Fortunately, I’ve been in remission for a while now. I haven’t had an exacerbation since shortly after my youngest son was born, and he’s now preparing to start kindergarten this autumn.
I shouldn’t be fooled by remission
I’ve been feeling so good lately that I almost start to question if I even have multiple sclerosis. At my recent visit to the MS Clinic, when the nurse practitioner asked me how I was doing, I kind of jokingly said, “Great! Maybe I don’t even have MS!” She kind of laughed and looked at me like I was a bit of a crazy lady, not quite sure if I was being serious or not.
I was joking but in a way, I was being serious. I do wish it was possible that I didn’t have this disease any more but alas, I know I have multiple sclerosis. Once again, reality hit and deflated my tiny bubble of denial. I’ve seen the MRI and spinal tap results, and I know my history of relapses. Even if I’m feeling healthy and great, I know that I’m actually still “sick.” I have the daily annoying reminders that I’m living with MS which thankfully, I’ve learned how to better manage...or perhaps, I’ve just learned how to live with the symptoms.
And then I have guilt...
I see how others are really struggling with multiple sclerosis. I see some people cursing the disease saying that it has ruined their lives and here I am, basking in remission. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days but on the whole, I don’t consider myself “sick.” I don’t know if I’m lucky or if I’ve figured something out. Maybe it is a combination of things. Then, I sometimes have guilt for doing well and I really shouldn't. I should revel in and rejoice remission. We should all celebrate when someone is doing well with this disease. To me, that means we are getting closer to beating this MS thing and perhaps moving towards a cure.
Living with multiple sclerosis is an endless job
I guess with this remission, I’m enjoying a false sense of wellness but I have to be careful because that could end up hurting me more in the end. I may think that I can relax in my care but unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury. Living with a chronic illness, I have to be relentlessly mindful of my health. It is a constant job and I can’t afford to take time off.
I have to remember that remission is a time when I must remain diligent in taking care of myself. I need to continue doing what I’m doing to ensure that I stay this way for as long as possible. I also need to be careful not to set myself up for major disappointment for if and when I do have another relapse. The reality being that there is probably a flare at some point in my future - who knows when, but it is always lurking there as a very real possibility. Time will tell, and I will have to cross that bridge when I get to it.
Allowing myself to embrace a bit of denial
So I plan on cherishing this remission, and being thankful for the relative calm. I intend on enjoying all of those things that my mind and body can still do and that MS hasn’t taken from me. I will continue to remain positive and hopeful, to exercise and listen to my body, to take my DMT and vitamins, to try to relax and stress less, and to enjoy life as much as possible.
Lastly, I will indulge myself with a bit of denial because I view this remission, not as a full-on holiday, but somewhat like a mini-vacation. I know "Monday" is coming but until then, I’m going to enjoy my long weekend away from multiple sclerosis.