I thought that since I let everyone know about the dire possibility that I might have MS, I should also pass along the relieving news that the tests came back negative. I only just heard back today, a full week after the test was run. (This may have been due to an oversight on the doctor’s part, rather than the results taking that long to process.)
I went through quite a metamorphosis in the past week, though, emotionally.
At first, I was sure it was just a false alarm. Then I read about the disease. (Admittedly, only on Wikipedia, but…) It felt like my symptoms matched up with the “progressive” type of MS alarmingly well. And when I read further, I saw that people diagnosed with progressive MS tend to live, at most, thirty years past the onset of the disease.
And my symptoms started ten years ago.
When I realized what that would mean if the tests came back positive, I started crying. Because it also said that there was currently no real treatment for progressive MS, and that suicide was very common among sufferers. And I had to recognize that if I was facing no chance to alleviate these symptoms, and if they were going to keep getting worse for the next twenty years…by about year ten, suicide would probably look irresistible.
So, at first, horror, fear, and despair.
Followed by the realization that I’ve pretty much wasted the first forty years of my life, and if I was only going to get about ten more, there was no way I was going to live them the same way.
I started making all these plans.
I’ve been living on a relatively small inheritance all this time, trying not to do anything big enough to spend it too soon. But if there was no “too soon” in the cards, then I was going to start living larger.
I was going to travel, see all the places in the world that I had always wanted to. Mentally, I was making lists of the places I knew I absolutely needed to see. (I was determined not to write anything down until it was made official, of course.)
Of course, someone like me isn’t built — mentally or physically — to travel all the time, so I was just going to travel maybe one month of the year, and for the rest of the year I’d work at the museum, try to get a decent novel written at last, or maybe even keep working on my MA.
But then I finally heard back from the doctor, and the life that had been cancelled has no longer been cancelled.
I’m all for not having a death sentence hanging over my head. (Of course, given my obesity, one could easily make the case that I still have one.)
But I was actually kind of looking forward to the freedom and the travelling. To giving up on “doing what I should” and just doing what I want. To finally going out there and living.
It’s going to be more complicated to make it work now, but I still want to travel. To see all those sights.
I want to go back and see the rest of Europe, as well as returning to the bits I saw more than ten years ago. (Some of England and a little bit of Scotland.) I want to go back to Peru and see the Nazca Lines, Sipan, and everything else I missed. (Like anything in the Andes Mountains. For that matter, I didn’t even see the mountains themselves!) I want to see Mayan ruins in Mesoamerica. I want to go to Turkey and see Troy and Hattusa and the enormous goddess statue carved on Mt. Siyplus, among numerous other sites. (Yes, I mean “sites,” as in “archaeological sites.” Though technically “sights” would also work.) I want to go to Egypt. And to see Petra in Jordan. I want to go to Japan and China and New Zealand and…pretty much everywhere.
It’s just that I can’t abandon my studies. And I have to worry about not using up my meager funds.
But I feel like what’s the point of not having my life cancelled if I’m not going to actually live it?