Saturday, October 1, 2011

I Walk Because...

Mark and I are the typical couple.  And like a typical couple, I occasionally steal some of his big T-shirts when the ratio of clean to dirty laundry is getting off balance - which is quite often.  But there's one shirt that I never wear.  It's the one that says:

I walk because I have MS.

Mark describes his uncertain diagnosis as not being allowed in a club, but still getting all the "benefits" - of course in this club, "benefits" are things like paralysis, numbness, nerve pain, etc.  You can read all about why he walks here.  But why he walks and why I walk are two different reasons.  So I'm going to tell you why I walk.


I walk because I refuse to give in.  When they were first diagnosing Mark (he calls it all the poking and prodding), I felt like a helpless bystander.  And as we got more and more bad test results and news we didn't want to hear, I just wanted to curl up and die.  I didn't eat or drink anything for 2 days.

After his spinal tap, we brought him home to rest and our friends came over to see him.  I ran into my room sobbing and just laid there and cried.  I knew everyone was out there and I just couldn't face them.  I didn't want to see the look in their eyes.  I didn't want to see the concern.  I didn't want to think of my "hero" as anything but who he'd always been - strong, healthy, and always there.


Those first few months were the worst.  It seemed like our whole life was MS.  The world had stopped and we were stuck in MS City.  It's all anyone would talk to me about - "How's Mark?"  Here I was, just barely holding it together, the only thing keeping me moving was distracting myself from it, and it was thrown in my face again and again.


Each time someone asked, my heart would sink and break into a million pieces all over again.  And no one would ask Mark directly.  Here, he was the one who seemed to get real benefit from talking about it with people, and instead they would ask me.


And the drugs, the horrible, horrible drugs.  For two years, I lost the person I knew as Mark.  It was so gradual, that I didn't even realize it until he got on a new medicine.  All of a sudden, he was back.  Oh yeah, there's the person I fell in love with.  He had lost that playful, sweet, patient, kind piece of his personality.  And I was left with a stranger.


I think I learned about love during those two years.  Even though my Mark was gone, I resolved to love the new Mark.  Love as a choice, not as an infatuation or conditional state.

I think the worst is the uncertainty.  We had so many plans.  We've given up so many plans.  Thinking about all the "what ifs".  When I think about them, I am paralyzed.  If I thought about them, I'm not really sure how I could get through life.  I don't think about them.  We have today.  And I live in today.

I don't think I'd be sitting here typing this today if I hadn't found the sweet peace and comfort in Jesus Christ.  Anyone who reads this blog, knows that He is a big part of my life.  What a lot of people don't know is that there was a long period in my life before Christ that I suffered with suicidal thoughts and cutting.  Praise God that He has healed me from those desperate thoughts.


The strength that I find to get up each morning and face our life, no matter the circumstances, is from Him.  I beg Him each day for the comfort only He can give me in the face of these circumstances.  To live each day in the knowledge of MS, and also the struggles we have with Corbin's disabilities is hard.  It would be easy to give up and wallow in my own little pity party.

This life is filled with sadness, but it is also filled with sweet joy and hope.  My husband is amazing.  He's the strongest person I know, and............
my heart tells me I can't live without him.

But my heart also knows that I will never be without him no matter what the circumstances.  And I will always be there for him - even if my hard shell defenses sometimes give him less than the sympathetic ear he truly deserves.  I guess that's just me protecting myself.

I love my husband so much, but I hate MS.  It's robbed us of so much, and it continues to rob us every day.  I wish I could take this burden from him, but I can't.  I wish someone could understand what it's like to stand by and watch your husband suffer, unable to do anything - not many do.

Most relate better to Mark - I think that's easier to get your head around.  I have deep respect for all the spouses out there who silently have MS or other chronic illnesses- not in a physical way, but in an emotional way.  I may not suffer the physical effects of MS, but it has certainly ravaged my life.

Personally, the MS Walk is the hardest day of the year for me.  Going there and meeting with all the other people suffering with MS is a reminder.  A reminder about how ugly this disease is.  I try not to compare Mark to anyone else.

My daily prayer, is that this disease would stay at bay - that we continue to have success with the drugs and therapies.  And seeing the different progressions of the disease on walk day shakes me to my core.

Having our friends and family around me that day is the only thing that gets me through.  And I appreciate each and every one of you who have supported us throughout the years. Your presence means more to me than I could ever possibly express.

We participate in the MS Walk each year as a reminder.  A reminder that we are still here, we are still struggling, but we are also still living.  And each year we celebrate the gift of another year of life.

I walk because I refuse to give up - there is so much life left to live and I am not going to waste one second of it.  Mark was diagnosed in 2005 and since then we have lived each day to the fullest - in just 6 short years we have had so much joy - 2 beautiful boys added to our family and days filled with laughter and love.


If you'd like to join us this year, the MS Walk is being held at Dell Diamond on Oct 29th (a saturday).  You can access our team page here.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing what a struggle it is - but the peace and joy you find in Christ!