I’m a self-professed nerd. Not a nerd who can do complex math equations or create genetically perfect insulin in a lab, but a nerd nonetheless. I would rather read than watch TV; I listen to Broadway musicals on a daily basis; I am a fiercely proud and loyal Ravenclaw. I consider myself to be relatively intelligent. Not magna cum laude smart, but I can hold my own.
With my multiple sclerosis diagnosis comes cognitive difficulty is a possibility. MS fog is something I have experienced and have had trouble finding the right words and once got lost going to a restaurant I frequent often. All of these I laughed away because I was aware it was happening and it is important to have a sense of humor.
The other day I had a moment that was different and felt like a cognitive issue. I was helping my wife, Veronica, with the dishes and was convinced the cold water was on the left. I was so certain that I argued my point, kind of rudely. Veronica calmly (she is beyond amazing) asked me to look at the faucet labels.
I freaked out because I know that or I should know that. Why didn’t I know that?
My mind instantly went to a very dark, desolate place. Sometimes the fact that you have problems in your brain hits you as gently as a two ton bolder to the face.
Veronica sat me down and told me, “Remember, MS doesn’t have you. You know this. Your brain got confused, that’s all. Take a deep breath. You are okay. You will be okay. This will pass, recognize this for what it is – a change to be noted – nothing more. Don’t blow this up. Don’t focus on what is wrong. Make note of it, work on it. Keep going, keep moving forward even when you are seated.”
Everything she said was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Having someone to keep you from going over the cliff is important. I’m really lucky.
Yesterday is gone. What was is no more. That really sucks, but what is, is. No matter how harsh the reality is, it must be dealt with accordingly. Ignoring the problem only makes it worse in the end. Deserve each and every victory.
Accepting the new normal in living with MS is incremental. With each new level of acknowledgement, the next is easier to reach. We can celebrate little things like making it to the bathroom before its too late or lifting a cup of water with spasticity. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that victory is yours. Earn it, deserve it, embrace it, cherish it and wear it with pride.
Set new but attainable goals for yourself. Push yourself every day. Some days, you won’t make your goals; push yourself anyway. When you meet your goals, set new goals. Keep reaching higher.
Can you relate to the feeling of loosing my mind? Do you experience bizarre brain fog moments?
Maria Thomas was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in April of 2015 and will be documenting her journey with a monthly column on Modern Day MS. She has a wonderfully supportive wife, two dogs and lives in New Orleans.