As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

A Week of Trials

A Week of Trials for some of my dearest friends. You know who you are and I’m aware that some of those visiting here have similar trials.

To those of you dealing with the recent diagnosis of cancer in one of its many forms—I send my love and prayers that your difficulties may be minimal, both of body and mind. May the Lord bless you with comfort and doctors that are interested in your wellbeing and not their pocket books.

(Deep breath). To those mourning/grieving the loss of a loved one. I send my deepest sympathy and heartfelt love. In the coming hours of deepest pain try to accept that in spite of the denial that death is a very real part of life, it is. Knowing that others have and will experience what you are going through may not help, but there is a far better place for your loved ones, and you too.

And to both groups: Although there are those around you that need you to be strong right now, there are those who invite you to literally fall apart with their loving arms wrapped tightly around you. Take advantage of those moments that refill your soul’s bucket of love and strength.

There is a semi-bitter truth in the mourning/grieving process. Believe me when I tell you that in losing a part of yourself, you go through the same mourning process as that of the loss of a loved one. The fact is that there are five steps in the mourning process. In order for you to complete your “closure” you will taste them all. There is no set course through the landmines of mourning and grief. You may enjoy (said with tongue-in-cheek) one of more of these very briefly, but others may sap your strength for a long period of time. You may even think you have crossed the course unscathed only to find years later that you stumble upon a landmine that explodes in your face. Such has been the case for me.

There may be a way to prepare for the landmines of mourning and grief, but if there is, I’ve not found it. So I can only remind you to be gentle with yourself and those around you through this difficult and treacherous time. Lest you think I’ve forgotten, these are the five very real landmines you must face at this time. Remember that there is no rule book declaring the order of these, nor rules for how to handle each one.

Denial (often experienced as the shock wears thin)

Anger (This may be targeted toward self, others, or unrelated situations and people.)

Bargaining (It should have been me. If only . . .)

Depression (May last days or even years. Keep an eye on this one.)

Acceptance (Oh the healing balm of this one.)

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