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What used to be, what could have been

August 27, 2011

I don’t normally dwell on how things used to be. I try not to think about life before all the health problems because it can be pretty damn depressing. I’ve been thinking about it a lot today though after it was mentioned on the SomeoneLikeMe forums, and I’m slowly realizing that doesn’t have to be a depressing thought. When I thought about how things could be now if I had known this was coming, I tended to focus on how much better things could be. I never really thought of how bad things could be instead.

How would my life have changed if I had known ahead of time that I would find myself laying in a hospital bed one day, shaking so violently I could barely feed myself, struggling to cling to the ability to walk, unable to use one arm at all, when the possibility of an incurable and progressive illness would be brought up? How would I have reacted if I had been told that one day I would wake up to find myself partially blind? What would I have done if I had known that eventually I would never be able to know what limitations I would have to face day by day? Would I have been capable of dealing with laying in a tube while some strangers looked for spots in my brain and spinal cord, then wait to find out what was wrong with me?

I took a lot of things for granted when I was younger, mainly time. There was always tomorrow, no need to worry about how and when things would get done because there was always time. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but the one thing I truly regret is how much I took time for granted. I may still be stubborn, but it was worse when I was younger. Would I have stopped taking things for granted if I had known back then? I’d like to think that yes I would. I wouldn’t have procrastinated in going to school, I would have jumped right into the BScN course as soon as I could, I could be working on a masters degree right now. Looking back on how I used to be though, that’s not likely.

I was just too damn stubborn. I wouldn’t have believed it, or if I did I would have sank into a depression and probably would have drank myself to death. I likely never would have pursued a career in health care or any meaningful work. I probably would have stuck it out in a bad relationship just for the sake of stability and out of fear of having to take care of myself. I don’t think I would have been capable of really wrapping my head around all this back then, I just wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

Maybe that’s why I want to work with paediatric MS patients. Not only out of admiration for the immense amount of strength and bravery they possess just to get through every day life with this beast on their back, but also to serve as an example to them. Regardless of whether you know it’s coming or not, no matter what stage of your life you’re in when the monster rears its ugly head, no matter what you have planned for yourself before you find out, you don’t have to give up. You can keep pushing and make it through to your goals. You can lead a productive, fulfilling life despite a chronic illness.

The part of me that wasted all that time and drank too much is dead and buried. I’m glad that part of me is gone, though I guess I still mourn for it every now and then. I don’t miss always focusing on all the things I don’t have instead of the things I do, but I sometimes miss not having to worry about what tomorrow will be like, being able to do what I want when I want. I guess I just need to learn to look back at my past foolishness, shake my head, and blame it on the ignorance of youth.

It’s not just the forums that is making me think about this. It’s mainly starting school again, the recent death of a friend, and my age. I’ll be 25 soon so maybe I’m just having a mild 1/3 life crisis a bit early. It’s really weird to try to describe how it feels. It’s not entirely sad, it’s not happiness. It’s like look at pictures of someone that died a long time ago. You might smile and remember how much fun you had together, but it still stings a little no matter how much time passes.

There’s no point in wasting today worrying about what might happen tomorrow, because you can never know for sure if tomorrow will come or not. All you can do is work towards a better future and be thankful if you’re still here to enjoy that future when it comes.

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From → Journal

One Comment
  1. I dwell on my old life sometimes. I miss the hell out of my old carreer but I’m working on a way to get back into it in a slightly different capacity. My new life is pretty kick ass and I don’t think my husband & I would have gotten together if I didn’t have MS. He came to me right when I needed him and our little blended family of four-legged fur kids keeps us entertained everyday. If I had known that one day this is where I was going to be I don’t know how I would have done things differently. Luckily I got sober at 25 so I could deal with it all with a clear head when I got diagnosed at age 30 (and stay sober through it all).
    Kudos to you for wanting to work with kids with MS. I can’t imagine dealing with all this as a child…..

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