Hard to believe it, but Henry’s 6 months old now. Right now, I’m lucky enough to have a moment to write because he’s taking his morning nap.
Today, I was published on another blog — Modern Day MS. I wrote a piece about how to improve your sex life, since the great majority of folks with MS have to deal with sexual dysfunction at some point.
Surprisingly, the hardest thing about writing that guest post was keeping my word count down! There was so much more I could have written about because, let’s face it, there’s a lot of great information out there about having good sex.
One thing that surprised me was how much it helped to have a specific audience to write to, though. I think one of my downfalls here on In It For The Parking is that I have made this much more of a personal journal and much less of an MS-centric blog. Ah well. If I cared about making money from my blog it might matter, but I don’t. It’s not why I write here.
So About That Title…
You may have noticed that the title of today’s blog entry is, “Do it Anyway.” It’s the title of one of my favorite Ben Folds songs, and has become a huge part of my current way of being.
Being a mom is tough. It’s especially tough when you have seizures and sometimes don’t have an aura. It can be really scary.
For years — way too many years — I spent my days on the couch and didn’t do a whole lot because I was afraid of hurting myself. I didn’t cook. I didn’t exercise, for fear of falling off a machine or embarrassing myself. I didn’t leave the house without someone else. It’s only in the last 2 years that my seizures subsided enough for me to be brave enough to go out in public alone.
And now, as a mom, sitting on the couch and hiding from life really isn’t an option. So, I take the kiddo on walks to and from the store. I carry him up and down stairs. I have begun cooking again, and today, I think I might even be brazen enough to try to shower while my husband’s at work. (It smells like a good idea.)
There were a lot of people who asked me why I wanted to have children, and whether or not it was safe. They suggested that it wasn’t a good idea because they were worried about how I would take care of the kids and deal with my condition. My response to them was always that I wasn’t going to let MS steal motherhood away from me. So, even with all the fear, we did it anyway.
Why? Because one of the biggest, most important things I’ve learned is that even if you’re afraid, you need to do things anyway. Sometimes, the more afraid you are of something, the more important it is that you do it. That’s why bravery is a virtue.
Do I seize when I get overheated? Yeah, every time. But the dishes? Those need to get done anyway. And this body? It doesn’t like carrying this much extra weight, so exercise is going to happen.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to cause seizures. I’m learning how to do things despite them. For instance, it’s safer for me to swim (because it keeps your body cool) with Adam than it is for me to try to run on a treadmill. It’s safer for me to soak dishes in the sink and rinse in tepid water before putting them in the dishwasher than it is to use hot, soapy water. And it’s safer for me to keep the house at a crisp 68 degrees and only carry Henry for a few minutes at a time than it is for me to be afraid to pick him up.
For a long time, I thought that Kayla Montgomery was insane. I mean, who wants to run races and trigger pseudoexacerbations over and over again, falling into her coach’s arms at the end of each race, just so she can keep running? It sounded insane to me. But now, for some reason, I get it. She knows that someday, she’s not going to be able to feel her legs. She’s making the most of every moment she has control of them, and refuses to let this disease take any more from her than it absolutely has to. And that takes a lot of guts.
I’m more than a little ashamed to think about how much time I wasted because of fear. Sure, it was legitimate fear, but it was also depression. It wasn’t just that I wouldn’t push myself, I couldn’t. After failing the bar exam twice, I didn’t see the point of trying anything anymore. I didn’t want to find my physical boundaries, because I didn’t want to get hurt.
But, that’s pretty much what life is — getting hurt and getting over it and learning new ways to be… over and over again.
I’m tired of the internet being my only social outlet (aside from seeing my in-laws). I’m tired of defining myself by this disease. I’m tired of wallowing in how tired and/or afraid of seizures I am to the point that I allow myself to not be ambitious. It’s a waste. Not only of my potential but of the time I have here to enjoy life.
So, I’m fucking tired and scared. That’s great. It means I’m human. Big deal. Do it anyway; whatever “it” is. Acknowledge the fear and move forward thoughtfully.
Today, “it” is writing this blog entry and doing whatever I can to get up and be active. I can’t let my son learn that being an adult is comprised of sitting on your butt staring at a screen all day long every day. I won’t. Unfortunately, we can’t go to the gym today because the little guy is sick, and they’ve got rules against bringing sick kids to the gym. So, I think I’m gonna walk to the store and get stuff for dinner and return a toy that I wish I hadn’t bought. (Toys with lights and sound aren’t always the best idea. Gotta find the right ones.) Don’t worry, I always wear my medical alert bracelet and have an ICE app on my phone in case I seize in public.
If, at some point today, I’m able to vacuum the living room, make the MRI appointment I keep postponing because I’d rather not know how my MS has progressed without DMDs, and find a good dentist in the area, I’m giving myself all kinds of bonus points. Mostly because I don’t want to do any of that, but it all needs to be done.
So, I’m going to do it anyway.