“As we sail thru life, don’t avoid rough waters, sail on because calm waters won’t make a skillful sailor”
Ah, yes, the stowaway…to whom or what are you referring, Kellie? Well, I thought it was about time to talk about the big pink elephant in the room…the MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Many people have asked me what it is like, while others politely avoid the conversation altogether in fear of offending or making me feel bad…yes, I know they do that. So, I want to enlighten you all about what it’s like for me to carry a stowaway around all day long. It’s a stowaway because I didn’t invite it. It’s not mine. And I will never claim it as my disease, my burden, my anything. Period. That said, allow me to explain my position as its host.
Disease is nothing more than our bodies attempting to get our attention in a really big way. Chances are that there were many subtle signs way before the condition showed up. For me, there was always an extreme sensitivity to outside stimulation, motion, light, sound, and even smells. I also experienced chronic migraine for well over a decade before there was any sign of MS. All of these things were clues that my body was not handling something very well. When I say “something” I mean my body, mind, and spirit. That something or lots of somethings can be imbalance in any or all of our three parts. I listened and paid attention sometimes, but sometimes I ignored and masked the pain and symptoms with meds. The moral to this paragraph is this: Disease doesn’t show up overnight. Getting sick is a process just like getting healthy. So, I was well into the disease process long before I wanted to pay attention to what my body was saying.
I don’t have chronic migraine anymore. I managed to axe that one with a big diet change and some other therapies that served my body, mind, and spirit. Eventually, we all have that wake up call…some sooner than later. When I heard the nails-on-a-chalkboard diagnosis come out of the doctor’s mouth, I cringed just a little, knowing that my life was about to change. But, hey, I’m a whirlwind of life-change, right? After all, it wasn’t like the ghost that suddenly shows up in your face, I’d had lots of experience with doctors, MRIs, meds, and people trying to tell me how to feel better. Instead of collapsing in my newly framed existence, I stood up for myself, to myself, to the world and said: “I’m stronger than this. I can do this. I will beat this.” That is still my mantra nearly 8 months in.
Living with MS is like telling your kid to go clean her room and having her only do it halfway or not at all. It is frustrating, makes you mad, and you want to permanently send her to her room… or prison. Unfortunately, I cannot do this with my kids or body parts that don’t want to obey the rules. I’ve taken a much more positive approach to the situation: I improvise and adapt. I stumble sometimes. I stutter my words on occasion. And, there are times when finding the word I need is nearly impossible (that one is also common with writers in general…lol). No worries, though. I’m good. I have made so much progress over the past 8 months that my doctor gets snippy because I won’t go on the meds or succumb to the “normal” things that MS patients do. I’m a warrior for myself and my health. I’m a badass, and I’m proud of it!
From here, I move along that path of recovery with my head held high. I won’t allow this stowaway to own me or my life. Being careful is not such a bad thing. Hell, I used to trip all the time before the diagnosis. This way, at least, I’m holding onto the rail and being aware of my balance all the time. That sounds like wisdom to me. I jogged the other day. That was actually fun… for about a minute. My left leg sort of rebelled against that one. (lack of coordination and weakness shows up on my left side primarily.) Guess what? I’m going to try again…and again until there is no mutiny. That day will come. Just watch and see. My best asset is my positive attitude. My second best asset is the willingness to change. My message to the world with this experience is to dig deeper into your life. Live with purpose. Listen and pay attention to your body, mind, and spirit. Get Rebellious against anything that hurts you. And be health. I am health.
No Excuses. No Blaming. No Playing the Victim.
Kellie, I hear you and I get it! I’m living with so many of the same symptoms, while struggling with my chronic illness. I was also sick long before the symptoms derailed me completely. As I wrote in my blog today “listen to what your body is telling you.” I didn’t listen. I kept going & letting the stress make me sicker & sicker until one day I couldn’t get out of bed. Been there with MRI’s, CT scans, X-rays, bloodwork & countless meds. I’ve felt the best I have in 6 years by practicing mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing…and finding my purpose. We are strong women!
Thanks for your thoughts, Tae! I’m so glad you are in your sweet spot with your health now. It takes sacrifice and determination to do it the natural way when you are going against the grain and doctors advice. Please keep in touch. I would love to know more about your health and wellness journey. xo Kellie
Thank you for your lovely story. I was left with a much different body after after bout with cancer. It’s so great for you to show others it’s okay; you are still your kick ass self. Rock on!
Thanks for visiting, Natasha! Yes, illness does change you in many ways. We have to keep loving our bodies even though they may not be the same as they were. xo Kellie Rae
I am so happy and proud of you! It’s a real pleasure knowing such a beautiful on the inside and the outside person as yourself. You’re such an inspiration to so many, never forget that!! Your story is sure to help and touch others so keep sharing it The mind is truly the most powerful thing that there is on the planet. I give you lots of kudos for strengthening your thoughts. Great blog, love it, keep sharing! 🙂 <3
Thank you so much, Sindy! I appreciate your support and encouragement. The mind is truly extraordinary and can accomplish so much. Keep believing in you! xo Kellie Rae
Thanks for the strong point-of-view in not owning the disease term. I totally agree with that outlook. I maintain that I will remain cancer free because I don’t intend to invoke it mentally, emotionally or physically. Just because it has hit members of both sides of my family (a lot and ages from 30 to 80+)) doesn’t mean anything to me except to not dwell on it – ever. When my Mom died (cancer) I said to someone that I ought to find out what all she had wrong (she took lots of pills and kept a lot from us kids). He simply asked: WHY? What difference does it make now. Why put negativity into my mind thinking. I listened. You have a lot of morale support Kellie. Keep the positive battle going !
I appreciate your support, Virginia! Information is just that…information. We can choose to do with it whatever we want. I think being informed about our ancestors’ medical history is wisdom. My mother also died of cancer in 1999. She was a very sick woman for a long time and long before the cancer showed up. She abused her body and did not listen to it. This is something that I promised myself that I wouldn’t do. I am living proof that you can overcome anything you set your mind to. xo Kellie
You go girl! I bow to you for not owning MS. I wholeheartedly believe that our bodies are messengers of unhealed emotional pain. I have had tinnitus (constant ringing in my ears) for the past year and I am not claiming that I can’t heal it. I am “listening” for what is asking to be healed emotionally and practicing impeccable self-care. I love that you are doing the same and I am cheering you on sister!
Thank you so much for your visit and support, Lyn! Our bodies are so magical and wonderful. They have such power to speak to us and to heal themselves. I also experience Tinnitus, so I understand the annoyance and desire to heal there. It’s all inflammation based, which means we can heal it. It will happen! Keep listening. xo Kellie Rae