Monday, May 4, 2009

Does MS Ever Take A Day Off?

Sometimes it would be nice if my wife's MS just took a day off. Don't get me wrong, we have a great life and her health has done really well, but there are some days that it would be nice to not have to worry about resting, eating certain foods and being proactive. For example, working at a Children's Home my wife and I don't have a whole lot of opportunities to date or spend time together. When we do have an opportunity we really need to take it so that we can nurture our marriage and keep our sanity with all of the kiddos running around. The struggle comes in when we finally have some time but my wife is not feeling well due to her MS. The past few times this has happened, she is having stomach issues or is just so worn out that she really needs the rest. Once she rests, she is fine, but by that point we have missed one of the few opportunities we have to spend together.

I do have to say that this last year has been tough. My wife's MS hasn't progressed any, but it has been a nuisance. I think that is where the rub comes in. Even with healthy spouses, it takes work to keep a marriage healthy and growing. It takes time and energy to nurture your spouse, and when you give the leftovers to your marriage, it begins to show. We have many responsibilities at the home, and this week is no different. We have kids to tutor, counsel, play with and just spend time with, and then we need to nurture our own child and marriage. Multiple Sclerosis complicates all of this. It seems like when things are running smooth, that is when MS hits. It may just be a sour stomach, or a headache, or fatigue, but it affects life. It affects the raising of your child, it affects your marriage, it affects your job, and it affects your everyday life.

Sometimes it is the icing on the cake. Life is already pressing in from all sides and then BAM! MS attacks and pushes you over the edge. Maybe it is time you can't spend with your child or energy you don't have for your favorite activity, and the frustration hits. Many MS patients we speak to have major bouts of depression that can really sideline them from life. As a spouse, it is hard to watch your wife go into a depressed state from MS. My wife hasn't had to struggle too much with depression, but when it does hit, it can really cause issues. In those moments, I sometimes feel helpless. I think that is one of the hardest parts of being a spouse of someone with MS, the helplessness I so often feel. As a man, I want to "fix" things and MS doesn't work that way. So often I just have to play a support role with the understanding that what I am doing may not help the MS symptoms at all.

All of this frustrates me as a spouse, but I know it drives my wife nuts. She has to deal with her body not functioning properly and responding or her stomach disagreeing with everything she eats. My daughter also has to deal with the frustration of all of this. There have been missed activities at school, missed opportunities to spend time with her and broken promises due to MS. All of this is really hard to swallow at times, but I wouldn't change anything about the choices I have made. I have a beautiful wife, a beautiful daughter and a life that is always changing and evolving and even though there are times I want to scream, I would do it all over again. Multiple Sclerosis doesn't seem to take a day off in our lives, but we always have choices. We will continue to do what we know and learn more ways to take back control of our lives, and live as fully as we can everyday. Multiple Sclerosis is a nuisance, but it doesn't have to be our life.

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