Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holiday Memories And A Little Magic

"Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better."
-Albert Camus

I've always tried to take my kids to see fireworks on the 4th.
But with last summer being my first with MS, and it being the hottest summer in existence (atleast to me) we didn't make it and I can't tell you how sad I was to miss it.
When I was a little girl, my parents would always take me to the next town over to the festivities at this huge park. They had carnival rides, food vendors, and an orchestra that would play patriotic music while you waited for it to get dark enough for the fireworks to start.
I always knew it was time when my mom would lay out my favorite old quilt on the grass and my father would say "Ok boogitt (that was his nickname for me because I loved to dance or "boogie", if you will) it's time to get ready." Then he and I would lay down on the quilt and stare up at the sky.
When the fireworks started, it looked like they were bursting right over our heads. My favorites were the ones that had the little sparkles that would rain down and they always looked like they were going to land right on us.
Two years ago, the summer before my diagnosis, I took my monkeys to my hometown for the holiday and we went to the same park and, when it came time for the fireworks to start, I remembered what I used to do with my dad and I decided to do the same thing with my kids.
They didn't understand what we were doing until the first firework burst in the sky and it looked like it was sparking right above our heads, just for us. After two or three fireworks had gone off, the oldest monkey turned her head towards me (but still keeping her eyes on the sky, just in case) and whispered "Momma! I had no idea you could do magic!!"
I didn't know if they would remember that night, that would probably seem so long ago in "kid years" but, this morning, when I told them we were going to go see fireworks, both girls got so excited and the center monkey said to me "Can you do that thing with the magic again, momma? Please?!?!?" I can't even put into words how happy it made me that they remembered that night the way I do.
I hope all of you enjoy your holiday in any way you can.
I just have one request.
No matter what you do today, stay safe, take care of yourselves, and don't forget to add a little magic.
Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Guess It's Been A While....

It seems a little funny to me that I started this blog as a form of therapy to help me deal with my journey down the winding road of MS, and yet, when it gets rough the last thing I feel like doing is writing about it.

I've made some decisions over the last few months that I feel were the best for me.
First of all, I decided to stop taking the antidepressant that I was put on the same day I was diagnosed.
I was taking Effexor XR 75 mgs, two a day, which adds up to 150 mgs.
Now, I'm not going to bash antidepressants because, honestly, I don't know how I would have made it through the first six months, hell even the first year, after my diagnosis without them. They made me numb and during those times, numbness was very welcome.
After I hit my year mark, even though I was feeling better physically at times, mentally I was in a very negative place. Pessimism has never really been my thing, you know?
But more than that, even though I wasn't "depressed", I also noticed that I wasn't anything else either. I was never happy or excited, I didn't look forward to things the way I used to. I was just here, a body on the floor, going through the motions but never truly experiencing any of it.
I couldn't make decisions for myself, even about simple things like what to make for dinner. I would stand in front of the freezer, door open, staring blankly at nothing and then I always ended up texting The Hubs to ask him what he wanted for dinner.
I decided that it was time for me to see how I was without the anti's.
I honestly felt like I was wandering into something unknown. I didn't know myself with MS without the numbness.
I wish I had taken a picture of The Hubs' and my MS specialist's faces when I told them at one of my appointments that I was going to quit taking the Effexor. My specialist said "Oh, it's not working? I'll write you a script for something better then."
Then I sprung it on them.."No they aren't working but, for now, my plan is to wean off of the Effexor and then see how I am without antidepressants."
{SILENCE}This picture is almost perfect because this is basically the expression on both of their faces.
They both tried to talk me out of it but, for the first time in over a year, I had made a decision and I was sticking with it. The ironic thing, atleast to me, is that they feel they should watch me like a ticking bomb now since I've stopped them. I didn't say it but I thought "You should have been watching before, when I was still on them." But I didn't think it was neccessary to draw unwanted attention to myself.
I started weaning myself off of them, hoping that if I did it slowly I wouldn't go through withdrawal from them. It didn't work and the withdrawal was awful!
For two and a half weeks I couldn't keep any food down, I was in the most intense pain that went throughout my entire body, and I didn't have the energy to do anything. I also lost 22 pounds in those two and a half weeks. That was rough.
But I stayed strong and kept myself focussed on the end goal: I wanted to have feelings again. I wanted to see if any of my old self still existed inside of my body.
And eight days in, I knew it was going to be worth it.
I was getting the girls ready for school one morning and the oldest monkey did something goofy and it made me laugh. Both of them stopped what they were doing and stared at me like I had grown horns. When I asked them what was wrong, the oldest monkey replied "You haven't laughed like that in a long time!" and the center monkey followed up with "That was a real laugh, not like when you're doing a fake laugh just to make us happy!"
I didn't know what to say but my mind went insane. I started thinking things like "I thought I was doing great at playing the role of a real person but they knew anyway. What have I been giving them all this time?"
And now, six weeks free of them, I feel better than I have in a long, long time.
That's not to say I haven't had my bad moments but, honestly, who doesn't have them? They're a part of life, whether we like it or not, right?
Honestly, I'll gladly welcome those bad moments if it means that they will be followed up by some really great ones too.
And, on the brighter side, I've found that some of the "Original Me" is still in here and she's been dying to get out.
Go figure....