Today, September 30th marks the one year anniversary of being diagnosed with MS. And I feel like there’s a lot to talk about in terms of this past year.
I mean, obviously. This blog has just been one post after another documenting this new journey. And some day I know that will change, and I’ll go back to gushing about my dog, reviewing books or bitching about rich people.
But lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflecting on the past year, and what this new adventure has brought. And mostly what I keep coming back to is how humbling the last 12 months have been.
When you regress, and age, all at the same time, you are left with a sense of insecurity and self-awareness all in one.
Last September I very suddenly was no longer familiar with the body I had known for 32 years. I was jolted to a place of exhausting hyper awareness. It’s really indescribable for me at times.
Sometimes because my brain still has a hard time finding the right words.
And sometimes because I don’t know that even if my brain was really working all the way, the right words exist.
But one thing is for certain, the past year has been a humbling one.
I’m an admitted prideful person and there have been multiple dents to that ego this year.
Asking for help is hard, y’all!
Learning to walk again! I’m not sure of a more humbling thing than needing assistance for (what seems like) one of the most basic of our abilities. I remember being in the hospital and before they would clear me to go home I had to be able to walk up some stairs. And at first I couldn’t do it. I mean, how many times have we walked up and down stairs without even thinking about it? And at that moment I just couldn’t get my brain to understand the process one bit.
Humbling has been learning how to ride my bike again, or taking a floppy left foot to the gym for a jog on the treadmill. Explaining to a gym instructor my limitations and asking for accommodations. Not being the valedictorian of Zumba still puts me in my place twice a week.
Asking for a seat on the train, or using a handicapped parking pass when the day has involved too much walking offers a gentle reminder that your body has changed in ways that are somewhat unrecognizable.
Struggling for common words while presenting to your class, or writing a paper, feels foreign as words weren’t ever mysterious before.
Tripping over my own feet, or just the exhaustion after navigating through a crowd still feels clumsy and frustrating at times.
Choking because I forgot to think about the act of swallowing my drink is embarrassing and ugly at times.
Each incident is hard to explain and even harder to understand. And while they are starting to feel like “new normal,” they are occasionally hard to accept.
But, before this post starts sounding too dramatic and sympathy invoking..
I’ve also been humbled in some of the best ways possible.
I have this husband who inadvertently has humbled me beyond measure. He has taught me that being a strong, independent woman means knowing what I am capable of, and pushing to get back to the limit. In this past year he has taught me that asking for help shows strength and confidence, instead of embarrassment and lack of ability. He has been the perfect balance of encouragement and comfort. I have, without a doubt, been humbled by his level of commitment to making me the best version of me this past year.
I have been humbled, a thousand times over, by the amount of love, encouragement and support my friends and family have shown me. Between all the thoughts, prayers, questions and well wishes I have been beyond overwhelmed by my team. I have the best people on my side.
Humbling has been a job that challenges me mentally and physically every single day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to work, and really work each day.
Humbling has been starting grad school again. Working hard in a classroom full of professionals, discussing passions and brainstorming change is something that I thrive on, and am so thankful that I have the time (and money!) to be involved with again. Even though I have times where I struggle getting thoughts organized into the graceful sentence stringing in my mind, it is encouraging and forever exciting to be in an environment of professional growth.
Without sounding too prideful (I’ve given you plenty of warning!) there are days that I am humbled by my own abilities. I am so grateful that (even though it took me 12 months to get here) I am capable of walking again. I am grateful of my ability to ride my bike, go to work every day, go to the gym, keep up with that busy ass husband of mine, go to class, take my dog for walks each day.
And really all of these things I’ve listed have equally humbled me and provided me gratitude at the same time.
It’s been quite a year. No question about that. And there is no question about the fact that I am in a far better place this September 30, than compared to last September 30.
Physically, of course.
But mentally as well.
Up until now, there hasn’t been a time in my life that I have been so grateful for each day, each experience and each person I encounter. What a humbling feeling..
Cheers to the next year ahead!
(Literally, cheers! … I am off for a celebration beer with the mister right now!)