Friday, March 03, 2006

MS is a great excuse for putting myself first.

I never quite understood how important it was to put myself first. I've mostly played the martyr (except for those pesky teenage years), and I've felt that putting myself first was a bit selfish. Oh sure, I KNOW that it's not selfish, but the knowingness has been in my head, not in my heart. I have tried and tried to put myself first before, and I have succeeded here and there, but I could never get that it's more healthy than selfish to do so. Now I am in a position where it is vital to do so. God knew that it would take something like MS for me to truly understand the importance of putting myself first.

Now that I know, however, it just kills me to see how much of my life has been spent on putting others' needs before my own. I look around and realize it has gotten me nowhere! People can meet their own needs. They can! And I'm learning that I can too! Of course we all need friends and support and help at times, but I'm through being the first volunteer for every request or demand that comes my way. I don't care at this point if I lose friends because then I will know which ones were just using me. Good, quality friendships take time and nurturing and compromise, and I am only willing to invest in friends who are also willing to invest.

I want the people in my life to ask how I am doing and really care about the answer.

I have a few good friends who do care, and I am not dissing them, but I am talking about my life pattern and how it had to take an MS diagnosis for me to break that pattern once and for all. I have been working on it for the last few years, and thanks to certain friends (you know who you are) I have had plenty of practice recognizing this pattern. But now it's no longer practice. This is the real thing.

MS is a great excuse for putting myself first. Not that I ever needed an excuse. Nobody does. But when those feelings of selfishness start creeping in, I can remind myself that I have a reason now. It's more than a reason, too. It's a necessity.

I called the acupuncture recommended by Cedar Hill, but she's not taking any new patients. She referred me to an acupuncturist who is also near me. I called her, and she sounded so cool. I must have been on the phone with her for 30 minutes! She really took her time with me. She is also a physical therapist, and if I combine both acupuncture and physical therapy in my appointments, Medicare will pay for it! I only have to pay $25 a visit! So I made an appointment for this coming Wednesday and a friend arranged transportation. He is going to the appointment with me, too. Now that is a friend! He was also with me when I got the MS diagnosis. He was so kind and understanding because he really understands how it feels to get a diagnosis like that. He is HIV positive.

There are so many human angels in this world that have no idea they are angels.

1 comment:

pb said...

Those who have "dropped like flies" are fearful of MS. It has a long, scary, medical-type name. And you undoubtedly were diagnosed when you were quite ill and frightened, yourself. And remember, as yet there is no cure. They are afraid you are DYING, and withdraw to protect themselves from further loss. Just like they do for friends and family with cancer.

When you have learned to control the symptoms, including depression, they will see you differently. Some will look up to you, as silly as that may sound. (Still does to me, but hey, it's what happened.) I was diagnosed when I turned 40. The very next month, actually. It is quite common in women of European descent, especially Irish, Scottish and Nordic. Fits you to the t.

Then they will return, little by little. It will be interesting, and gratifying, and a little bit of a roller-coaster ride. Some, most likely your children, will be furious at you for "getting MS." How dare you deprive them of their healthy, do-all mother!

Grieve, grieve and grieve some more. It's early and you are entitled. Tonight's tears will wash clean tomorrow's smiles.

I expect you'll manage.