Losing our independence due to multiple sclerosis is a profound loss. With that loss comes the grieving process and inevitable change.
On Grief.com in “A Message from David Kessler,” he discusses the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I have experienced all of these stages with each new obstacle I encounter. For me, the hardest stages to conquer are denial and acceptance.
Driving was probably the biggest thing that gave me independence and freedom. I was in denial that I had to give it up at first, but then made the decision on my own that it was for the best. Cognitive issues not only make driving unsafe for me, but for others as well.
When my brain gets overstimulated, I get overwhelmed and stressed. Once I get stressed I can’t think clearly, my mind will drift off focus or even go blank. It becomes a chain reaction of events that keep me from driving. I accept that this is where I’m at right now, but it was not an easy decision.
Another one of the things I loved to do pre-MS was bake. I really enjoyed having warm peanut butter or chocolate chip cookies ready for my kids when they got home from school. I was also happy preserving jams and fruits, baking pies and apple turnovers, and a lot more. Most times I would preserve or bake with my mom. We had a great time and I was learning from the best.
I felt productive and was providing for my family. It was an awesome feeling to show them love through something I had made and that was sweet, as well. My daughter is carrying on the baking tradition. She’s a fantastic cook, and is providing love through food for her family.
Even though I have passed the torch on to her, I do miss baking and I still do it once in a great while. It’s just that now it takes a lot of effort, help from my husband, and adds to my already high level of fatigue.
I also miss the days of playing tennis, or just getting up from a chair. Now it takes a lot of thought about safety before getting up. It is overwhelming at times, and definitely frustrating to be so limited.
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