Betrayed by your closest ally.

February the 22nd 2011 will go down in the annals of New Zealand history as a day of immense tragedy.

It is the day that our beautiful city of Christchurch was shaken.  Shaken from below by the power of the earth, the very substance that our city is built on.  What should be the cities strongest ally turned traitor and shook it so hard it broke.

The earth broke buildings, roads and homes all of which can be rebuilt.  The worst part is that the grounds betrayal shook and took lives and as a result Christchurch and her people will never be the same.

Over the last few days as I have thought about the 14,000+ earthquakes that we have endured I have drawn a number of correlations between MS and the Earthquakes.  “What on earth are you on about?” I hear you thinking but just bear with me on this, it does make sense.

Firstly, The Betrayal.

Like the earth did, your strongest ally (the immune system) betrays you and will attack both your Central Nervous System and brain, making a hell of a mess. The attacks come from out of the blue, you don’t see or feel them coming they just happen.  It is entirely possible to lie down for a few minutes and then wake up, unable to walk properly.  I know this for a fact as it happened to me at a picnic on the banks of the Waimakariri River last year.

Secondly, Hold On

An earthquake is something you cannot control.  You literally have to dive for the doorway or under the desk and hold on.

MS relapses are the same.  You, quite literally, have to hold on to something and then hope like hell the steroids help you to get through it and bounce back.  I’m sure a lot of people that know me must think I have a “little thing” for touching walls.  I’m not checking to see if the wall needs a cuddle, I’m using it to keep myself upright sometimes.

Thirdly, They will change you.

The reality of life is that events happen that will have a lasting effect on your life.  You don’t have to like this but it is true.  They can be positive events, like when I met my wife or crap ones like getting MS.  The change can be positive or negative but the reality is how you accept and adapt to it.

Fourthly, Drink wine.

Years ago I asked a wine aficionado what is the secret to the perfect bottle of wine.  “It is who you chose to drink it with” was the perfect response.  Stuff is just stuff, we lost all sorts of things during the earthquakes and I’ve dropped a few glasses since.  It doesn’t matter to us if we have a full set of wine glasses at home or if i should sit down to drink it. What matters the most is who you choose to drink with.

Most importantly, It’s up to you.

I can no more control when a relapse happens as I can stop the earth shaking.  This is not from lack of desire to do so.  It is simply impossible.  There are things that I can do to help prevent relapses like drugs, diet and exercise but the simple reality is relapses may happen.  The biggest learning I have made from both events is to not worry about it and get on with and enjoy life.  My attitude is the only thing that I can control.

And Lastly, Sit down to pee.

Seriously, if the earth is wobbling from an earthquake or MS, I have accepted that it is perfectly OK and very wise to sit down to pee.

Written 24/02/2016

 

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How to be a good man.

Recently I went to my Dad’s best friend’s funeral and it got me thinking.   I wasn’t sitting there thinking away about my MS, or about dying, or about those around me dying. What I was sitting there thinking about was ‘Choice’.  Not as in ‘choice moves bro’.  But as I listened to his family and friends pay  their respects and remember him, I was struck by how he had chosen to do everything he did in life.  Mostly it was how he chose to face life, to always have a kind word, a helping hand and a smile.  Oh,  and most importantly a vest ( sorry inside joke ).

He had chosen to marry, and had chosen to have three fantastic kids.  Chosen to be an awesome Grandad.  I could see this in the eyes of those around me.  Eyes filled to overflowing with grief, with gratitude, and most importantly, with love.

Some of the choices he made must have been very tough.  To change careers and become a school teacher for example.  Choosing to take a young family to Pakistan to work in the Mission Field must have been exceptionally challenging.  And yet it was a path he chose to walk.  To the best of my knowledge he never had any major health issues to face over the years and I am truly glad for that.

He was honoured when we chose him to marry us and to oversee our son’s naming ceremony,  and we were honoured to have him officiate at both.

These Blogs are about how I live with MS.  It is not an easy road to walk,  but as I learnt yesterday, it is all about how I choose to live.

Earlier today I was reading a post about a well dressed young man getting on a bus and not having enough money to pay for his fare.  When the female bus driver insisted he had to pay (she was only doing her job), he started abusing her.  No-one on the bus did anything. The story appalled me and really bought home the importance of being a good man.  Why did no-one offer to pay? Why did no-one stand up to him?  And what on earth made the guy chose to be like that?

To me, my Dad’s friend’s legacy won’t be the trademark vest, beard and glasses,  or his friendship with my Dad.  No, as I sat at his funeral I realised that in his passing he was teaching me the greatest lesson – my life is not just about how I choose the way I live with MS but it is about how I choose to live as a good man.

Written 06/02/16