I read once that most people with MS never “accept” it any more than you would accept an electrical storm that causes lightning bolts to strike your home repeatedly and unexpectedly for the rest of your life. Until I read that statement I couldn’t figure out why acceptance had been so elusive.
I read that in some guide on how to deal with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis or another well over 2 years ago but it’s still the most accurate description I have seen before or since. I’ve had to redefine what acceptance means to me and I think I finally have but it’s not been easy.
Education’s been key to my survival these last few years. Had I known I was going to understand this much medical jargon and know THIS much about procedures and treatments I would have gone to medical school. But alas, hindsight being what it is I’ve had to settle on educating myself and surrounding myself with genius doctors whose arsenals against MS, Fibromyalgia, and Sjogren’s Syndrome are VAST and include things like the ever obscure quality of empathy for their patients, positivity, and a willingness to admit that they are NOT, in fact, omniscient.
It’s been suggested that those of us living with MS work to “find a place for MS while keeping MS in it’s place” much like an uninvited and unwanted guest, but for me the struggle hasn’t been with finding a place for MS in my life. Not judging my feelings but giving myself permission to feel how I feel has been the truest test and has often caused the line between adaptation and full surrender to blur and thin. For me that's what acceptance is...adapting without giving up.
On the road to accepting my diagnosis I’ve had to run through a minefield of emotion. Periodically on this trek I’ve tripped over frustration, anger, and grief…I’ve gone headlong through anxiety and resentment…and more than once I’ve run full speed into the unknown drenched with sweat and overwhelmed by the journey itself. While I'm sure this is a process that will continue I'm equally convinced that even if I happen to step on a landmine or two they WILL NOT slay me.