Don't be mistaken by my first divulgence - this is not a sob story. I couldn't write one if I tried as it's not in my make-up and wouldn't expect anyone to be interested.
Sitting across from a Neurologist and getting the diagnosis of Progressive MS, is a bombshell by anyone's standards, but my first question to him, and I didn't have to think about it, was, what happens if I carry on working? By this time I'd stopped travelling but the thought of doing nothing rocked me, no matter what heap of trouble I was in...and I understood I was in a mess at that point.
He grinned at me and said, "Carry on if you wish. It shouldn't hasten the progression...but try to rest." It seemed to be galloping along on its own, quite necely, anyway. He was Australian and about to retire and I only saw him a few times after that, but he always had a laugh with me and asked how work was going.
The first three years were difficult; there's no denying it. I think I had to come to terms with the challenges to make it less daunting for me, and ultimately kept working for 13yrs. Some days good, some bad, but always looking forward to having a project to work on, helped me. I moved to be near my sister when I finished work, but it wasn't the MS that stopped me. The joint in my left thumb seized up with the work I was doing and it was obviously time to stop; but thank heavens, neither the thumb nor the MS has curtailed me from typing or using my mind.
I don't have relapsing-remitting MS - mine carries on, changing from one thing to another when it feels like it, mostly to do with pain; but I keep taking the tablets. The Diazepam is quite nice for the spasms; I don't feel them now and laugh more than I did, but happily so.
Then I hit the wall - and anyone with MS understands what that is. I'd had glimpses for the odd day or week, but not like this. I didn't even want to get up from my chair. Now I was stumped and it went on for a month or more.
I bought a notebook computer online, when a leaflet arrived in the mail for me. The thought of sitting at my desk was a problem, but a notebook sits on your lap. Now I could do something I'd always said I'd like to do, and that was to write a book.
I started with an event that happened to me, not so many years ago, but on re-reading it, scrapped that to start again. This time I wrote it as if I was seventeen. It changed my perspective and I began to have fun with it. The whole incident filled four thousand words and I was surprised I'd written it on reading it back. I called that Chapter 1 and the funny thing was, I'd forgotten about feeling lousy and tired. The MS still gives me a dig and a poke, every now and then, but a much harder dig and poke if I'm not writing.
Nobody knew what I was doing until I told my sister after writing forty-five thousand words, and waited for her reaction, expecting her to laugh. "Read the first chapter." I offered and she sat down. She called in after work each night until she'd read what was written and then for updates until it was finished. She liked the story and was surprised I wanted to carry on. I'm pleased I did. Those three books, a trilogy, taught me how to write and my style changed across them. One day I'll endevour to write them again.
The most possitive thing for me is that MS is not the first thing I think of each day. It's not gone, don't get me wrong, but writing has given me a new lease on life and has pushed all that to the rear. It's actually helped my memory, as that was getting bad. I don't have to rack my brains for a word anymore; they come easily now and I thank God every day for that leaflet that dropped through my door.
One could correctly say that writing has saved my life. For me it's oxygen now - vital to continued survival.
This has been posted a second time as some have had trouble linking to it. My second blog is posted. 'alifeafteralifeafterall' and tells how I write crime fiction.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please do so often and welcome to my world.