the world full of sparkles and if there isn’t any, I spread them around. I had forgotten in this moment to give myself some sparkle.
I realized that, though I was angry and numb, I was also afraid. I am afraid of the disease that I carry within me and what it could do to me, should I let it, but that’s okay. From fear comes courage and I’m full to the brim with courage.
I have been living my life since 2014 by doing things one day at a time. I’ve come to realize I’ve been doing it wrong. It’s not every day that counts, but every moment. Every day is filled with an ocean of moments, and I have but to cherish all of them.
Mostly, through all of this, I had forgotten my super power: my ability to sparkle brightly, no matter what was happening in my life.
On that day when I had the bloodwork done, I didn’t sit back down at the computer. I tried to heal myself in a different way. I went to my easel instead. I painted for the first time in over a year and it just came out of me. I called it Spirit Fire. I think it’s very telling that I painted fire first, almost as if I wanted to burn away the sadness that I was carrying within me.
More than that, it’s the fire of my spirit and it burns as brightly as I do. I will survive this as I always have. I will burn brightly and sparkle from this moment and the next.
I will burn brightly.