I have been ROBBED

I’ve been robbed and I don’t really care.

I’m at a work conference in Melbourne and I’ve started to think to myself that I’ve been robbed.  No, some little toerag hasn’t stolen all my undies or my wallet.  No I think that I have been robbed of something else.

That is my ability to drink which is why I’m not convinced it is a bad thing.

It was over New Years that I first started to think this.  As we do every year we got together with some great friends for a night of laughter, booze and “the circle of death”.  I had 1.5 beers the whole night and a sneaky Mojito.  A few years ago at least a dozen beers would have disappeared and, oh dear Lord, let’s not mention the next day.

The funny thing is there was still a lot of laughter, the circle of death was still played and we spent time with our friends.  But I didn’t feel like rubbish the next day.  Well ok I did feel like rubbish but that was because of the late night not a hangover.

Maybe I’m growing up.  Maybe.

Don’t get me wrong here I like a good beer, particularly after working in the garden.  I also am rather partial to sitting on my deck of an evening with wee dram and looking at the stars.

So if I like to drink, why is it not such a bad thing that I just can’t drink anymore?  My MS has already given me some of the effects that alcohol does.  I get a bit wobbly feeling.  My body certainly does buzz at various times.  There are times when I feel very ill.  Apparently I tend to get a bit forgetful.  And there are mornings I just want to pull the duvet over my head and pretend the world doesn’t exist.

“So just what exactly has MS given me that too much to drink never did” I hear you thinking.

It has given me a greater appreciation of being alive.  I value getting together with friends.  I value spending time with my family.  I value the days when I can kick a ball around with my son.  I value the days when i need to rest and can lie down and read a book with him as well.

I know this conference will get quite boozy and I don’t care.  I’ll happily sit and drink a water and enjoy the company of those around me.  I may even have a beer or wine with them.

The peer pressure that exists when you are young to “get into it mate” is stupid, MS has taught me that.

My body literally won’t let me drink more than two beers now days or maybe it is one of the side effects of the medication.

So has my MS really robbed me or has it given me an unexpected gift?

I will let you be the judge of that.

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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