I used to feel like I could conquer the world.
I used to bake dozens and dozens of cookies every Christmas. Frosted ones. Sprinkled ones. Rolled, sandwiched…so many cookies.
I used to shop two or three malls a day. And maybe hit up the grocery store on the way home.
Presents for four kids, the husband, the dog, the cat, the grandparents, friends, charities…wrapped perfectly, lists kept as to what present was wrapped in what paper and in what order they should be given.
Lights lit up every window and ledge and door that I could find.
I loved it all.
I still do.
I just can’t do it all anymore.
And that I making me tremendously sad.
Physically, the issues continue. Pain, vertigo, muscle cramps, swallowing issues.
Emotionally the issues continue.
Cognitively, the issues have started. I now find myself overwhelmed at things that once were normal parts of my life. A trip to Walmart if longer than five minutes sends me into sensory overload and panic. I actually thought I was going crazy…I found a mall, a store, even my own home with too many people there would send me into a place cognitively that I needed to retreat somewhere by myself and breakdown and cry. I learned from others afflicted with this disease that sensory overload is common and is caused by lesions on the frontal lobe–lesions usually left undetected unless a specific type of MRI or CT scan is ordered. Otherwise, they are unviewable. I am finding connections that once were instant now sometimes take time to connect. Words don’t come like they once did. That’s hard when you love words.
MS is the Grinch trying to steal Christmas. It is taking everything I have to get done half of what I used to do. It can get so discouraging. I am learning, all be it VERY slowly, that it will be okay. If there are only four or five kinds of cookies it will be okay. If the pile of presents is not as big as it once was, it’s going to be okay. If there are ornaments that are left in the box instead of being on the tree, it’s okay. Even if all of us cannot be together because kids have become adults and have started little families of their own, it’s okay.
If all those things are different than what the used to be, I have to remember that God is crazy about me, as I was reminded by my pastor this week. He loves me. He’s got this. He can stop the Grinch.
“Perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Perhaps Christmas,” he thought, “means a little bit more.”