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Six Weeks. Three Months. And, Now.

Emily Jacob

It’s been three months since the diagnosis. I got the call on 1st February, it was the morning, I was meeting colleagues in London for a team meeting. The first words out of my mouth, on meeting my colleague who’d flown over from Canada in the flesh for the first time, were, I’ve been diagnosed with MS, and I burst into tears.

The neurologist hadn’t wanted to tell me the news over the phone. I knew what it was going to be anyway, and I pretty much insisted. He even came in on a Sunday to give me the full lowdown briefing. He was great. But the timing of being given the news could’ve been better…

I’d diagnosed myself six weeks before, when the symptoms started. When I first saw the doctor complaining of the pins & needles in my feet that wouldn’t go away, he asked me what I was frightened of it being, and he almost couldn’t control his laughter when he said that it definitely couldn’t be that because MS doesn’t show up in both sides at the same time. It does if what you have is transverse myelitis which is a one in a million shot, so fine that the doctor hadn’t come across it before. A GP is not supposed to be an expert is something that’s so rare.

This first post was going to be about how I am now. And suddenly I don’t want to write about how I am now. Most of the day has been spent in tears, or holding back tears. It’s a miracle I was able to get the work done I did. And of course, I’m not only petrified about the MS these days, I’m also petrified about the job. And the impending tax bill at the end of the year. The latter of which is totally my fault. Except if I hadn’t already wasted the first four months of the year not making my other business create some revenue to pay it, wouldn’t be so scary… Time is running out to fill that hole, if the job goes then that hole is even more impossible to fill (as is making rent), and I have no energy or inclination to do anything except feel sorry for myself. How does someone with no crash landing pad, just a lot of debt, and no-one to pick up the pieces do depression? When I had it before, I had savings.

I don’t think I’m depressed though. Not yet. Could do without needing the codeine, and the diazepam, quite so much. Although for both the amounts are small at the moment, and I’m not taking every day even. I can feel myself circling the abyss though, looking in, seeing how murky and dark and deep it is, again. I worked so hard to clamber out before, I am too often just entertaining the thoughts of why bother this time. Why bother. And that type of thinking doesn’t have a good resolution.

My patience with life is being tested.

My hope is that by writing, I will unstick myself and pull myself far away from that abyss. The danger is, of course, that writing just reinforces the pain and the reasons why the abyss is there. But, better out than in. Maybe, just maybe, by sharing how much I’m hurting, I’ll find a way to not hurt so much.

Three months and six weeks later. 2018 was going to be the year I got all the things done. Turned around ReConnected Life. Settled into my home here in Oxford. Found someone to settle down with. Instead I have MS. And I have to put myself back together again, except this time, there is no putting myself back together, there is only learning how to ride this wave.

Before, I knew that getting my head back together and my life back together would be difficult. I knew that I might have to learn to live with PTSD, not actually overcome it as I eventually did. I knew that I would have to learn to live with all the pains in my past. But I also knew that I could choose how to live my life. And now I can’t. Or, not entirely. There are now limits, and I don’t know when they’ll be.

This is a mess of a first post. But it’s the start of a clearing out of emotions and pain and hurt, and maybe when I’ve written a few more of these I’ll notice that I’m getting better, that I’m learning how to live with this. Maybe. Because that’s my motto isn’t it, #itgetsbetter. It better bloody well be true for this too.