“Each of us takes part in a marathon”

A 61-year-old painter. A 41-year-old runner. A 20-year-old dancer. With nothing much in common but the fact that they’ve all been diagnosed with MS.

But this short documentary is not about MS, about the disease process and how it affects millions of people in different ways. It’s about how you keep going, refusing to let go of who you are. It’s about resilience and willpower. And it’s beautiful.

Good news, bad news and some existential thoughts (or not)

So… it’s been a little while. I went away for a week on vacation and when I came back it’s like all hell broke loose, more or less.
The good news is that the ultrasound revealed that my cyst keeps getting smaller as a result of the medication I’m taking. The doctor also examined me and he said he couldn’t even feel it anymore. The pain I sometimes get in my lower abdomen is apparently not related to my endometriosis, so it still remains to be diagnosed, but overall good news.
The bad news… After a week completely free of ms symptoms, as soon as I got back I started feeling intense fatigue again. I woke up on Monday and my right arm was numb and I was so tired my legs hurt and felt heavy, as if I had cement blocks attached to them. Throughout the day I noticed my left hand was always stiff.
These symptoms eventually subsided as the week went on, except for the fatigue and the feeling my legs were heavy. I kept spreading peppermint gel on them to make it better and it helped a little.
Now what am I to make of this? We know that stress exacerbates ms symptoms, but I think it goes a little beyond that. How we feel psychologically also messes us physically. Because the truth is I feel stranded in my everyday life, being kept in an office/cage from 9 to 5, being given responsibilities I don’t have the skills to deal with and wasn’t taught how to. And in the end of the week, life seems to make little sense. I don’t see ways out, I don’t see any meaning. I look for meanings and fulfillment in other places, but by the time I get home from work I’m usually so tired I can’t even write a few words on Twitter, let alone do anything else.
The other day I was on a Facebook group for people with ms and someone was telling she got her disability retirement at 31, which is how old I am now. Besides the fact that I don’t think anyone would give me retirement just because I feel tired all the time, it doesn’t even cross my mind throwing in the towel at such a young age. I don’t think I should give up because I don’t even think the problem is the disease itself but the external factors that are contributing to it. If I were given more flexibility in terms of working hours and the opportunity to work from home I believe my symptoms would generally improve. But unfortunately the company where I work is still operating in the past century, and given the economic crisis my country is struggling with, the prospects of finding another job look dim. I should be glad that I have a job and that my medication is still made available, though I know in other countries there are already new and more sophisticated options. So in the meantime I’ll just keep on dragging those cement blocks and hope everything will be fine.