Bruised Insight

Our family attended Good Friday services for the first time this year, and I thought the entire service was absolutely beautiful.  I loved every minute of it, from the time the priests lay at the foot of the altar in prayer to the veneration of the Cross.  Unfortunately, I could not be 100% involved because “my friend” decided to make an appearance…stupid MS.

While standing for the very long gospel, I started to get dizzy.  I tried to ignore it for a little while, but it just grew in intensity.  My legs began to get weak, I got extremely hot, my vision got blurry, and I just knew I was going to pass out.  Fanning myself with a bulletin, I desperately looked around for The Husband.  He and The Younger Boy left our pew to go to the cry room so as not to disturb everyone around us.  The Younger Boy had a cough all last week, and although he wasn’t sick (according to our pediatrician) his cough sounded horrible.  We were about five minutes away from being knocked out by old ladies throwing cough drops at us when The Husband and The Younger Boy left.

So, now I’m worried that I’m going to pass out, and it’s just me and The Older Boy in the pew.  I’m not worried about my health; I’m not worried about hurting myself if I fall.  No, I’m worried about the embarrassment of passing out in church.  I’d be that lady.  As in, Did you see that lady who passed out in church?  No thank you.  I’m a big enough embarrassment to myself when I’m feeling fine; we don’t need to add anything new.

Pride will be the downfall of me.  No doubt.

I end up sitting halfway through the gospel, desperately hanging on to what little dignity I have left.  I know I look like a mess; I feel like a mess.  Please God, don’t let me pass out in church.  Please God, don’t let me throw up.  The sitting helps, and after a short while, I was feeling a little better.

By the time we go to venerate the Cross, I’m feeling a little more normal, so I decide to participate.  However, once we were back in the pew, I felt horrible again.  The room was spinning, my stomach was churning, and I felt extremely weak.  Thanks MS for the vertigo…you big jerk.

photo courtesy of WebMD

photo courtesy of WebMD

I’m starting to get discouraged, when I remember the Ninja-Priest-Friend talking to me about carrying my cross.  He’s constantly telling me that, and honestly, sometimes I just don’t want to hear it.  I understand that this is a trial I’ve been given.  I understand that it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Christ.  I understand these things on an intellectual level.  But, on an emotional level, it’s sometimes hard to deal with.  I look at the beautiful crucifix behind the altar, and I remember the homily from Holy Thursday Mass.  Fr. Mario (a different priest) had compared Jesus to the Passover lambs of the Old Testament.  He was completely unblemished, and even after His crucifixion, he had no broken bones.  I looked down at my arms, still bruised from IV treatments weeks ago, and I have an extreme moment of clarity. Continue reading

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Sincere Thanksgiving

Life is great.  Really.

I haven’t been able to write in about 10 days because my current multiple sclerosis relapse took a serious turn for the worse.  I woke up one morning a few weeks ago, with a loss of vision in one eye, blurred and double vision in both eyes, and I was having serious balance problems–that’s code for “falling on my butt with every other step.”

After waiting it out for a few days (I was told I had to just be patient through this relapse, which actually started on January 13), we called my neurologist.  He is sending me to a specialist, which we have anxiously been awaiting–just 2 more weeks now!–and has been hesitant to treat me until I’m seen by said specialist.

Well, because my symptoms escalated so quickly, the neurologist decided to treat the relapse.  Unbeknownst to me, treatment included 5 days of high-powered IV corticosteroid infusions.  Whatever.  I need to see.  This disease can affect so many different parts of the body, all at once, that it is hard to diagnose.  For me personally, I can handle pain much better than what I call “head stuff.”  I can ignore physical pain.  I can’t ignore mental confusion, loss of vision, light sensitivity.  Those things impair my quality of life.  The things I love need some sort of mental capability (however little I may have), such as reading, writing, movies, theatre, etc.  So, even though I wasn’t sure what IV treatment would be like, I was up for it.

The next day (last Thursday to be exact), I began IV treatment.  (I’ll share more on this experience later, when I was blessed with the gift of perspective.)  Almost immediately, I saw results.  Friday morning, just after one treatment, my vision cleared up.  I still could not read well, but I no longer had blurry or double vision.  And the blind spot was gone!  Saturday morning, vision was completely clear, I no longer had balance problems, physical pain, and no fatigue or fever.  This morning, just after 3 treatments, I felt no sting of the MS symptoms that have plagued me for 2 months.

Nothing.

No pain.  No vision problems.  No fatigue.  No balance issues.  No numbness.  No confusion.  Absolutely nothing.  All MS symptoms are gone.

I don’t know if I’ve ever woken up so happy before in my entire life.  How could I not be elated?  I could actually walk to the bathroom without holding on to the wall.  I wasn’t exhausted after getting dressed.  Even better, I could get dressed by myself!

According to The Husband, this image best fits me this morning.  Seriously couldn't stop smiling.  :)

According to The Husband, this image best fits me this morning. Seriously couldn’t stop smiling.   :)

Like I said, Life is great!

Even though I went to Mass yesterday afternoon with my mom, I decided to join The Husband and my boys again this morning.  I felt such an immense amount of peace and calm, that I just knew I had to give credit where it is due.  What better way is there to pay homage to our Lord than adoring Him in the most Holy Mass?

We usually arrive at church pretty early to have personal prayer time in the quiet.  Today was no different.  Now, I’m usually extremely private when it comes to my personal prayer, but I feel called to share this with you.  So, rather than paraphrasing how I’m feeling today, I’ll just share my personal conversation with God.  Here goes: Continue reading