If your multiple sclerosis was to disappear today, would you go back to the life you had?
Asking myself this question got me thinking about my own answer. My first knee jerk answer was categorically no. I don‘t want to be the stressed out, materialistic, unbalanced person I once was. With or without MS, I wouldn’t want to go back there.
Although MS is a horrendous condition that can completely alter your life in so many ways, it got me thinking – are all those ways necessarily for the worst?
Being diagnosed with MS forced me to take a long, hard look at my priorities. If it were not due to my diagnosis, I don’t think I would have stopped and had time to re-evaluate my life, and made the changes that meant something to me. Here are a few ways that my life changed after MS:
I became more health-conscious: I now focus on eating well and making sure I get plenty of rest and just enough exercise. I am much more aware of what my body does and doesn’t need, and I pay attention to niggles that previously may have been overlooked or ignored. Before MS, I exercised frequently mostly because of guilt, pride, or stress release. Although my exercise options are much more limited now, I take the time to do the things that make me happy and am much more satisfied with the small victories.
I learned to expand my network: Through multiple sclerosis, I have met some of the most incredible people. They are strong, loving, positive, humble and generous souls. On the other hand, being diagnosed with MS also helped me to remove those that are not worthy of my precious time and attention out of my life.
I worked smarter not harder: I am now involved in doing work that feeds my soul and make my heart sing. It does not pay well (or at all) but it has brought me purpose, community and joy. It also helped me realise that I should have been working in this arena years ago! Before my MS diagnosis, my priorities were skewed. I thought money equaled success and happiness and financial freedom is all that I focused on. Although financial freedom is great, it is not my avenue to fulfilment.
I got involved in politics: Post diagnosis, I have learned to nurtured empathy to people with disabilities. I am very aware how society tends to overlook this particular issue, and because of that I feel that I can give more of myself to the cause. Before my diagnosis, this was an area I paid little attention to, but since then I have been able to make a positive difference.
If my multiple sclerosis were to disappear today, I would hope I have the strength, maturity and insight to not go back to my old ways. Regardless, I will continue on the path of happiness, fulfilment and joy and one day I hope that I will find someone to walk that path with me.