Not long ago, I dreamed I was running. Again. It was the first time I’d had the dream in a while. It was always the same, “Been Caught Stealing,” or something like it roaring in my headphones, me in stride and rhythm with the song. And then just as I was really flying, it was over.
I have not been able to run since 2010. Every time I think I’ve forgotten it, the dream would pop back into my head and the whole process would start over. Kind of like getting over a lost love and then bumping into them again.
This time was different.
Dec. 27 will mark the fifth anniversary of my MS diagnosis. (Like a lot of people with the disease, my first symptoms appeared many years before diagnosis.) After five years, I think I’ve finally learned how to have MS and achieved a sort of “MS Zen.” Maybe not Zen with a capital Z, borne of meditation, spirituality, diet, etc., but rather more of a lowercase Z, with me paying attention just for a minute.
That counts for something, right?
In early November, my PT/MS life coach Barb told me I should quit trying to manhandle myself into better shape like I once could. Trying to do so, she said, was likely exacerbating my problems. It was at the height of my trucker butt, and on the heels of rotator cuff surgery and a couple of bad falls. “You’re just not that person anymore,” she said gently.
It wasn’t the first time she’d shared that advice. It was, however, the first time I had bothered to hear it, then actually listen to and follow it.
We developed a much less strenuous exercise routine, and I am now feeling better than I’ve felt in a long time. Dealing with the physical challenges and debilitation of the disease seems to be a little bit easier, at least for me. Within the last six months, I’ve discovered that as MS goes, my brand of the disease — primary progressive MS, or PPMS — is at least somewhat predictable, and perhaps naïvely, I find that comforting.
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