So Grateful

How much will this blasted disease steal from me???

We all know my problems walking, but over the past few weeks I’ve been having trouble with my left hand too! How much will this blasted disease steal from me??? If I do a lot in one particular day, maybe by 7pm my left hand will start giving me trouble. Trouble that renders me unable to do anything that requires precision in both hands. At night, it becomes dangerous for me to use the stove and aggravating to dress and undress myself.

I remember this happening to me in the past. You would think it wouldn’t catch me off guard like this. I notice that it only happens when I push my body a bit too hard. By now I should be able to gauge when it’s time to stop something. But obviously, I’m still figuring this out. Because when it does happen it scares the dickens right out of me. All I can think of is a bunch of “what ifs?” What if my hand doesn’t come back? What if this is my new normal? How in the world am I going to fasten my bra? Then the mental commentary begins to spiral downhill from there. My leaky bladder, my almost nonexistent balance, the fatigue that shows up and causes me to shut down. My thoughts only temporarily slowed to consider that my right hand was doing fine and my walking though wobbly hadn’t changed.

I should have given more time and effort to that brief thought. Or even remembered that I could be so much worse off. I often dwell on the things I cannot do. Or on the things I miss doing. But I’m happy to report that over the last couple of days, I am nearly back to normal. Furthermore, I am typing normally. Yes!

We went to church this Saturday, like we try to do consistently. The priest so befittingly reminded me that gratitude is the bridge that leads between problems and possibilities. Notice he said possibilities not solutions or in my case cures. He made a point to emphasize… possibilities. So I need to have hope for greater possibilities while being grateful for what I already have.

I regret only briefly considering the things I can do, like my functioning right hand, mental fortitude and my power to choose my attitude toward my circumstance.

I’m so grateful I can type this post today.

So grateful.

Author: Nicole Lemelle

My name is Nicole Lemelle. I am a writer, activist and a person living with Multiple Sclerosis. I created My New Normals to educate those who do not understand MS, reassure people with similar plights and inspire everyone to seize command of their lives.

47 thoughts on “So Grateful”

  1. Hi Nicole,
    As always, you write to have me reflect. Thanks:) It reminds me of a man who had his leg amputated. Someone asked him if he felt helpless and he replied by saying that although he had one leg taken, he still had three more. And he was grateful.

    Take good care!

  2. Hi Nicole… sorry to hear this and can empathise – my left hand also shuts down totally occasionally without warning – usually after ‘overdoing’ it but, like you, there’s never a hint that you are reaching the ‘doing’ limit. I find it helpful to look for things to be grateful about when I get angry at the ‘thief’. Can I say that I am full of admiration for your approach to life but more specically for reaching into the polite bag to pull out the word ‘Dickens’!

    1. Ian,
      You just made me giggle. I had to be polite. My parents read this. I really want to touch upon sex, but though I’ve been married for going on 10 years now, I’m still embarrassed!!!!!

      1. Um… what is thing called sex of which you speak? Damn MS memory. The opening lines of Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale could be just as apt if re-named Ode to a Nightinbed… perhaps changing the word ‘sense’ to a more biological region… “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains my sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk…”

      2. SEX….I’ll touch on it for you Nicole! I;m 58 yrs old, married 33 yrs & to put it bluntly, sex is non existant. i’m lucky if i can get my legs open wide enough to pee! I will say I def feel robbed, as I am sure my husband feels also. I miss the closeness of intimacy. Now that the children are gone, we should be able to have some fun (not just sex) doing all we dreamed we;d do when we were younger…but I am grateful for what we did have & what we have now. Sex isn’t always the answer (sometimes it helps) but it is the relationship & the love/respect we have for one another that counts. My husband is my ROCK and for him I am grateful!!

          1. Psst… Private huddle over here, Nicole. I hate to be the one to break the news but, unless you are adopted, your parents have had sex. I’m sure they will be okay with you tackling the subject. Perhaps lead off with a PG rating so they can guide themselves elsewhere if uncomfortable? It is something for MSers that can be the elephant in the room.

    2. Ian,
      You just made me giggle. I had to be polite. My parents read this. I really want to touch upon sex, but tough I’ve been married for going on 10 years now, I’m embarrassed!!!!!

    3. Ian,
      You just made me giggle. I had to be polite. My parents read this. I really want to touch upon sex, but though I’ve been married for going on 10 years now, I’m embarrassed!!!!!

  3. I like this post. I’m grateful my wife buttons my shirts to save me from beginning each morning frustrated and running late. I’m grateful I have work and get to home to a family who loves me.

  4. Hi Nicole,
    I too am grateful you could type this article and the previous ones as well, don’t forget those! After reading this post and the one on “losing control” it made me think of a comment you made about your spiritual gurus. I can honestly say that without my spiritual life and my faith in God that I don’t know how I would have dealt with everything that I’ve been through since my diagnosis in 2006. Talk about a “train wreck”! Thankfully I have survived and I’m able to appreciate and be grateful for the little things in life. I’ve found gratitude to be a useful tool in getting through the tough times we all struggle with and have gone so far as to make a “gratitude list” that’s available lest I forget the positive things in my life. And I’m pleased to say that your name goes on that list for you have been a blessing to many. Keep on keepin on!
    Tim

  5. I have trouble fastening my bra sometimes…bum right hand. I just saw the commercial for the Genie Bra. It looks like it might be an option? Thanks for your uplifting and always positive blog! I know it’s not always easy to stay that way.

    1. I’ve heard of the Genie bra & have considered it; however, due to the inability to pull it over my head (only 1 working hand/arm) balance & stability issues, then how do I get it over the girls? I have found that at this age, it is easier to just go w/o, unless I am going out in public of course.

  6. Get your spine checked out, esp. if you have had an injury. I am 58yrs, fell into a metal door jam when I was 2yrs. and got 4 stitches in forehead. Just this month, I have found a chirpractor that specializes in corrected your spine at the TOP–she showed me x-rays and my head is LOP-Sided, trying to rest on my spine. Yikes!!! If Dr. Heide can make corrections after all these years, thank God, it may relieve some of my symptoms that were thrown in the MS Bucket-!!

  7. We have a choice everyday what attitude we will have. I am Primary Progressive so attitude is so very important. I can’t change my health, or dictate how people feel about me and I can’t change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is my attitude. My attitude can make or break me. I choose to have a good attitude everyday but I slip sometimes and feel sorry for myself. Hopefully that feeling passes soon and I go into a positive mode.

  8. Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for continuing to blog about your course with our shared disease. I feel the urge to say something positive to encourage you to persevere but I can’t think of anything to say that doesn’t sound like hollow platitudes.

    So I’ll just say I hear you, I feel you and to the extent I can with my own very different course, I understand you. I imagine it is very difficult and scary. And I find you to be very brave, sharing your struggles for anyone and everyone to read. I’ll keep reading as long as you are writing.

    Pete

  9. I know that had to be hard. When I went through of phase of losing parts. I had to think and remind myself how I hadn’t forgot how to do it. Just becuz I couldn’t feel it the object is still there. By continuing I started gaining my sensations back. I enjoyed reading

  10. Thank you Nicole – this has been a trying time for me because I a losing vision in my right eye. It seems that optic neuritis issue has decided to appear. I can’t worry about things I have no control over but just thank God I can see and I do have one very good eye; I am grateful for all God has done because I could be worse. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

  11. Nicole, I lost the use of my right [dominant] hand, not all at once, but over a few years. It bothers me that I can’t write, eat properly, draw, paint, play the piano, or do needlework. Sometimes I remember to be grateful for all that I still have, but I need reminders (like your post today!)
    BTW — to attach that garment of which you mention: hook it while it’s not on you. Then slip it on from the floor up, while you sit, then briefly stand. I’ve been using this method for quite a while and it works great for me!
    Peace,
    Muff

  12. Nicole,
    Do you use patientslikeme.com? There is a wonderful forum for just for us with progressive MS. I think you’ll find a lot of the support and information you’ve been looking for.

  13. I have to take a moment to tell you- I look so forward to your article every week. I find you so inspirational… When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade! So often, dark thoughts creep into our minds and try to bring us down. And at times it is SO easy to succumb to them. I have tried to keep a positive outlook through my whole situation with MS, and I truly believe that is why I am where I am at today with it. Thanks again Nicole! Keep it up!

  14. Nicole, I could agree with your priest. I, too, believe that gratitude is important in our every-day living. I think that without it, I would move along sour about my new normal (although for me it’s been 19 years since my MS diagnosis). How could I do that to my family for whom I am so grateful to have in my life? My own motto is “Accept and Adapt.” I think I will alter that to “…and be Grateful.”
    Thank you for reminding people of what is important.
    Lauren B. Grossman
    “Once in Every Generation”

  15. Hi there, I see you posting your blog in the Doctors FB group, and I’ve read them.
    I have a few team business partners and friends that had MS and had major issues with it, where they could not function some were suggested to join the Challenge and try the shakes and see how it could help them. If they can walk now and literally have noticed a huge improvement, that’s why I recommending it to anyone I hear that has MS or any other illnesses to good nutrition, because that’s all it is.
    If you are interested, I can send you information and you can check out the ingredients, faq info and even bring it to your doctor. I really hope it can help you and you will not experience pain and suffering, and I’m glad you can continue to blog and be positive and strong through this. if this could help you, think of all the many others it can help just by belief/trust that you can do it. take care and I wish you luck and hope to hear from you as I’d love to help you.

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