When I was younger, I used to have this thought. To me, it felt almost wrong to think it, like I needed to be careful what went through my mind. I never told anyone; people would think it was selfish. People would ask why in the world would I think about such things. I don’t know, maybe its a side effect of growing up with a chronic disease. I never knew anything different, growing up with diabetes. So, I suppose I didn’t really have that adjustment period that comes with a chronic disease. I lived it, so when I was older, it got easier to smile about it and make jokes. Of course, I had my hard times. How can you not? I knew my diabetes was something to take seriously, but hey, I’d been okay for years. However, it never stopped me from thinking,
“What would happen if I was diagnosed with something else later in life? How would I handle that? What if I was diagnosed with cancer or something?”
Morbid, right? Yeah, I know. I wish I was kidding. I’d push the thought out of my mind because, hey, be careful what you “wish for”, right? Now, of course, I didn’t wish it. But I thought about it.
Last night I had a dream…
I don’t remember all of it, and I’m almost glad I don’t.
I just remember that I was at work. I had followed my usual morning routine. But, at work, I was feeling frustrated. I remember that in my dream I was having trouble walking, again. I remember hanging on to the desk at the nurses’ station as I tried to go about my job duties. I remember thinking to myself that I took a pill that morning (no idea what it was); was that causing my symptoms (you know how it is in dreams…nothing really makes a whole lot of sense)? Anyway, I remember crying in the hallway because I couldn’t do my job, I couldn’t take care of my patients, and I was frustrated.
And I remember waking up suddenly, my eyes wet with tears. It took a minute for me to come back to reality and remember that I wasn’t going through a relapse. With that I breathed a sigh of relief, rolled over, and closed my eyes again.
I’ve never dreamt of MS before. It’s interesting because usually I use sleep to escape the constant awareness of my diseases during the day. Why was I at work in my dream? Probably because I’d had a bad day and that was embedded in my subconscious. That’s really no surprise. Just the other day I had someone tell me that I wouldn’t understand what he/she has gone through for the last several years because I am young. When moments like that happen, it takes everything to not correct them. It takes everything to stay quiet and tell them it’s not fair to make assumptions based on my age. So, really, I’m not entirely surprised my MS showed up in my dream.
But, you know what? Who am I? True, I’m not always strong. I’m not always put together. But I do wake up every day fighting, as best as I can. I grew up a fighter. I fought my diabetes when I swam competitively – my blood sugars were never stellar; I fought my diabetes in nursing school when my schedule was never stable; I fought my blood sugar in times of stress; I fight those feelings at work for the good of the patient, because I do know it’s hard. I guess when I had those thoughts when I was younger, I never thought it would actually come true. And I never realized how hard it is to actually get up every day and fight it all over again, like you didn’t the day before.
I’ve learned a lot over the past year about myself, about my faith, and about fighting. At first, with my MS, I didn’t fight. I was tired of fighting. I lost sight of my will to fight at the prospect of fighting relapses my whole life that could cost me some quality of life (physically). Being a nurse, I see so many patients who are sick of fighting. I see so many who have given up, and I realize how rare it is to truly know a person who fights every day of their life. In response to that question I used to ask my younger self, I used to think,
“If that ever were to happen, I’d use that experience for good. I’d use it to inspire. I’d use it to show people that struggle can turn into victory. I’d use it to bring glory to God.”
I don’t really know how I’m doing so far. I’ve made quite a few mistakes along the way this past year if I was trying to accomplish that goal. I’ve cried. I’ve been depressed. And, I’m sure that has surfaced in my blogging. But I knew that fight was still in me somewhere, and I knew I wanted to use that fight for something productive. I wanted to make God proud. And I want to make the people that love me proud. I’ve had diabetes for 21 years and I’ve had MS for a little over a year. I haven’t spent all of those days fighting, but I’ve tried to spend most of them that way. People ask me where I get my attitude. I get it from years of fighting, and I get it from the strength God gives me every day. If you’re going through something hard, take heart. It gets better. You can come out the other side, and you will with God on your side. And, if anybody ever needs anything, I’m here. Thanks for reading.
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
-1 Timothy 6:12