I was diagnosed with MS in 1998. That was over 19 years ago. It’s 42.2% of my life. That’s a long time. There’s only one sure thing with a chronic disease, it holds true with any situation, the only part fully in your control is
Yes, you could eat right, take the medicine as directed, exercise, not smoke, and not do drugs, these are all wonderful things that may slow down a disease, but it won’t cure one. Are the miracle stories out there, absolutely. Those are exceptions not the rule. 99.9% of us aren’t getting that lucky way out. The rest of us will do everything we can to help slow it down, but that’s usually the best we can do. That’s why I say only thing that’s in our control is our attitude and our thinking.
When I would have a relapse, I would have to go through a steroid infusion. I would take 1000 mg per day for four days. Steroids are horrible drug. The side effects were probably worse than the relapse. I would cry through each infusion for each of the four days. I cry until my mother would say to me, “Jamie you need to get your head on straight.” It was always like a reality check. Once my head back together, I was able to start feeling better.
With a bad attitude, it gets you nowhere. Feeling sorry for yourself, having pity, or just being depressed doesn’t help. It won’t help you feel better, it won’t take away the disease, and that kind of thinking actually will make it worse. People don’t realize what depression and stress really does to the body. For me, I would get stressed out from life and a month or two later I’d have an MS relapse. It really doesn’t matter what the issue was that stressed me out, I didn’t handle stress well. I would create a negative world around me. I’d internalize it, and basically it was like attacking my own body from the inside out. Except with MS, I literally was attacking my body from the inside out. They say that stress doesn’t affect in MS, but I saw this repetition for the first 12 years of having this disease. I wish I was writing a blog back then. I wish I knew then what I know now. I guess that’s why they say hindsight is 20/20.
Attitude and positive thinking, I can’t say how important it is. I’m not saying that you’re not gonna have a bad day. You can go to my blog and you can pull them out, I had many. I throw wonderful pity parties for myself. However even when the dust settles, I’m still in the same boat, just now I’ve wasted days paddling around in circles. It’s very hard to be positive all the time when you have a chronic disease. I think on those bad days, give the pity party a time limit . If you want to throw that party, then the party runs from 6 to 8 (or 9-5 or Tuesday all day, etc) and everybody goes home. You can’t live in that deep dark place that we’ve all been to if you had a chronic illness. The only way to get through living and face what you have to face is to have the right attitude.