During my first two relapses I took a pounding. It was one thing on top of another, on top of another, and so on. Unfortunately there was no relief for the symptoms of the first relapse. Medication helped ease some of the discomfort of the second. When the smoke cleared, I was left with a body that I didn’t recognize. For a good eight months or so, it had behaved in a way that I couldn’t predict or control. When everything settled down, I felt like I did before. Everything worked again, like it did before. However, I was unsure of how to act or what to do. I was walking on eggshells around my own body, afraid to set it off again.
Around that time, J and I were planning a trip to visit my sister who lives in San Francisco. I had received the firm diagnosis about three months before. I was a bit nervous about this trip. Not only about the amount of walking that we would be doing but also about the jam-packed schedule that A had undoubtedly planned (there is no relaxing on holidays with her). My body felt fine and ready to go, but I no longer trusted it. It wasn’t so long ago that I had had the concrete legs where any kind of speed when walking required enormous effort. After that came the foot drag that left me unable to lift my right foot off the ground after a few hundred metres of walking.
As the departure date drew closer, I continued to feel fine but I was still anxious. In the end, I took the plunge and went with it. And you know what? I killed that city. San Francisco is very hilly and we walked all over it. We also toured a bit of the surrounding region. It was an amazing holiday.
That trip to California was good for me. It was the first step in rebuilding my confidence and trust in my body. I began to understand that when I feel good, it is reliable. Slowly, I started to do the things again that I had always done. I put my roller blades on and went back to the park. Later I put my skates on and took my kids to the arena. I carried my then three year-old son home two blocks when he was tired of trick-or-treating on Halloween. I went out with friends. I went on more trips. This past Christmas we took the kids to Disney World where we did four parks in five days. Magic Kingdom? Chewed it up and spit it out.
My most recent MRIs continue to show disease progression in the brain, but my body is holding it together in such a way that most of my days are symptom free. I’ve always been a procrastinator; I’ll do it tomorrow, next week or next year. No more. I feel great today, so I embrace it. What do you want to do? I’m there. Go to a party? Play soccer? Swim? Build a snowman? Go camping? Take a vacation? No, I don’t know how to ski, but I can learn.
I’ve learned to listen to my body. If it says go, I go.