Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Do You Fear?

“But I’m scared of your health....”

Wow, that’s a loaded statement now isn’t it? Who isn’t scared of (or for) their health when they’ve got a chronic, non-curable, progressive and unpredictable disease? And what if you have more than one....

Well, that’s a whole hell of a lot of fear which one could carry around!! I don’t know about you but my load is heavy enough to carry alone without adding anyone else’s to it.

What do people naturally do when they are afraid? They avoid things associated with those fears, whether directly or indirectly. Does that make the source of fear go away? No.

Here, let me share something. I’m afraid of what the future holds. I’m afraid of what MS and RA have the power to do to my life, if I give them full reign. I’m afraid of that evil monster of mine which goes by the name of depression. I truly hate that little beast which hangs around just thrilled when it gets fed big healthy meals of fear and loathing.

Yep, I used the word loathing. I sometimes loath my life (just a tiny little). I am not doing what I had ever pictured and do not have the life I had dreamed of. I didn’t spend 10 years on college campuses earning various degrees to NOT be a college professor and/or full-time symphony musician. I never planned to spend the fist half of my 30’s networking, working hard, getting known in the area to have health issues come in and chop down my dreams during the 2nd half.

Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE teaching music lessons, especially when the students develop a similar taste for the challenge. I’m THRILLED that I’m able to make a difference in the lives of others whether in my teaching, in my spoken words, in my written words, or even in nonverbal acts of kindness. I never thought that I would be doing what I do now (teaching privately and writing) but find that it fits me well.

I am BLESSED beyond measure that I am safe, have a roof over my head, will never go hungry, and am able to use my mind and talents to earn a little bit of a living. But I can’t do these things alone and I NEED more in my life.

Not only do I need to be loved, I need to FEEL loved. I need to be able to share the joy of being loved and cared for with others around me. Love does not survive in a vacuum. It needs air, food, sunshine, water, and space. It needs to breathe, too.

If I do not feel truly loved and supported (really, truly, deep down, regardless of words spoken), that void serves to feed the depression monster. When depression grows and gets strong again, it negatively affects my health. Depression loves when that happens, oh boy does it.

When depression settles in, it likes to take away the enthusiasm for healthy living, both physical and mental. Then depression serves heaping piles of deconditioning, poor food and sleep choices, and inflammation to the MS and RA critters. They LOVE that!!

As MS and RA get stronger, I get more fearful (as I’m sure others do too). So, PLEASE, don’t fear my health.....I carry enough of that already for both of us. In fact, it would be wonderful if you could help to share my load and take some of the burden away.

Can we do that in the coming year - live by the “burden shared is burden halved” philosophy? I’d like that.

With some pondering this week, I realize that I’m around the same age that my grandmother was when she had her first heart attack, which is also around the same time I was born. I am the exact same age that my mother was when her mother died. I’m also about the same age as my other grandmother was when her first grandchild was born. I have not had any children as of yet.

Timelines seem to be on my mind lately. But please let’s not fear the future; it will be there, worries or not.


  1. I got your back. I JUST hung up the phone talking to a depressed 88tr old here at "the home" she mentioned her new neighbor across the hall is also depressed. Neither want to eat. The recent party they held here really put her off, she is a musician and like you, this was not how she planned to live her life. I think, I hope, I cheered her a bit (too some weight, my shoulders are strong) by asking her to collaborate with me on a musical I'm writing. We both love musicals and we both retired from the city. She is very alone, people wise, love as you mentioned, not in abundance...I like this heartfelt post and I know many will relate. I encourage you all to pop by my blog (and I am NOT just advertising here, seriously I'm working more on other writing just now) and there are many posts about reinventing ones MS-self, dealing and laughing with chronic illness and thinking about ways to suck all love out of life that we can. Surprisingly, with each year I fear MS less. I actually enjoy who I have become. My decision, however forced, to move to assisted living retirement has been wonderful for me. I was as deep in a hole, darkness, as I have ever been Jan 1 2009, now a year later I am as high as a little MSer can fly!

  2. A friend had me read The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron.It is actually why you are drawn to scary places. You are a knight in the fight against both diseases and you inspire us all more than you will ever know. Your music is being channelled in good ways.None of us are where we thought we would be but I believe we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Mary Gerdt

  3. Lisa....Well said. Your story helps me shoulder the emotions that accompany MS and other chronic ilnesses. I also loath the forced inactivity and feeling isolated and dependent. I combat those feelings by following the best practices for MS, following the new research on CCSVI and sharing with folks like myself...that includes you. I celebrated New Years Eve at a church doing a "burning" bowl ceremony. This is a means of getting rid of emotions or habits that hold you back. You write that stuff on paper and burn it. It was great. I'm IN on the pact to share our burdens; to reach out to each other and to give and get support---Happy New Year Helen

  4. Lisa, as I read your post, I found myself nodding in agreement repeatedly. I don't know the answer(s) to the why of this. Is it just plain bad luck or, as I wrote in today's haiku, a hero's journey? All I know is that it is, by far, the most complex undertaking I have ever assumed. There are blessings along the way. I'm grateful for them every day. Sometimes, though, I just want to be an ordinary person, with ordinary possibilities. MS certainly has led me to redefine ordinary.

    Happy New Year to you, and thanks for the wonderful work you do for us.

  5. Hi Lisa,
    Please visit my blog and pick up your award.
    Best wishes for this New Year.
    ps I got this award from Mort @ Caring and Sharing and have passed it on to all 52 MS blogs visit

  6. Hi, Lisa,
    I can't help but wonder, after reading your "sad" blog, if someone close to you has actually verbalized this sentiment. Sometimes, I tend to read between the lines, and often I reach the wrong conclusions, though. So, I just wanted to say that I am sorry if someone hurt your heart, and please know how much we in the MS blog community really appreciate you and care about you.

  7. Lisa - Amen! Tim and I battle that depression demon all the time and we both know exactly where you are coming from. Tim had to give up his career due to MS. I have a mild form of RA and have lived with it for almost 20 years, but now my health is in limbo and I'm staring my future in the face. It's very easy to just throw your hands up and say "whatever", but all that gets you is a seat in front of the TV. You have to keep fighting depression off and do what you can do, instead of dwelling on what you can't. Thanks for the reminder - we all need it!