I’ve started this blog post a few times.
At first, it was a rundown of everything I’ve already talked about, how I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nine years ago, how I almost took my own life, how I was lost within myself and the dark forest. I stopped writing the blog post because I really wanted to think about what I actually wanted to write.
I mean, nine years is a long time to live with any disease. I didn’t want it to be a pity party, goodness knows that I’ve written a few posts like that. Instead, I was drawn to think on everything I’ve been able to accomplish in nine years, rather than focus on what the multiple sclerosis took from me. Nine years is full of so many memories, so I thought I would take a look at nine different memories and what I learned about myself. These are just ones that stand out to me.
2014: I did my first MS Walk. I trained for a few weeks, not sure if I would be able to even walk a kilometre. I would walk during my breaks and during my lunches, trying to see if I could do this. My mother and my team walked the kilometre in just under an hour. Later, I would meet a rehabilitation specialist that would give me a workout routine that would strengthen my core. I also met Michael, the man who would become my husband. He would change my life and how I viewed myself, though I didn’t know it at the time. Michael also took me to Orlando for the first time so that I could see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
2015: Michael took me to Niagara Falls for my birthday. I had never been and had wanted to see one of the most romantic places in Canada with the man I loved. Michael and I went to Cuba for the first time with our friends Rick and Mike. I was worried about the amount of walking that we would do, but I was a champion! With a little help, I was able to walk up a mountain and watch a waterfall as it fell from its source, splashing down into the pools below. Manzanillo was gorgeous and such a balm for the soul.
2016: We went back to Orlando again so I could see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter once more and also to Varadero Cuba. We wanted to try something new, and I wanted to see the places where Ernest Hemmingway had written. I sat at one of the bars he had frequented and I pictured myself absorbing some of his brilliance. It was still Cuba but it felt like an otherworldly place, full of mystery. Michael also proposed to me. We had been talking about having a commitment ceremony, but he surprised me and proposed. I set about getting a divorce from my ex-husband. He never paid for any of it, I covered the whole thing. I wanted the chapter with him done before I started a new one with Michael.
2017: Michael and I got married in 2017. I never thought I would be married again but then again I had never met anyone like Michael. It was and is the happiest day of my life when we got married. It still feels like we got married last year, not five years ago. We went to Costa Rica and stayed at the most amazing five star resort in Liberia Costa Rica. We went on a few memorable excursions. In one, we walked for a couple of hours through the rainforest, and it was a little treacherous, but we survived. We went to a hot spring and mud bath, had massages, lounged by the pool. My favourite moment was when we ziplined through the Congo and climbed a mountain only to zip line downwards. It was so incredible, and I still remember seeing the monkeys in the trees as we zipped by.
2018: I turned 40 in 2018 and Michael surprised me with my first cruise. We had a Harry Potter themed birthday party with our buildings party room decked out like the great hall and we left for British Columbia the next day. I had never been there and it was such a joy. The cruise was incredible and so decadent, and Alaska was a dream. I had thought it would be a land full of snow and ice and it was, but there was also this majestic beauty to it that spoke to me. The best memory is zip lining off a mountain that was higher than the Empire State Building. It was forty minutes up the mountain and ninety seconds down. It was glorious. We also went back to Cuba to Santiago this time.
2019: We went to Orlando again with our good friends Marg and Catherine and stayed right in one of the resort hotels. They both wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter too and it was such a joy to experience everything with people we loved. At one point, Catherine and I had our wands and were going around the park, trying to make magic happen. What I realized during that trip was that the magic was within us already. We went to Cuba again this year. We went back to where it all started and returned to Manzanillo and we were able to travel to new places and see new sights.
2020: We adopted a new cat, Anakin who would quickly become my baby. Then pandemic started and the world changed. At first, we were isolated and I was so thankful for Michael and the love that we had together. I think in some ways, the pandemic brought us closer together. All we had was each other and I’ve never been so thankful for someone who knows me so well.
2021: I did something for myself. I finally admitted that I needed to talk to someone and started talking to a therapist. I had to do this for my own sanity as my husband, as wonderful as he is, should not be my therapist. It was one of the best decisions that I’ve made for myself and it was so lovely to have someone to talk to so that I could work through all the crap that I’d been carrying. I also went through a new chemo treatment. It would wipe my immune system away and when it rebuilt itself, it would hopefully do so without the lesions. I was afraid, but I faced that fear and overcame, with the help of Michael and family and friends.
2022: And now we find ourselves in present day. I took on a temporary promotion at work, published a new book of poems and have been trying to find comfort in the brave new world that we find ourselves in now.
As I look back at everything I’ve accomplished and all that I’ve done, I can only marvel at it. It seems that just when I thought my life was over, it began again. I’ve said it before, but the MS has certainly made me more thankful for the life I live. I’m even more grateful for the life that I have with Michael.
He is the prince that I wished for all those years ago. Before I met him, I didn’t think anyone had heard that wish. Because of Michael and the life that we have together, I was gradually able to forget about the fact that I was diagnosed with MS on May 10th. I forgot again this year, too and that’s a wonderful kind of gift. I am grateful for him every day. I do wonder what will come in the next nine years, though. What treats or sights will it have in store?
I only have to live my life one day at a time in order to find out.