My last post was about finally getting the confirmation that I had known for 2 years. I don't know if relief was what I felt because who is relieved to confirm a disease? Satisfaction? Maybe on some level because I knew I was right, but that isn't it either. A little smug? Kinda since some people still felt I was looking for attention or deluding myself, though they'd never say it to my face. Sadness? Not really. I dealt with the idea of having MS in my heart in November of 2008 when I got the "probable MS" answer. Anger? Nope. Not that one either. If I had any anger over MS at anytime, it would be for my husband & children and what my having MS means to them. So what was I feeling?
At first, I couldn't understand how so many of my family & friends reacted as if this was brand new information. I mean, we all kinda suspected this was true. Many had accepted that it was true along with me, but still there was a reaction. I expected the responses of "I'm sorry that you have MS, but I'm glad you finally know for sure." It wasn't Earth shattering after all. But others reacted differently. Some cried, some hugged me a little tighter, some were asking if I needed anything. What would I need? In my head & heart nothing had changed from the day before the confirmation. I still am the same. I still take the same meds. I still feel the same, look the same, act the same. But people were different.
At first I was a little angry about it. Not at them personally. I know they love & care for me. I know many were holding out hope that it was something else. Something different either for themselves being unable to deal with knowing someone who has a disease like MS or unable to comprehend MS as a possibility at all for me. It made me feel like they didn't believe me. That they were among the ones who thought I was wrong or somehow living in a fantasy world where I can have attention for being "sick". I talked it over with a few people to try and work it out in my head. This helped me.
Then a funny thing happened to me. Not funny HaHa, but unexpected. I had a reaction. About 5 days after the confirmation, I was preparing my injection. I was tapping the bubbles out the top of the syringe to make sure it was ready for me. I was checking to make sure I measured the dosage correctly and all of a sudden I noticed myself. Almost out-of-body. I thought, "When did this happen?" I looked around at my husband and then at the bottles of pills sitting in the kitchen and thought, "How did I get here?" I'm the person who has hated shots her whole life. I'm the one who crossed the street until she was in her 20's when she saw a squirrel because a story in the 70's was on the news about rabid squirrels. They claimed if you were bit by one it would result in 40 shots in your tummy. That was enough info for me. Yet here I am, ironically, injecting myself...in my OWN tummy. "How did this happen?" I did my shot and iced my tummy and then sat for a minute. "I have MS" I thought. I have Multiple Sclerosis".
I stood up to head up to bed. My husband stood to hug me good night. I didn't let go. I hugged a little tighter, a little longer. HE said, "Are you alright?" I said, "yes". I kept standing in his arms. "Are you sure?" He asked. "Yes, I am. I love you. I'm going to bed." He answered the same & I went to bed.
The next morning while delivering papers, I thought of my reaction. My mild shock or realization because, again, this isn't brand new information. And I realized something. I had known from the moment I hit the ER in March of 2008 that MS would be the end result. I had done my research. I had experienced all the tests...twice. I had 2 neurologists, one a nightmare and the other my avenging angel. The one to help me reach the conclusion I already knew in my heart. I had 4 MRI's, 1 Spinal Tap and been poked & prodded. I looked into any possible alternative diagnosis that family & friends gave to me. I fought against the naysayers to prove to them that it was MS. That I wasn't crazy. That I hadn't manipulated the neuros, my family dr, the pharmacy & the National MS Society into treating me like I have MS both mentally & physically. I absorbed info in books, on websites and found ways to help myself through many symptoms and gave in to the help that was offered and that I knew I needed for myself & my family. I found a lifeline, a support group, if you will, online and made many valuable friendships that grow everyday. Some by number, but many through our hearts. I did all these things, but I never stopped to think what the confirmation would mean.
I HAVE MS. I HAVE MS. i HAVE ms. I fought for so long, I didn't take it in. The finality of what it would mean. The course my life will take. The answer I knew that will now & forever be true. You were right, Tammy. Yippty Do For You! Congrats. Now what?
Nothing really. I face it. Basically like I have been: With a positive attitude, information, a good sense of humor and family & friends. I keep my online Facebook page and NMSS Page open to support me and for me to give my support to others. I've said before that I felt I was lead here, to MS, for a purpose. Maybe it is to take my "mom qualities" to the NMSS Page and help where I feel needed? They get support and I get to feel appreciated for being "everyone's mom". MS is still NOT a death sentence. It isn't any real sentence because no one's path with MS is the same. I will find similarities, but I can't predict the future any more than anyone else can. Even the healthy ones.
I do know this. I will continue to do my physical therapy exercises that I learned. I will try to add in the MS Yoga to help improve my shape and health. I will use my cane when I need it. I will ask for help as well. I will smile & laugh & be a wonderful wife & mother. I am Tammy Malkowski. I am still me. I am still all the wonderful things I was before and I am still all the awful things too. My mental meltdown gave me the freedom to fight harder than I was before because, while I didn't give up, the fear that "improving" might postpone my inevitable diagnosis held me back. I didn't want to remain in this limbo of health, life & spirit for even longer. So my freedom is what I got.
My reaction is that the meltdown lead me to the freedom to be the smart, funny,hard-working, sarcastic, shock-you-till-your-jaw drops, amazing person that can only be me. I am Tammy. I finally had my mental meltdown. I have MS. And my life will remain as I have said from the beginning of this journey: Keep Moving Forward. Feel free to join me. <3