All I can say is wow. It has been 3 years since I have had to be on steroids for an MS attack. Wow. For 3 years I have been able to wake up each day and get up, even though each day I sit on the edge of my bed, wondering, before rising, if my leg muscles will work. For 3 years I have continued to improve on the medication called Ampyra. In those 3 years, my world has been turned "downside up," meaning life has become so much better, manageable, possible, less overwhelming, amazing, wonderful, and the list could go on. It hasn't been easy - what I have never is. It doesn't make any sense - other therapies haven't worked, have caused allergic reactions, have had side effects - and this medication comes along and works - and then neurologists say an MS diagnosis doesn't really fit me - and on and on - and I try to make sense of what does not seem to make sense to so many - including me - the impossible as possible - downside up.
Today I woke up, sat on the edge of the bed and wondered, would my legs work? And they did - I never take it for granted.
This past Sunday the gospel lesson was Luke 8: 26-39. The main point of this lesson is something about swine being drowned and the loss of bacon. :) No, that's just to make you go look up the text if you want.
The text is about a man who has demons inside of him, or he had some kind of mental disease, which Jesus cured. When people came to see this, "they were afraid." As the sermon in our church went, one can imagine why these people were afraid, because they had treated the man badly; would the man now remember how they had treated him?
That text isn't about me; I'm not a pastor and have no religious "authority" to explain it. That's my disclaimer statement. But it's kind of a "fun"text to use when I substitute me. It's my blog - the beauty of it, if you want to call it beauty, is doing whatever I want with it.
A woman (that would be me) had a disease for a long time and it kept taking away abilities of hers, so much so that she didn't even realize some of the many abilities she had lost, because she learned to compensate. Others mainly treated her very well, although a few questioned, without basis, her mental abilities.
Then a miracle drug came along and within 2 days of taking it, the woman was standing for longer than she had in years. Many people were happy for her and noticed many of the abilities she found again. She continued to improve and to this day, does not know how much further she can improve.
In a way, this woman feels like, perhaps, the man from the gospel text must have felt. She was not put away by herself, although at many times she felt alone and put away by herself, because that can be the inherent nature of disability.
As she got better, it was very exciting for her.
The gospel text leaves out what happens to the man next? How did people treat him? Did he remember how they had treated him?
The woman (me) of course didn't forget how people treated her - both good and bad. Her world was turned downside up... things are so much better. The same people who were supportive before she began the new medicine were supportive after she started the medicine. The people who were not supportive before the medicine? Well, to be honest, they still weren't supportive. Ampyra, the "Jesus" medicine if you really stretched things (which I'm not trying to do) really helped equip her to deal with these people. Only once did they run her down to the point where she questioned why she was being targeted, she questioned how she could hold everything together, and she did get sick, though did not have an MS attack.
So the man in the gospel? My bet is he still had to deal with at least a fraction of people who tormented prior to him being cured. This is human nature.
But the point is also not to dwell on these things. The point is to move forward. The woman continued to move forward. She recovered from the sickness, rested, and did not have an MS attack. She maintains friendships with the people who were always supportive. She has, at least for now, rid herself of those who never supported her.
And so I continue to move on. I'm starting new physical therapy tomorrow. I have goals. The goals get harder, but I want to meet them.
I'm celebrating 3 years of being able to stand today. It's a gift. Thanks to God for the miracles in life we don't see coming, that don't make any sense, and that turn our worlds downside-up.