Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Time Blues

Summer has hit. Days of sunshine, heat, clear skies... Days of pain, exhaustion, fatigue, praying for the sun to go away.

Heat is the enemy for those with MS. It's not even a matter of whether or not I "like" the heat. It's a matter of "I cannot function in the heat." Once it gets above 70* my body starts shutting down. I cannot concentrate, I cannot move easily, my pain increases at lease 10 fold. My muscle spasms get worse, my mood plummets, my fatigue and exhaustion sky rocket. Simply being awake takes more energy than I have to spare.

I wish I could sleep the days away. But I have a 2.5 year old. I am pregnant. My son adores the summer. He wants to go outside every single day. He wants to run and jump and get dirty and tell his daddy all about it in the evening. He hugs me while we're outside and says "I'm happy mom." And I will not deny him that.

Because I am a mother first. When I made the choice to have children, I made the decision that I was going to put them first, always. I swore to myself that I would not let my disabilities impact them any more than they absolutely have to. And that means that I must learn to function in the summer, whether it's easy or not. It is possible. It has to be.

I no longer even try to look "put together" when we go out. Eff that noise. Cloth bermuda shorts are much easier than denim capris. I am 29 years old, married, pregnant, have a toddler, and I'm disabled... who the hell am I trying to impress? Seriously.

So we go. I limp along after my son. He runs with abandon. He is so excited to be out in the world, living life and having fun. And he drags me behind him. I find myself smiling in spite of my agony, because his happiness is contagious.

And I take pride in that. Above all else, I take pride in knowing that no matter how I will pay for it later, I give him those chances for pure happiness. I can swallow the pain. I can hide it until he's asleep. I can keep it to myself.

Because this is my pain. This is my disability. This is my decision. MS can make me its bitch for the rest of my life. But it will not have this hold on my children. I refuse to allow that. I will not bow. I will not compromise on this. Never.

But I hate the summer. Oh, how I hate the summer.

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