Packing up your house and moving hundreds of miles away can be a daunting task for a healthy body. Add multiple sclerosis into the mix and it can become terrifying. That’s not an over exaggeration either. Anyone that has moved can testify to it. The energy it takes to box up you entire life, load it into a moving truck and then unload everything a few days later, it wears a body out. A few years ago, I did just that. I had to make sense of the mess and the boxes that surrounded me as I worked to put my life back in order. To this day it’s still not back in order.
It’s kind of the same thing when diagnosed with MS. It’s as if one day life was going great and plans were set. Life seemed to be in order…then bam, it’s time to pack up and move from your normal, ordinary way of doing things into a new way of living filled with uncertainties, challenges and struggles, and almost on a daily basis. Sometimes those shifts are easy to make but sometimes they are the hardest decisions you could ever imagine possible.
When I got to my new house I had tough challenges making sure my living space was safe for a wheelchair user and that things were in a place allowing for my weak hands and limited reach… and making sure it was all as comfortable as possible.
I had to shift to using lighter silverware because my old ones were too heavy for me. I had a tendency to drop them in the middle of taking a bite. That created some interesting meal times. I also had to arrange my kitchen shelves much differently than a standing person would. My plates, bowls and glasses are all placed much lower in the cabinets so I can reach them without help. I actually use a grabber to pick things up that are only just a few inches away. Anything to help me save some energy.
There are so many changes we make as this disease progresses. One thing I have learned over the years, MS will strip you of your pride one way or another. It gets chiseled away little by little. You would think by now I would be pride-free, but I still have a hard time asking people for help. Not with everything, but sometimes I still find myself just wanting to do things on my own…even if I have to struggle in the process. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
It’s okay to have a stubbornness in you that refuses to give up. It’s okay to ask a friend to allow you to do something even if you struggle in the process. It’s okay to try, try, and try again all on your own. But it’s also important to know when to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong in asking someone to help you do something. The asking part gets easier, trust me. And besides, from my experience, people really do want to help. Many times they just don’t know what they can do so they pull back and do nothing. When you open up and become honest with others about your true, genuine needs, most are ready to jump in and be a support. We just have to ask.
And to the ones that aren’t a help…you learn who they are fairly quick and that’s when you start to lighten your load. I’ve throw a few boxes off the truck in my lifetime. Make sure the people around you are a support and not a hindrance. It’s okay to lighten the load.
Moving is tough…but it’s also rewarding. You learn who your true friends are in the process. Not may people are going to carry a heavy couch up three flights of stairs for you. Hold onto those people and be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. Sometimes we forget to tell them.