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.
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