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Taking My MS on a Road Trip

Taking My MS on a Road Trip

Faith of the Mustard Seed

On Good Friday, my family and I took a three-day road trip to lay my husband to rest. Our goal was to honor his last wishes and set his ashes free in the wilderness that he so loved.

My husband enjoyed going archery hunting almost every fall, until a May 2017 stage-four pancreatic cancer diagnosis ended that. Sadly, he passed away last December.

His wish was to have his ashes scattered at his family’s favorite hunting site in eastern Oregon, where they have hunted for generations. I had never been, as hunting was something that he shared with his cousin.

Because I have multiple sclerosis (MS), the thought of being in a car for six hours each way did not seem like a good MS symptoms scenario. Plus, just being away from home left me unsettled. But, nothing could have stopped me from going, especially not MS.

Hurrying to pack for the trip, my anxiety grew. With each anxious moment, I felt my legs becoming weaker, and it felt as if I were trudging through thick mud. This often happens when I am on anxiety overload.

The excitement, emotional factors, and the uncertainty of taking my MS on a road trip had turned into a trifecta of stress that had propelled my body into slow motion. To ease my discomfort, I took short breaks to calm myself in between packing.

Due to a shortage of car space, I had to choose between taking my rollator walker or my wheelchair. I chose to take my walker, as I use that for short distances and my wheelchair only for longer excursions. I would just have to plan to not overuse my legs and to pace myself.

So, together with my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren, we began our heartrending journey.

The drive was beautiful, with waves of vivid colors leading to mountains topped with whipping cream. The closer we ventured to our destination, the more alive with color the landscape became. I began to envision myself as a brush stroke within the center of a beautiful oil painting.

Gazing out my window with the beauty flowing by, my mind drifted to thoughts of my husband. I now understand why he loved this area so much, as it is indeed a feast for the senses.

With the help of my husband’s cousin, our journey was soon complete. The scattering of my husband’s ashes was beautiful, freeing, and peaceful. It was all we could have asked for. My worries were for not.

A road trip while having MS was not the difficult journey I had imagined it might be. I experienced the same symptoms as I do at home. I made the same adaptions for my MS and used my regular attempts at comfort.

Instead of being home, I was out living, enjoying time with my family and sharing new experiences. I choose to continue living and venturing out from my safe haven, living and soaking in the beauty that is right outside my own front door. My husband would have liked that.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
Debi is a retired admissions and marketing director residing in Oregon. She is a mother of three grown children and has three grandchildren. She was diagnosed with PPMS in 2010. With her column, “Faith of the Mustard Seed,” she hopes to help and inspire others who are also dealing with MS.
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  1. Teresa Lawson says:

    Oh Debi, I am grateful you made the journey to scatter your husband’s ashes. Your inner and outer strength is more than you realize. Your words painted beautiful pictures every step of the story and I thank you for sharing your deep thoughts with me and others.
    Beauty surrounds us is so many ways, we just need to look for it. Bless you.

  2. Jay and Barbara Massman says:

    Debi, thank you for sharing. Your thoughts and fears are very close to mine. Your storytelling begs the question how were able to manage your MS while you and your husband were coping with his cancer. My God that must have been so difficult for both of you. I’m a 71yr old male with SPMS. My wife is healthy. We both admire your loving abilities and wish for you a future full of wonderful memories of your husband.
    Debi, thank you from the bottom of our hearts

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Thank-you so much Jay and Barbara! I appreciate your comments! You are correct, being my husband’s caregiver while having MS was the hardest time in my life. Watching my husband suffer, being so limited in how I could help him, it just was devastating! Here is an article I wrote last year when we first received his diagnosis. Best to you, Debi

  3. cynthia says:

    Thank you,Debi. You are so fortunate to have children and grandchildren to be there for you. My first husband died of an inherited bowel cancer that spread to his liver and pancreas. My MS was not as bad back in 1995, and with God’s help , and my mother and stepfather’s visits and care….I managed to get through that awful time. I felt as you do….I wanted to do things the way my husband would have wanted…and that brings its own sense of comfort and even accomplishment….and makes a difficult time a little easier.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Thank-you Cynthia, I am sorry for your loss.
      You are so right. Honoring my husband’s wishes has helped guide me through this process. I always appreciate your kind and encouraging words! Take care, Debi

  4. Lisa says:

    What a beautiful story. Even in death your husband gave you something precious. May you always cherish those memories. It is great that you were able to push through and go. Now you see that you can keep going and doing. Hopefully that will help alleviate any future anxiety (hard horrible stuff to work through) over packing and going on a journey. I hope you have many trips in your future!

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Thank-you Lisa! I plan on getting out more! To enjoy life and not let MS keep me down! I appreciate your encouraging comments! Take care, Debi

  5. Pamela Owen says:

    I found your words very comforting and knowing you better. You truly do have a blessing with your description of your trip. I did feel like I was there. God Bless you.

  6. Meegan Warne says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience. Your husband would be proud of you not only for your bravery in venturing outside of your comfort zone but also for your willingness to share your story. I applaud you for your courage. Your story inspires me to keep fighting and keep the faith even when things seem to be hopeless. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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